TnT Nordic Ski Team Comes Back From Covid With Reinvigorated Energy


Jon Furlow

In the wake of Covid-19, South and Roosevelt Nordic Ski Team boasts dozens of new members and incredible competitive performance.

Elliott Austin, Staff Writer

Winter sports at South have often been dominated by Basketball and Hockey, but nowadays a good portion of the student body participates in Nordic Skiing. South’s skiing is run through a joint program with Roosevelt; TnT (Tigers and Teddies). Starting in December, the team races every Tuesday until the state meet in the middle of February. The team has worked incredibly hard this year, bolstered with nearly 40 new members, all while Covid continues to issue new challenges. 

Last year, masks were heavily enforced, and they cancelled the three training trips they usually take, leading to a total of zero Covid cases the whole season. “Kids wore masks outside, in their carpools … the only times they weren’t were when they were actively racing or skiing,” said Head Coach Jon Furlow when asked about restrictions last year. “We’re an outdoor sport, so things act very differently from, say, basketball, wrestling, or swimming.” 

Furlow continued by saying that this year’s season has been very similar to last year in regards to restrictions, but Omicron has made things a bit more complicated. “We did have a handful of cases but we addressed those immediately.” Their ultimate goal is to make sure every athlete is safe, and the team will take every necessary precaution to do so. Last season, Nordic made the call to cancel all trips, but this season they were able to go on two of their three trips before Omicron started to become a problem. Even then during those trips, Covid safety was taken extremely seriously.  

“I think we’ve made some really nice competitive improvements this year, and I think we’re going to be very competitive in our section three meet in February,” Coach Furlow said when asked about team performance. Though he added that ultimately anything can happen, he is always cautiously optimistic and thinks the competitive outlook for the team this year is very bright. “They’ve been racing very, very well this season, not just in standout performances individually but as a team.” He also said that their conference is a very competitive one, with our TnT team going up against the Southwest and Washburn teams almost weekly. “There are probably half a dozen athletes in our conference who are on the Midwest Junior National Points list.” Our team has their work cut out for them, but so far this season they have performed excellently. 

South High senior and Nordic Captain, Erika Peterson, spoke about the Covid situation this season. They repeated what Coach Furlow said about restrictions. “Luckily it hasn’t been too bad so far on the ski team.” When asked about being a co-ed team with Roosevelt they said that, “It’s really nice to get to know people from other schools. Some of my really good friends on the team are from Roosevelt.” She noted how it could sometimes seem unfair to the Roosevelt athletes, as not only is the team ultimately run through South, but the uniforms are more centered around South. She said that it’s really nice to be able to ski with students from another school in a non-competitive way. Peterson continued by saying that the Washburn and Southwest teams are particularly good, especially with their young skiers, but said that the teams are starting to even up and TnT is doing much better than before.

“Last year, the season was postponed until January because of Covid,” explained Maria Lee, a Nordic Skier from Roosevelt. “I found it more difficult to stay motivated since I had to train without the team when there was snow.” She said that this year has been overall a lot more normal, and believes that team performance has increased because of this. “Everyone has definitely grown and improved a lot since last year.” On competing on a co-ed team, Lee said that they really like having a joint team with South. They said they’ve made some really close friends who they probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. “Roosevelt and South are normally thought of as rivals, but everyone on the team supports each other, which makes a great community.” Regarding Omicron, she said that there were a few cases but overall it hasn’t greatly impacted the team’s performance. “When there are races, we have alternate skiers that can fill the spot of skiers who were supposed to race but couldn’t because of sickness or Covid.”

 The TnT Nordic Ski team is an incredibly hard working and motivated team that has come back from Covid in full force. Despite a very competitive conference, the combined South and Roosevelt team is performing excellently. Nordic Skiing deserves just as much celebration as other winter sports.