Cheverus senior Annabelle Brooks is an accomplished Nordic skier – topping all Maine performers with a 10th-place finish at the Eastern High School Championships – and has earned multiple all-state jazz honors both for keyboards and voice. Adriane Ross photo

Endurance sports appeal to Annabelle Brooks. A senior at Cheverus High in Portland, Brooks runs distance or roller skis when snow isn’t available.

And when snow is available, she makes the most of her opportunities.

Annabelle Brooks

“I’ve always liked being out there for a long time in nature,” she said. “It’s very peaceful. I go out with friends and have great conversations while on long runs and long skis. It’s just a wonderful thing.”

Winter arrived later than usual this season, erasing half of the high school Nordic schedule. When nature finally cooperated, Brooks was ready. She finished second to Gould Academy’s Nyla Scott at the Sassi Memorial Classic in late January at Black Mountain, then won the classical and freestyle pursuit titles at the Class A state meet in February at Fort Kent Outdoor Center.

Her combined time at the state meet, held in conjunction with Class B and Class C meets, was faster than any other competitor.

Brooks wrapped up her season with a 10th-place overall finish – best of all skiers from Maine – at the Eastern High School Championship meet in Middlebury, Vermont.


She is our choice as the 2023 Varsity Maine Girls’ Skier of the Year.

“She is a joy to coach and watch ski,” said George Aponte Clarke, the Portland Nordic coach. “Annabelle is always looking for ways to develop her abilities but also help others out. She gives time to help beginner skiers learn balance and form while also giving her best to every workout.”

Brooks lives in Portland and started with Portland Nordic while at King Middle School. She first stepped in ski bindings at 4, tromping through snow with her dad.

She entered ninth grade at Portland High, but after the pandemic hit, she transferred across town to Cheverus, where an in-person hybrid model proved a better fit.

The summer after freshman year, she also joined a new club called Nonstop Nordic directed by Emily Cartwright, who earned All-America skiing honors at the University of New Hampshire.

“That was basically the only option for group training during the pandemic,” Brooks said. “I got so much out of that program.”


“Annabelle was always deeply committed and ready to learn and grow as an athlete,” Aponte Clarke said. “I did not realize how focused and competitive she was until the pandemic hit. Annabelle continued to work hard, training year-round, even when coaching time was limited and races were far and few between. She never missed an opportunity to get stronger, fitter, or more efficient in her skiing.”

Brooks qualified for the Eastern High School Championship meet four times, even though it wasn’t held her freshman or sophomore years. This winter, she emerged from the long shadow of Emma Charles, the 2022 Mt. Blue graduate who dominated Maine’s Nordic scene before leaving for the University of New Hampshire.

“She pushed all of us,” Brooks said. “It was exciting to have someone from Maine who was that quick and inspiring. I think it brings everyone up when you have someone who’s that fast.”

Like Charles, Brooks intends to continue skiing in college. She plans to enroll at Harvard University in the fall and study biology and music.

A pianist since she was 7, Brooks has earned multiple all-state jazz honors, both for keyboards and voice. She is talented enough as a classical pianist to have played with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, performing the Grieg Piano Concerto in A minor last spring.

When her school’s jazz combo lost its percussionist, Brooks filled in on drums. She also plays trumpet.


Last summer, you could catch her at Porchfest, where she performed a half-hour set. She favors rhythm and blues, with Norah Jones and Sara Bareilles being personal favorites, and has started writing her own songs.

“It’s a work in progress,” she said. “Now, with more time, I’m going to start working on that more.”

Already she has sung and played at two weddings. Beyond music and athletics (she runs cross country and outdoor track), Brooks likes to hike and create a type of art called needle felting.

She also cares for a menagerie of pets that include a German shepherd, a ball python, two frogs, two cats and a gecko named Glinda.

“I could see myself becoming a veterinarian,” she said, “or going the music route and becoming a musician, depending on what happens.”

The road ahead is long. She has plenty of time to think and converse and explore.

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