On the morning of Jan. 26, Craig Marshall woke up and thought, I wish I was racing today.
“I thought, ‘This is the race I’ve been waiting for my whole life,’” Marshall said. “Home hill, great conditions. To watch was pretty tough.”
Marshall, a sophomore Alpine ski racer at Colby College, had been diagnosed with mononucleosis. The illness forced Marshall, a Carrabassett Valley native and graduate of Carrabassett Valley Academy, to miss Colby’s Carnival at Sugarloaf, as well as the St. Lawrence University Carnival.
Recovery from mononucleosis takes at least four weeks. Those four weeks are up next Tuesday, Marshall said. He’s scheduled to get a checkup today and, if all goes well, Marshall could be back racing for the Mules soon, possibly in this weekend’s Dartmouth Carnival.
“The initial prognosis was four weeks, so if I can only miss two carnivals, that’s great,” Marshall said.
The illness is a bump in what was looked to be a breakout season after Marshall rebounded from an ACL tear suffered last spring in an FIS race.
“I wasn’t sure if I’d come back at all,” Marshall said. “There was a lot of uncertainty.”
Marshall was in a slalom race in Stoneham, Quebec on March 24, when he suffered the injury. He caught himself in a hole, and when his ski popped out, his body continued down the hill, while his leg went across.
“I heard the pop pop, and I was sure I’d done something,” Marshall said.
Marshall rehabbed his knee all summer and was ready to race when the Mules opened the season at the University of Vermont Carnival in Stowe, Vt., on Jan. 11.
After struggling to a 28th place finish in the Giant Slalom on the first day, Marshall rallied with his best Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association race finish to date the next day, when he placed fourth in the slalom.
Marshall had a two-run time of 1 minute, 48.71 seconds, with runs of 53.95 and 54.76 seconds.
“I’ve gotten into grooves in both events, but the last two or three years, I’ve been better in the slalom,” Marshall said. “We tend to train more in slalom because it’s tough to get GS space.”
His time as a member of Colby’s golf team helped Marshall shake off the bad first day at Stowe and focus on turning in better runs in the slalom, he said.
“I’d never been in a situation where you’re as accountable as you are in stroke play. You really have to keep your cool,” Marshall said. “I’ve always been a fiery guy who kind of loses his temper… That UVM GS where I skied poorly, (golf’s mental approach) helped because I was able to say, ‘tomorrow’s a new day’ and let it go.”
An American Studies major, Marshall was an intern with NESN over the summer, and worked on the network’s pre and post game show for Boston Red Sox games.
“Mostly, I was just kind of around,” Marshall said.
“That’s something I’d like to do, sports journalism or broadcasting.”
This summer, Marshall will study abroad in New Zealand, where he’ll be able to get some ski training in as well. For now, his goal is to get healthy and qualify for the NCAA championships, which he just missed last season.
“Both years, I’ve been looking at NCAAs as a goal,” Marshall said. “Both years, it’s a realistic goal, but definitely not an easy thing to accomplish.”
Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242