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State Champion Spotlight-Emma Charles

We now spotlight state champion Emma Charles of Mt. Blue.  Emma was the 2020 Class A Classical, Freestyle, and Pursuit state champion.  She alsoEmma was the KVAC Nordic skier of the year and was part of the New England team at Junior Nationals.  We asked her about her success and about being at Junior Nationals that was cut short. 

What were your preparations leading up to the state meet?

This year’s preparation for the state meet was a lot different than last year. I had spent the previous two days competing in three Eastern cup races in order for me to qualify for Junior Nationals. That meant I was having to do a lot more recovery work after each race and doing as little skiing as possible during that time than I usually do. I had to do 25 minute long ice baths after each race, eat more food than I’ve ever eaten in my life, and go to bed super early. Because of all of those preparations, I hadn’t really felt as tired as I thought I would, but I still knew that it was going to be a tough couple of races coming up for states. 

How did you deal with the pressure and emotions that come along with competing in a state meet?

I was in a really good mindset leading up to the first day of states because I was still so excited about making it to Junior Nationals that I wasn’t really thinking about the fact that I was about to do my fourth race in just three days. Although, on the second day of states I was pretty exhausted. I was still super excited to race, especially on my home course, but I was ready to be done with all of the stress that my mind and body had gone through in such a short amount of time.

What was going through your mind at the starting gate?

 

I felt surprisingly calm compared to last year’s states. I think I just had the confidence of being on my home course and having all of my friends that don’t ski to cheer me on. I was just ready to get out there and ski as hard as I could.

What do you contribute your success to?

I think a lot of my success comes from the support that I got from my friends and family, as well as the strength, grit, and determination that I have to reach my goals.

What are your goals/plans for next year?

I am hoping to make it to Junior Nationals again as a U18. Although, if I’m not able to make it, I will also be excited to come back to compete in the Eastern High School Championships with my friends from Maine again.

What surprised you the most about this season?

I was probably most surprised about making Junior Nationals because I spent the whole year training to get there. I knew that it was an attainable goal to have, but the whole season, we were never sure if I was going to make it on the team until the very end. 

What moment/event will you remember the most from the season?

I will probably remember the last Eastern Cup race of the season the best. I was feeling pretty confident about the course because I had raced there last year (so I had good experiences on the course). It was probably one of the best races I had done this season because I felt really strong the whole time. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was confident that I had made it on the national team, so I ran over to my parents and gave them a big hug and told them how it went. Once all of the racers finished, I looked at the results and saw that I finished in third, which secured a 4th place spot on the U16 Junior National team. I was super excited because I had finally reached the goal that I was working toward the whole season.

What do you like most about Nordic Skiing?

I love how it brings people from other teams together and gives me the opportunity to make so many close friendships with people that I wouldn’t have met without the sport. I also love how calming it is to go out for a long ski at Titcomb after it snows and there is no grooming so I can only see my tracks behind me. 

Tell us a little about your experience at Junior Nationals.

Unfortunately, the week was cut short because of the coronavirus, but it was an amazing experience nevertheless. There was so much snow that was really good to ski on which made the races even more enjoyable. The first race was a classic 5km (my specialty) so I felt super good! The altitude made it kind of difficult to push myself in some areas, but I managed to make it through and place 19th out of more than 70 girls. The second race that I did was a 1.3km skate sprint. I was more nervous for this one because I definitely like distance races better. In the qualifier, I ended up placing 9th overall, which meant I moved on to the quarter-finals. In the quarter-finals, I was in a really good position going into the woods, but I ended up getting passed by one of the other girls in my wave on the last downhill and I wasn’t able to pass her on the last uphill because of the layout of the course. I got fourth in my wave but didn’t get to move on to the next two rounds. I still felt really good about my race, though, because I wasn’t even expecting to make it past the qualifier. I ended up placing 16th in the final results so I was super pumped about that. 

The Mt Blue girls team won states, what were your reactions when you knew that the team had won?

We were all super excited, especially because we were sooo close last year and we wanted to have the opportunity to win with many of our friends and family there to watch us race on our home course. 

Anything else to add?

I’d like to thank my coaches, ski waxers, ski buddies, parents, and the rest of the ski community for supporting me throughout the whole season! 

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