We next spotlight Nordic state champion senior Annabelle Brooks of Cheverus.  She won the 2023 Class A Classical, Freestyle, and Pursuit titles. She had the fastest pursuit time of all classes.  We asked her about her successes and her preparations.


What were your preparations leading up to the state meet?

 I did a series of peaking interval workouts in the weeks before states, and really focused on my nutrition, sleep, and hydration goals. I also traveled to Quarry Road, Bethel, and Jackson, NH, for some races and longer workouts to get primed. Finally, I’ve become quite fond of yoga thanks to CoachAnnabelle George! It has really helped me improve my flexibility and balance.

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

 Funny enough, I actually get a lot more nervous before big running events than I do for skiing. I think the thrill of skiing and the overall sense of excitement I get from being out in the snow helps suppress any nerves.

 What was going through your mind at the start?

 I thought about how I had put in the work and logged the hours of training necessary to have a great result. I also visualized different parts of the course and how I wanted to ski them.

 What do you contribute your success to?

 My success in Nordic wouldn’t have been possible without my parents who supported and encouraged me since I started this sport. I never would have started skiing competitively without the wonderful Portland Nordic program and its dedicated middle and high school coaches. Also, training with people who have become some of my best friends has made it that much more fun. 

 What are your goals/plans for next year?

 I plan to ski for Harvard and study biology and music.

 What surprised you the most about this season?

 This season was particularly challenging given a fair bit of unpredictable weather. We lost four regular season meets due to lack of snow, one meet due to a snowstorm, and one meet due to extreme cold. Thankfully, we had some decent snow in the last few weeks which came as a welcome surprise in getting prepared for states and the Eastern High School Championship races.

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

 Winning the Classic and overall Pursuit for all classes at states was definitely the highlight of my season. Fort Kent is such an incredible venue, and I’m so glad they hosted the state meet this year.

 What do you like most about Nordic Skiing?

 The Maine Nordic community is fantastic. I’ve met some of my closest friends through skiing. As for the sport itself, I love the variation that comes with alternating between skate and classic techniques. And though it can sometimes be a real challenge to get the wax right for classic, when you do, it’s magic! Beyond that, I love the feeling of being out in nature, breathing in the fresh air, and skiing fast.

 Anything else that you would like to add?

 I’d like to thank my coaches, George Aponte Clarke and Emily Harriman, who give so much time and energy to coaching the large Portland combined team. They are absolutely amazing and I’ve been really lucky to be able to be part of the Portland Nordic program since middle school. I’d also like to thank Coach Emily Cartwright of Cumberland who created the Nonstop Nordic Ski Club when the pandemic hit. She saved the beginning of the 2021 season and also has a fantastic off-season training program which gave me a lot more confidence and experience with roller skiing. I’d like to thank Roger and Mark, the equipment and wax gurus at BNS East, for all they do to support the Nordic athletes in Maine. And finally, I’d like to thank my physical therapist, Dan Frey, for keeping me injury-free and ready to compete!