Sophomore Sean Cork traveled to Fairbanks, AK in March to compete in the Nordic Skiing Junior Nationals, a meet for elite high school skiers from across the country. This was his second year competing at the event for the Midwestern team. Cork has been skiing for the Park Nordic team for four seasons, and placed 13th in the 2013 State meet.
How and when did you start skiing?
My older brother and sister ski, and it always looked like fun. In seventh grade, I convinced some of my friends to start skiing with me because I wanted to try it out.
How were you selected to participate in the meet?
There were eight qualifying races in the Midwest that athletes competed in to try to make it to Junior Nationals. It’s a point system, so if you place high enough in all of the races you can go. The Midwest is a bigger region, so they brought 50 athletes. During the meet, all the regional teams compete against one another.
How did you prepare for the meet?
This fall, I trained five days a week and did a lot of cross-training to keep up my endurance and strength during the off-season. During the Nordic season I trained on the weekends. I’m part of a club team, so my club team coach helps me during the high school off-season.
What events did you compete in?
I competed in four different races throughout the week. The first was a 10K freestyle, then I competed in a 3 by 3K relay, then a skate sprint and then the 10K classic. I placed the best in the 10K classic, 33rd out of around 90 people.
What was your favorite part of the event?
I really liked the 10K classic mass start race. It was really fun, and it’s one of my favorite races. Also, all the athletes were staying in the same hotel, so if you wandered around you could meet new people and talk to different athletes.
How was this meet different than meets with the Park team?
Junior Nationals were on a lot bigger scale. They also ran the whole week, as opposed to half a day. We were separated into age groups so there weren’t too many people starting a race. It’s also cool because you’re competing against other strong skiers, which is different than some high school meets.
Do you think you’ll compete again in Junior Nationals?
I probably will go again next year. This was my second year at Junior Nationals, but my first in the 16- and 17-year-old division. So if I go again next year it will be my second year in an older age group and hopefully I’ll be able to place better.
What are some of your other skiing accomplishments?
This is my third season skiing varsity, and this year I placed 13th at State, fourth in my section and fourth in my conference. I was hoping to do a little better at State, but I know I have more time to get better and compete before I graduate.
Will you continue to ski after high school?
Nordic skiing certainly has a role in what college I’ll go to. I would love to go to Dartmouth or Middlebury because they both have really good Nordic teams, and also great academics.
What is your favorite part about skiing?
I like being challenged and trying to do better at every race. Also, the Nordic season gives me something to look forward to during the year, and it’s really good exercise.