Boys’ Nordic Skier of the Season: Hopkinton’s Theodore Mollano

  • Hopkinton’s Theodore Mollano (right) competes at the 47th annual Geschmossel Race in Bretton Woods on Jan. 20. Mollano finished sixth overall and first in his category (boys U18) in the event. The Hopkinton High junior won the skate and classic races at the NHIAA Division IV championships March 3 and is the Monitor Boys’ Nordic Skier of the Season. JAMIE DOUCETT/ jamiedoucett.smugmug.com

  • Hopkinton’s Theodore Mollano (right) competes at the 47th annual Geschmossel Race in Bretton Woods on Jan. 20. Mollano finished sixth overall and first in his category (boys U18) in the event. The Hopkinton High junior won both the skate and classic races at the NHIAA Division IV championships on March 3 and is the Monitor Boys’ Nordic Skier of the Season. JAMIE DOUCETT/ jamiedoucett.smugmug.com

  • Hopkinton’s Theo Mollanno competes during the 2019 Division IV Nordic Skiing Championships last year at Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford. Mollano finished second in both the classic and skate races that day and helped the Hopkinton boys to the team championship. This year, Mollano, now a junior, won both races. GEORGE SABOL file / Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 3/24/2020 5:00:54 PM

Last season, Hopkinton’s Theodore Mollano finished second in both the skate and classic races at the Division IV Nordic Ski Championships. So, one of Mollano’s goals for this season was to win both events, and he quickly pulled ahead of the field in the two races March 3 at Great Glen Trails in the shadow of Mount Washington.

But Mollano didn’t slow down to savor the moment or bask in his lead. The Hopkinton High junior kept pushing, winning the classic race by a margin of 1 minute, 20.3 seconds, and winning the skate race by 1:08.9 as the Hawks finished second in the team standings.

“I’m always imagining someone is right behind me,” Mollano said. “Once I’m in the racing mindset it’s hard to turn that off, so even if I have a comfortable margin I always kind of keep on pushing.”

A week later at the Meet of Champions competing against the top skiers from all four divisions, Mollano finished second in the skate race and third in the classic. Those results sealed Mollano’s selection as the Monitor Boys’ Nordic Skier of the Season.

Mollano also qualified to compete in the Eastern Regional race, another one of his goals for this season, but that event was canceled due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“I know Theodore was looking forward to the Eastern race, and it’s disappointing for him and everyone else who qualified, that it was canceled,” Hopkinton coach Rob Rothe said. “We didn’t know it at the time, but the Meet of Champions was the last race of the season, and that was a great way for him to end the season with a couple of top-three finishes there.”

Even though the competitive skiing season has ended for him, Mollano is still getting on snow every chance he gets.

“I’ve been going to the local mountain every day to ski, even though it’s an Alpine mountain,” Mollano said of how he kept himself busy last week while schools around the state were closed. “I’ve been going with my younger brother (Conrad, who is in eighth grade). Every day we stop at Dunkin’ Donuts and then we go skiing.”

That kind of dedication and love for the sport is what propelled Mollano to the top of the high school ski ranks.

He started Alpine skiing when he was just 2 years old, making him comfortable on skis from a young age. He first tried Nordic skiing in fifth grade when, like so many other Hopkinton kids and future Nordic champions, he joined the Bill Koch League. His experience in the BKL led to his love for Nordic, but it wasn’t until high school that he developed the offseason dedication.

As a freshman, Mollano finished in the Top 10 in both the skate and classic races at the D-IV Championships. Those results made him want more.

“That meet gave me a new perspective on Nordic,” Mollano said. “After that is when I really started to pick up on roller skiing and other offseason training.”

That training includes running for the Hopkinton boys’ cross country team in the fall and the outdoor track team in the summer. Rothe coaches Mollano on those two teams as well, and the coach sees a direct link to Mollano’s increased workload and improved ski results.

“He has a very big interest in Nordic skiing. Out of all the sports he does, it is definitely his top priority,” Rothe said. “He focuses his efforts in the summer toward Nordic skiing. He attends multiple Nordic camps throughout New England, and I often see him roller skiing down the road in the summer. So, he’s really working hard it all year long.”

Mollano’s first love is clearly skiing, but he doesn’t view cross country or track as mere training grounds for the snow.

“I do see cross country as a good opportunity to get plenty of training time for ski season, and I’m more of a skier than a runner, but I really do love running, too,” said Mollano, who finished 25th overall at the 2019 D-III Cross Country Championships, helping the Hawks take second as a team.

Even when the offseason conditioning doesn’t involve running for another Hopkinton High team, Mollano is still all in when it comes to practicing.

“I really enjoy the training,” Mollano said. “I like training more than racing in some ways.”

(Tim O’Sullivan can be reached at tosullivan@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @timosullivan20)




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