Nordic skiing: Concord heads to states looking to reclaim the D-I title

  • Senior Mathea Graham will look to lead Concord back to winning a state title. Courtesy

  • Freshmen Phoebe Dater-Roberts has been a growing force for the Tide this season. Courtesy

  • Sophomore Tyler Watt has been one of Concord’s best this season. Courtesy

 Monitor staff
Published: 3/6/2022 12:43:32 AM
Modified: 3/6/2022 12:42:57 AM

Last season brought a whirlwind of change to the world of Nordic skiing in New Hampshire.

Previously formatted with four divisions, teams consolidated into two divisions and expanded the competition. Powerhouse programs that might have resided comfortably within its own division were tested by other top-tier schools.

Concord, long regarded as the standard in Division I, had its 12-year state title run snapped by longtime Division II power Hanover. The Bears made the jump into D-I and won the title in their first season, introducing perhaps a new reign in the bigger schools.

The Crimson Tide since then have undergone a passing-of-the-torch moment with former coach Sam Evans-Brown stepping into an assistant role with Erin Waters taking over the head spot. The transition plus losing a large bulk of talent to graduation has seen the Tide in a rebuilding phase this season, a new frontier for the program.

But it all comes to fruition on Tuesday during the Division I state championships at Great Glen Trails in Gorham.

Concord will compete against all 15 other schools with the race scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. The continued upward trajectory the Tide have been on this year has seen both their boys and girls excel the longer the season goes.

A foundational piece to that success, however, will be absent for Tuesday’s race with an unique opportunity that clashes with the set NHIAA dates.

Tyler Watt, a sophomore, earned the opportunity to represent New England as part of a group of skiers that will compete in the U.S. Junior National Cross-Country Ski Championships. The nearly week-long event that starts March 6 takes place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and while the choice between the championships was a difficult one to make, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.

Watt and the New England team will compete throughout the following week, but for the Crimson Tide, they hope to have a few skiers rise to the opportunity in Watt’s absence. Some of those skiers include Jacob Gurtner and Sebastian Nichols, both of which have been competitive throughout the season.

On the girls’ side, senior Mathea Graham has set the tone for her predecessors to follow once her final season with the Tide ends. That group of freshmen and sophomores, highlighted by Phoebe Dater-Roberts, throughout the season have shown an eagerness and willingness to perfect their craft every chance they can.

Waters lists that while the competition field will be tight on Tuesday as she’s expecting Hanover and Keene to be contenders, at the end of it all the skiing communities' friendships are bigger than the race itself.

“It’s such a great community of people, everyone’s so connected,” Waters said. “It’s just a whole different type of sport.”

Matt Parker bio photo

Matt Parker is a sports reporter at the Monitor and started in August 2021. He is an Ohio native and relishes being from the Buckeye state. A proud graduate of Ohio University located in Athens, Ohio, he served as the sports editor for the student-run newspaper, The Post, from 2019-20. When not at a game or chasing around a coach, you can catch him playing his guitars or looking for the next Peanuts memorabilia piece to add in his growing collection.

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