Keeping it all in the family for Williams ski team
A pair of Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High graduates, siblings Isaac and Eli Hoenig , and their cousin, Concord’s Olivia Meyerson, are enjoying a family reunion as members of the Nordic ski team at Williams College.
Isaac is a senior captain who qualified for the NCAA postseason competition last year. Brother Eli is a promising freshman who was last year’s MIAA Nordic champ while competing for Lincoln-Sudbury. And Meyerson, a sophomore, also qualified for last season’s NCAA championships, which were held at Middlebury College.
“It’s kind of unusual, but the three of us didn’t really plan it this way, and it really hits home when we’re traveling in the team van or eating dinner together,’’ said Eli, who was a freshman on the Warriors team that won the Nordic state championship in 2010, when Isaac served as cocaptain with Lincoln’s Chris Stock, now a senior captain at Harvard University.
The Hoenigs were introduced to cross-country skiing by their parents, Cathy and Peter, and fondly remember being carried on their dad’s shoulders before they hit the trails in Craftsbury, Vt., and Jackson, N.H.
They were tutored early on by Stock’s father, Jim , with the Bill Koch League in Weston, and by junior team coach Rob Bradlee at the Cambridge Sports Union.
“I think I speak for all three of us that we’d much rather be outdoors than indoors in the winter, and when we’re together on campus or competing, we have a few inside jokes we can share,’’ said Isaac, a three-time state Nordic champion at Lincoln-Sudbury for head coach Graham Taylor.
They bonded quickly.
“I was a high school freshman and we had an optional Friday practice and for some reason I was the only one to show up at the Weston Ski Track,’’ recalled Isaac. “I started skiing and Coach would yell out the times. I kept going faster and faster. It was quite the workout.’’
Eli, third at Junior Nationals last year in the freestyle (skate) competition, started his collegiate career with strong finishes at the Colby Carnival: 10th in the freestyle and 11th in the classical event, among a field of 90 cross-country skiers.
“I always have a competitive edge and I love the demands and rewards of the sport,’’ he said. “My strong suit is my strength and being able to keep up a rapid pace, but as the saying goes, skiers are made in the summer.’’
To that end, Isaac and Eli took to the less traveled roads in Littleton and Concord on roller skis to build up their endurance.
“We got some strange looks and a few funny comments from people driving by,’’ said Eli.
Meyerson, like her older sister, Sophia, was a girls’ Nordic ski captain at Concord-Carlisle High, where younger brother Jacob is a junior on the boys’ team.
As a high school junior, she finished second individually in the MIAA championships, and also competed in the Junior Nationals prior to enrolling at Williams.
Her mom, Sandra, is Peter Hoenig’s sister.
“She grew up as a downhill freestyle skier,’’said Olivia, a figure skater before turning to skiing, “and eventually I was drawn more to cross-country skiing because of my sister and cousins.
“Last year, as a freshman, I didn’t have specific expectations. I just tried to work hard, and experiencing the NCAAs and being part of a team with my cousins has been very fulfilling.’’
Meyerson said she focuses on what she can control.
“I don’t stress over the weather or the conditions,’’ she said, “but it doesn’t mean I don’t have butterflies.’’
Their coach at Williams, Bud Fisher, is pleased to have the three former Globe All-Scholastics competing in Williamstown.
“Eli’s been one of the strongest junior skiers in the nation the last few years, and he’s bringing that training background and competitiveness to our team,’’ said Fisher.
“Isaac improves every year and has been a terrific captain at meets and in training, and Olivia’s making the NCAAs last year is a hard thing to do for a freshman. She has a lot of talent and she always races hard.’’
Here and there
South Carolina Stingrays rookie forward Wayne Simpson of Boxborough and second-year pro Derrick Pallis of Medfield helped the team post the East Coast Hockey League’s second-best record (28-10-1-2) through last weekend. Simpson, a former captain at Union College, scored his 13th goal of the season in a 4-2 victory over the Florida Everblades, while Pallis, who was an assistant captain and defenseman at Princeton University, scored his first goal for the Stingrays in a 4-1 win against the Everblades. . . Worcester Polytechnic Institute junior guard Sam Longwell (Acton-Boxborough Regional) averaged 24 points and 6.5 rebounds over a two-game span, including a career-high 31 points against Clark, that resulted in him being named New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week. WPI was 16-1 and ranked fifth nationally in Division 3. . . In her first step to reaching 900 career victories — a milestone reached by just five others in women’s college basketball — Barbara Stevens guided Clark University to a 73-26 victory over Western New England on Dec. 1, 1977. Last Saturday, in her 37th season as a head coach, and 28th overall at Bentley, Stevens earned No. 900 with a 98-82 victory over Saint Anselm. Her Falcons (19-0) entered Saturday’s game at Pace ranked No. 1 in the country.