Mt. Blue Nordic skier Evan Hornbach heads down the trail during the Telstar Relays. Caroline Burns photo Buy this Photo

Mt. Blue skier Evan Hornbach is a serious contender who just wanted to have fun and leave it all on the course his senior year.

The Cougars’ Nordic captain is also the guy his teammates look to for humor and leadership skills.

Hornbach has been a top-five or 10 performer this season, and now he will be helping guide the Cougars at the Class A Nordic state meet, beginning Feb. 17 and continuing through the 18th at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington.

But Hornbach has had a grand time along the way with his teammates and first-year coach Emmy Held.

“When you are able to just have fun, you are not able to focus on the pain of the fitness,” he said. “I like hanging out with the people here. I like working out with them and it has been a great experience, honestly. It has been one of the most entertaining years I have had just because of the people there. 

“It is also my senior year. I am really trying to do my best this year because it is the last time I will probably be skiing. I don’t know if I want to do it in college. I don’t think either of the colleges I am thinking about have a ski team.”

Right now, Hornbach has been accepted into the University of Maine’s chemical engineering program and he is also eyeing the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor to enroll in the climate-change program. He is also considering Saint Michael’s in Vermont because that is where his sister is going and the school offers a “full liberal arts experience.”

WHY NORDIC? 

Watching his sister compete in Nordic skiing also piqued Hornbach’s interest in the sport.

“I have been doing it since the third grade,” he said. “My sister was a big influence for that because she also did Nordic skiing throughout all of middle school and high school.

“I kind of followed in her footsteps because she had the gear for it so I just did it, too. 

“There are certain elements that I really enjoy. At first, it is sort of just who has the best balance and then you end up growing this drive to push yourself to go faster.”

He also ran country cross this past season and is a member of the outdoor track team. He also played for the soccer team in the past.

A COACH’S PERSPECTIVE

Held said Hornbach’s enthusiasm and good nature is contagious and his drive has had a positive effect on the team. She said he will be missed next season.

“He manages to be so playful and joyful, and he is kind of goofing around, but he is always toeing the fine line of staying productive,” Held said. “He is just so excited all the time at practice, and that paired with working really hard, I think it makes him an awesome captain because is very approachable and kind as well with the younger skiers.”

Having fun is one thing for Hornbach, but being on top of his game is equally important to him.

“Evan works super hard,” Held said, “and he is really dedicated to his technique. It is sometimes rare for someone who knows they might be coming to the end of their racing career, potentially, and I am not sure if he is thinking about skiing in college or not, but he is still pushing. He still wants to improve his technique.

“He always wants to be better. He is always looking for the edge.”

Held pointed out that the boys’ team has been gaining momentum throughout the season.

“Having someone like Evan, who is just pushing it all the time and providing that motivation, and the joyful enthusiasm in practice, it keeps everybody on task,” Held said. “It is really cool to see our boys’ team steadily improving as the season goes on, and we are seeing many breakout performances from many of these younger skiers, and I think having that motivation and someone to look up to and consistently racing hard really and putting it all out there (like Evan)…it keeps them excited and keep working.”

Mt. Blue’s Evan Hornbach skates the 2nd leg for his team at the Telstar Relays. Caroline Burns photo

Mt. Blue’s Evan Hornbach competes during the Telstar Relays in Bethel in January. Caroline Burns photo


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