June 1, 2011

Atwood helped Raiders exceed expectations

By Glenn Jordan gjordan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Originally published in the Maine Sunday Telegram on March 30, 2008

A year ago, Joe Atwood expected his Fryeburg Academy ski team to win the Class B Alpine title. The only doubt was whether or not the Raiders would achieve a perfect score.

This year was different. Joe's brother, Sam, and his cousin, Tim, had graduated, and Jeff Lathrop transferred to Gould Academy. Falmouth held the upper hand in most of their regular-season races.

''We weren't favored at all,'' Atwood said, ''but everything worked out perfectly. All six of our guys finished every single run, which is pretty rare.''

''That really meant a lot to him,'' said his father, Fryeburg Coach Peter Atwood, about the Raiders' team title. ''I don't think people expected us to win because we just didn't have the guns we had in the past. So it was a little more rewarding.''

To go along with Fryeburg's Alpine title, Atwood finished his high school career with his second straight sweep of the Class B giant slalom and slalom races. He won each by nearly a second after posting the four fastest runs of the competition.

Atwood is our choice as Maine Sunday Telegram MVP for boys' skiing.

Also stepping up for Fryeburg were Jack Prince, Cooper Maxwell, Jimmy Russell, Preston Jones and Chris Low. All but Jones and Low are seniors.

Although capable of even more speed, Atwood throttled down for the state competition, knowing Fryeburg needed his points.

''In the high school races, he still skis fast, but he pulls back just a hair,'' Peter Atwood said, ''because it's more of a team thing.''

In the Western Maine Championships, Joe caught a gate near the end of his second slalom run and fell. He got up, hiked back up the course and still managed a fifth-place finish that, as it turned out, allowed Fryeburg to edge Falmouth.

It was the only high school race Atwood failed to win this winter.

He started skiing around age 2 and was racing by 4. Peter Atwood had worked in Colorado for Ski Magazine and taught his children the sport. Joe started at Shawnee Peak, spent time at Sunday River, skied one winter in Stowe, Vt., and for the past two years has trained and competed on weekends with the Mt. Washington Valley ski team in New Hampshire.

At 10, he won the Eastern Championship for his age group. While other peers have gone on to ski academies, Atwood remained at Fryeburg, returning to his native Scarborough each summer. He was captain of the soccer team this fall and plays tennis each spring.

In summer, he surfs at Scarborough Beach. Last summer he tried his hand at recreational lobstering, along with his brother and father.

''It was awesome,'' he said. ''It's a really fun hobby.''

After the state meet, Atwood was the top qualifier for Maine's Alpine entry in the Eastern High School Championships, beating Freeport's Tomasso Rondi in three out of four run. Rondi won the second slalom runs, with Atwood second.

Atwood also placed third in a winter-long competition in New Hampshire called the Macomber Cup, accumulating enough points to beat a host of athletes from ski academies, as well as some collegians.

He plans to continue his skiing career at Colby Sawyer College, a Division II school in New London, N.H., not far from Mount Sunapee. But first, he'll leave his skis behind on a summer trip to Italy, then make sure he spends some quality time at his grandparents' camp on Kezar Lake in Lovell.

''I like to water ski a lot,'' he said. ''It's a family thing, I guess. It's like I can't be off skis for too long.''

 

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

gjordan@pressherald.com

 

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