Maranacook’s Caroline Colan was expected to have a successful Nordic ski season.
A monkey wrench got thrown into her plans, however, when she was forced to miss some meets during the season due to an illness. That time missed threw off her training in preparation for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and Class B state championship meets.
But Colan was able to recover and win the classical championship at the KVAC championships and sweep the classical and the freestyle at the state championship meets.
For her performance, Colan is the Kennebec Journal Girls Nordic Skier of the Year. Teammates Natalie Wicks and Taylor Cray were also considered.
Maranacook Nordic coach Steve DeAngelis said Colan’s success hasn’t come easy and she put in four years of work toward her success.
“She’s been building for this since her freshman year,” DeAngelis said. “She didn’t start out as an amazing Nordic skier, she was OK, but she’s built toward it.”
Training for a successful Nordic season started in the summer.
“She really made a big commitment over the summer for both skiing and running. She had a great cross country season, she really put in the time and the mileage. She also worked on upper body strength, which is critical for the skiing part. She made it happen, she worked her tail off.”
Colan had a good start to the season, with seventh place finishes in both the Maranacook Wave race and the Sassi Memorial Classic.
But soon after, illness took over.
“At first, I was trying to convince myself that I wasn’t sick,” Colan said. “It was pretty upsetting. One of my favorite events that we haven’t had in a while, the 7 1/2 K at Mt. Blue, was when I was sick and I didn’t get to do that. I missed the Hornet Classic as well. I also missed an Eastern Cup race that I was going to go to. It was kind of upsetting and it took a while to get back into it.”
Colan was also forced to miss an entire week of practice. She said it took about two weeks of training to get back in shape for the rest of the season.
Colan said the race in which she knew she was back to her old self was at the conference championships. She finished second in the freestyle before winning the classical race.
“After that, I was really excited,” Colan said.
It was a win that built confidence going into the state meet, where Colan would win both the freestyle and classical titles.
“I never thought about winning (the freestyle title) until after winning the classic race and I thought ‘Maybe I can do this.’ I was just really surprised and excited that all my work had paid off, because I had worked really hard, a lot more than I ever had and I saw the results.”
A senior, Colan does not yet know what her future is in sports — she plans to either run or ski in college — but she was recently accepted to Middlebury College in Vermont and plans to major in government with a focus on environmental studies.
Dave Dyer — 621-5639