Short takes over youthful Patriots Nordic ski team

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WOODFORD — To say the Bruce Smith era in Mount Anthony Nordic skiing was a success would be a major understatement.

The former coach led both the boys and girls teams to three state championships each over his 11 seasons at the helm of the program.

Replacing a coach like that is as difficult a task as one can find, but for first-year MAU head coach Robbie Short the transition has been smooth.

Short has been a long-time assistant under Smith and this year, he is getting his chance to see what he can do as the head of the program.

"Robbie was definitely a big contributor to the team last year and the years before," senior captain Bethany Hassett said. "Having him step up as head coach was definitely pretty seamless."

"He' been around pretty much all of our high school careers and everyone else's on the team, so it's not a huge change from last year," added senior captain Liam Drew.

The Patriots opened up their season Saturday at Prospect Mountain against other Vermont teams and found some solid success in the meet. A major standout from the meet was Jack Drew, who won the boys race by nearly a minute.

Just a sophomore, Jack Drew is clearly already making an impact. That's something that will be apparent for this incarnation of the Patriots. Youth will make up a major part of both teams.

MAU has just three seniors on the boys and girls teams, respectively. Though they boys have a large junior class, the sophomores and freshman across both teams are in large numbers.

As the elder statesman on their team, Liam Drew and Hassett are trying to impart on the younger kids a love for the sport they compete in every day.

"It's definitely a positive experience with Nordic skiing because it's a life sport," Liam Drew said. "It's not just this high school four years. They can do it after. Positivity after and before races, no matter how the results are, just have fun."

The seniors know that hard work will pay off for their teammates and help them improve.

"We like to see people come to practice and work hard every day," added Hassett. "It's really interesting seeing that we have a young team this year. (Saturday) was kind of fun seeing what the outcome was of that. I expect our young skiers to improve a lot over the season."

Short knows he has the right leaders in place to aid him in the development of the Patriots team.

"With a transition year from a new coach, they really have stepped up to help me out with the team growing in size," Short said. "We have some middle-schoolers coming along with us now. (The captains) have really stepped into leadership roles seamlessly. We know who's going to be the next year's captains usually the year before. They've stepped up to the task I've given them and been great contributors to what we want as an overall goal as a team."

Roster: Boys: Austin Buttle, Franklin Cody, Liam Drew, Brendon Bossong, Samuel Chaney, Thomas Lake, Jeson Li, Maxwell Noyes, Noah Payne, Izaiah Rhodes, Emiliano Salazar, Josua Schmid, Ian Young, Jack Drew, Colin Gauthier, Andrew Giorgi, Owen Hansen, Garrett Joly, Jacob Lincourt, Gabriel Niles, Christopher Nolan, Leo Sedlock, Jacob Zimmerman.

Girls: Makayla Gelheiser, Bethany Hassett, Bridget Keenan, Natalie Jelly, Zoe Lang, Amelia Schroeder, Isabella Small, Molly Cohen, Kylee Hall, Lauren Johnson, Sarah Umphlett, Chloe Cichanowski, Ella Cichanowski, Autumn Connell, Nikita Noyes-Martel, Zoe Palisano, Maggie Payne.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benngingtonbanner.com and at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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