Declining enrollment and a shift of interest are likely the culprits for an end to the Nordic skiing program at Boothbay Region High School. However, it should not come as a surprise, said Coach Nick Scott: Track has been discussed as a replacement for the past couple years.
"Nordic is a fantastic sport, I love it," said Scott. "But I think interest waned a little bit, so we had thought for a couple years that it may be good to transition to indoor track because it's so inclusive."
Scott said one of the big problems with high school skiing is recruiting. If skiing is new to a student by the time they are in high school, they are not likely to gravitate toward it. Another problem has been the snowfall coming heavily in March over the past couple years. That is about when spring sports start.
In the earlier years of BRHS Nordic skiing, the team had many more students, one year about 20, Scott said. But the roster has been creeping lower and Scott said it seemed about time to change to winter track.
Though there is not a finalized team roster, Scott said about 15 students signed up for the sport that lends itself well to all sorts of athletic types. Whether sprinting, jumping, running long distance or “someone who wants to throw stuff,” there is always a spot on the track team, said Scott.
He said the events are similar to outdoor track, though most indoor tracks are about half the size of outdoor ones – 200 meters as opposed to 400 meters.
Indoor track has no race-walking, 300 meter hurdles, javelin or discus. "There is a 55-meter sprint and the 55-meter hurdles,” said Scott. “That's different than outdoor (which) would be the 100-meter sprint and 100 hurdles …”
There will also be high jump, long jump, triple jump, pole vault, shot put, 200m dash, 400m dash, 800m run, one-mile run, two-mile run, 4x200m relay and 4x800m relay. Athletes will practice most events inside and outside when weather permits.
The Seahawks will participate in the Western Maine Conference which Scott said pits them against some extremely good teams.
“What's really cool about this is in cross country and outdoor track, we compete in the Mountain Valley Conference, so Monmouth, Lisbon, Winthrop, but here none of those guys participate in this except for Lisbon … It'll be interesting to see how this can play a role in outdoor track, a full 14 weeks of an indoor season and then go into outdoor after that.”
Scott hopes this winter will also be a great season for broken records as BRHS only had indoor track from 1998 to 2008.
“I'm super excited about the change. I think it's great, good for inclusiveness of a bunch of kids. It's a non-heal-point sport, so you don't have to try out, there's no playing time involved. It's one of those kind of situations where you can be as actively engaged as you choose to be.”