BRATTLEBORO — It's a special day when a team wins a state championship; a culmination of all the days, weeks, and years leading up, plus an equal measure of what journalist George Plimpton coined "the x-factor." For a winning team, it is all of the hours logged honing their strength and skills and the intangible magic of the moment that make the victory possible. For the BUHS boys Nordic Ski Team, Monday, Feb. 24 was their championship day.
Three years ago, four special guys joined the high school ranks of the BUHS Nordic ski team: freshmen, Sam Freitas-Eagan, Nolan Holmes, and Henry Thurber, and sophomore, Declyn Tourville. The three freshmen, already experienced skiers and racers, quickly proved themselves valuable assets to the team. Tourville was brand new to skiing, but put his natural athletic talents to good use and proceeded to become a cross country ski racer. These four have been part of two consecutive D1 State runners-up teams. Last year they finished just a few seconds out of first place. At the start of this season their team goal was unequivocal, win States. And win they did.
They swept all four events: 5 kilometer individual classic and freestyle races, and 4 x 2.5 kilometer classic and freestyle relays.
Monday's freestyle relay was the final States event, and the ultimate showcase for this special team. Tourville scrambled and had the Colonels well positioned at the front of the pack. Holmes went second, putting purple to the fore. Freitas-Eagan was third, extending the lead for Thurber who brought home the gold.
Racing in the morning's 5 kilometer individual freestyle race, Magnus von Krusenstiern finished in 32nd, Tenzin Mathes 41st, Keegan Allembert 42nd, and Rowan Chamberlin 59th.
With Tourville the sole senior on the team, the future is bright for the purple and white.
Although their race scores are tallied separately, there is little that separates the boys and the girls on the BUHS team. They train together, travel together, laugh together, and cheer wildly for each other. The good days and the not so good days are borne together.
Monday's boy's victory was felt equally and celebrated whole heartedly by the girls who had raced earlier in the day: Sylvie Normandeau (20th), Bella Takacs (21st), Hazel Wagner (26th), Ava Whitney (27th), CC Allembert (31st), Lily Tessitore (32nd), Alina Secrest (35th), and Alexandra Miskovich (43rd). Together the BUHS girls bested their perennial rivals MAU in the morning's individual freestyle race, and finished the relay in 5th place overall in D1.