Sarah Wade had a strong senior season for the Mt. Blue High School Nordic ski team. She won her second consecutive state title in the freestyle competition, and finished second in the state classical championship, also for the second straight year.
More importantly, Wade set the sportsmanship and maturity bar high. For her success, as well as becoming a worthy ambassador for her sport, Wade is the Morning Sentinel Girls Nordic Skier of the Year.
“She really honored all the people she’s skied against since middle school,” Mt. Blue Nordic coach David Nordstrom said.
Since placing second in the classical championship at the state meet as a junior, Wade worked hard to improve her classical skiing. When the state meet began on February 19 in Rangeley, Wade was among the favorites.
Until the collision.
While trying to pass a slower skier, Wade collided with the other skier.
“It was the only sketchy corner on the entire course. I was going to pass her. I yelled I was on the left, but I don’t think she heard me,” Wade said.
The other skier took the corner wide, colliding with Wade. Both fell, and Wade lost precious seconds. Wade ended up in second place, eight seconds behind Lizzie Landry, of Portland.
After the race, Wade simply shook off her bad luck.
“She was disappointed, but she didn’t complain about it,” Nordstrom said. “She made some jokes about it. She owned what happened.”
Rather than sulk, Wade focused her energy on getting ready for the freestyle race the next day. She blew away the field, beating second place Laura Frank, of Portland, by 50 seconds.
“I lost all the momentum. It happens,” Wade said. “I just knew (the freestyle) was a different day.”
Throughout the season, Wade went out of her way to thank opponents for skiing against her over the years. The competition is fun, Wade said, but the relationships she built with skiers from other schools will last longer. Last week, Wade skied with Becki Bryant, of Monmouth, and Hannah Despres, of Maranacook, at Titcomb Mountain just for the joy of it.
“I love skiing. I love all the girls I race with. They’re the best,” Wade said.
This past weekend, Wade competed in the Eastern championships in Mendon, Vt. It might have been her last competitive skiing, depending on where she decides to attend college. Wade plans to study electrical engineering, and has applied to some of the top engineering schools in the country, including RPI, WPI, Michigan Tech, the University of Maine and the University of Vermont.
Wade applied to 10 schools in all. Some have ski teams, some do not.
“It all depends on where I go,” Wade said. “I’m not going to stop skiing, I just might not compete.”
“I would love to see her continue skiing, but she has academic priorities,” Nordstrom said.