Wahconah Skiers Honor Student's Battle with Leukemia
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Saturday’s Nordic ski race at Mount Greylock was all about teamwork -- and teams working together.
It was relay day, which meant quartets comprising two boys and two girls completing the 4-kilometer loop.
But it was also a day when racers from every team in the Berkshire County Nordic League wore the same color: yellow.
For most of them, it was a small yellow ribbon. For the boys and girls from Wahconah, it was more pronounced as they skied around the grounds of Mount Greylock Regional School adorned in yellow bandanas and ribbons in honor of one of their own, Cameron Forward.
Forward, who would have been a freshman skier at Wahconah this year, is instead battling leukemia.
“From what the coach told us, he was into downhill skiing before, so we just thought it would be something nice to do to honor him,” Wahconah senior Zack McCain said after anchoring his team’s top quartet to an 11th place finish.
“Feb. 15 is [International Childhood Cancer Day]. That’s coming up, so we’ve been thinking about doing something for that. And since today is the relay day, and we have special uniforms anyway, we figured we could do it today.”
In terms of racing, the day belonged to the host Mounties, who posted the first six team finishes, led by the lead quartet anchored by John Scavlem in 1 hour, 10.36 minutes.
Lainey Gill and Sam Edge finished second and third, respectively and a second apart at 1:10:58 and 1:10:59.
Mohawk Trail’s Noel Anderson was the first non-Mountie across the finish line in 1:16:09, and Lenox’s Noah Kalischer-Coggins brought his team home with a time of 1:16:17, good for ninth place.
Despite the sometimes slushy conditions and the light rain that fell midway through the relay, there was a lot to be happy about as the league held the penultimate race of its regular season. For one thing, just getting a race in before this week’s thaw. For another, the opportunity to again demonstrate the ski community’s solidarity.
“It was really neat,” McCain said. “We had a team dinner last night where we were making the ribbons, and the coaches got emails back saying the other teams would want them, so we had to make more. It was fun to see such a big group getting involved.
“It really feels like a family.”
Follow Cameron Forward's story at https://www.facebook.com/groups/142091886274954/about/