In the second week of March, a team of 52 athletes will represent New England at the 2019 U.S. Ski & Snowboard Junior Nationals in Anchorage, Alaska. These top junior athletes qualified for the New England team through their exceptional results during the season-long Eastern Cup Series, and U.S. Senior Nationals. Behind the scenes a hardworking staff of 13 will support this impressive contingent of athletes as they defend the Alaska Cup for the sixth consecutive year. As we ramp up for the racing at Kincaid Park – NENSA is psyched to introduce you to the 2019 NE JN Team!
This year’s coach and service staff represents all four states of the New England division and brings together a wealth of experience from regional to international competition. The staff composition is aimed to promote coach development within the region and provide top-level support to our athletes – whether they are seasoned junior racers or making their first trip to Junior Nationals. This volunteer staff will work together to support a team culture, helping our athletes excel and enjoy the experience of racing at the national level.
2019 JN Staff:
Matt Boobar – Head Coach (SMS)
Amie Smith – Team Leader (NENSA)
Age Group Coaches:
Morgan Wilkerson – U16 boys (Cardigan Mountain School)
Sara Falconer – U16 girls (Mansfield Nordic)
Adam Terko – U18 men (Mansfield Nordic)
Hilary McNamee – U18 women (Dartmouth)
Jackson Bloch – U20 men (Colby)
Savannah Sessions – U20 women (Gould Academy/Bethel Outing Club)
Justin Beckwith – Lead Kick (NENSA)
Ollie Burruss – Lead Glide (Craftsbury)
Anna Schulz – Wax Tech (Craftsbury)
Colin Rodgers – Wax Tech (GMVS)
Joe Holland – Wax Tech (St. Paul’s School)
Some thoughts and history about the staff:
Matt Boobar from the Stratton Mountain School, and Amie Smith, Executive Director of NENSA, are at the helm of Team NE for the 5th year in a row. Their leadership and organization – both prior to the trip and on the ground – as Head Coach and Team Leader are a huge part of what makes New England a contender year after year! Both are committed to making sure all the little things go right to give us the best chance to bring the Alaska Cup home again.
Morgan Wilkinson joins us from the Cardigan Mountain School to lead the U16 boys. Besides coaching his team, Morgan has participated in several races this winter and believes in a mixture of motivation and fun. Our ski team came up with a great game this year we call nordic dodgeball biathlon. Imagine dodgeball on skis. When you get hit you have to ski a penalty lap of a predetermined distance. First team to get everyone on the other team out at the same time wins. “Inner excellence is finding joy in what you do and remaining steadfastly committed to your goals, values and dreams.”
Adam Terko, Mansfield Nordic, will be participating in his fourth Junior Nationals as a NE coach. Adam has led the U16 boys charge for the last two years and now will follow some of those same athletes into the U18 age group. “Excited to have the opportunity to continue the success of Team New England, both on the race course and with JNs being a huge part of a young skier’s life. It has been a highlight of my coaching each year.”
We welcome Jackson Bloch from Colby College to lead our U20 men. Jackson brings knowledge (and fitness) from the EISA circuit and his own racing career, “The last time I was part of the New England team we were in Alaska, too! Up in Fairbanks, we were able to stay warm and successfully avoid all the moose on the trails, but we came up just short of the Alaska Cup. I think we could see some good, New England style conditions in Anchorage. The gritty resiliency and serious agility skills developed over years of navigating ice and slush out east should serve us well over there, and I’m wicked psyched to help make your trip competitive and fun.”
Sara Falconer, also of Mansfield Nordic, will lead our U16 girls and perhaps be one of our secret weapons as she is an Anchorage native! Sara has been working with MNC for the last four years, and is, “ familiar with many of the junior athletes that race on the Eastern Cup circuit, as well as the race venue, which is held in my hometown. I am hardworking and fair, and I will do my best to make sure all the athletes have a great time at Junior Nationals.”
We are fortunate to have Hilary McNamee return again this year to lead the U18 women. Hilary is a Dartmouth graduate and the current D-Team Coach. Hilary will share her perspective and positivity with the team. She has competed on many levels of the racing scene, from Junior Nationals to Biathlon Junior Worlds, and is known for her sprinting prowess. Hilary loves to ski and coach – and always seems to be smiling!
Savannah Sessions joins us from Gould Academy and the Bethel Outdoor Center to lead the U20 women. Savannah was a junior racer herself and has coached the Maine U16 team. She describes herself as, “I am really positive, enthusiastic, and hard working. I love working with young people!”
Colin Rodgers, a Vermont native and national caliber racer, is now the XC Program Director at the Green Mountain Valley School’s Nordic Program. Colin brings experience and energy to the team and wax room, having worked for years with the Sun Valley Gold Team and US Ski Team on international trips. Colin showed he is ready to put in the km’s testing skis in Anchorage with an impressive 2nd place finish in this year’s Craftsbury Marathon.
Joe Holland will join the JN staff this year for the first time as a part of the service staff – despite 30 years of coaching experience! Joe spent 18 years coaching the Putney School before taking over the St. Paul’s School Ski Team 12 years ago – he has also led the NH wax staff for the past 10 years. “As a science teacher and a team player, I can facilitate testing and help coaches reach consensus about waxes and treatments. I tend to act gracefully and effectively under pressure.”
Ollie Burruss and Anna Schulz, from the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, each join the NE JN wax staff for the second time. While this Nordic power couple has a wide spectrum of experience – including race directing, TD’ing, and coaching – they both have a passion for making fast skis. Fun facts: Ollie will be traveling to Alaska after a trip waxing skis in China, and Anna spent a week this winter in Finland at World Junior Championships helping kick wax the skis that brought the US it’s first gold medal!
Justin Beckwith, the Competitive Program Director for NENSA, is passionate about waxing skis for the talented skiers of New England, and has supported their success at JN’s and international competition. He fondly looks forward to spending long hours working and laughing alongside our 2019 JN staff in AK.
Go Team NE!!