This week, Vikings Athletics caught up with third-year Vikings Nordic Sports captain and biology major Nathanael Tabert to see how he discovered Nordic Sports and the legacy he hopes to leave with the program.
Q: As an athlete what challenges and opportunities does this year bring?
NT: This year has been challenging for me as an athlete because it has been difficult to stay connected with the rest of the team and build a team community, which is one of the best parts of being on a university team. My teammates make up a large portion of the community I have at school, and not being able to stay connected with them outside of our restricted training schedule is difficult. Despite this challenge, this year brings an opportunity for me to develop myself as an athlete and find new motivations to continue to strive towards excellence in my sport. With limited competition and group training, I have become more self-motivated.
Q: What has the pandemic changed most for you?
NT: The greatest challenge that the pandemic has brought on me has been trying to navigate team structural changes with new restrictions. The Nordic team has seen a lot of change over the last few years and I have been involved in helping re-establishing the program as the team's student president. Trying to lay the foundation for a sustainable program is difficult in any situation, and the new restrictions have only added another layer of complication to the process.
Q: How have you and the team stayed connected during the pandemic?
NT: With the snow finally arriving, our team has been lucky enough to have some in-person training because our sport is outside, making it easier to stay distanced while training. We have had some meetings over video calls, but apart from training and those who are in immediate social cohorts, we have not had much contact.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in your nordic sports career?
NT: Over the last few years, I have seen a lot of improvement in myself and hope to continue to improve in my technique and strength throughout this year so that I can successfully compete and ski for the rest of my life. I hope that I can leave a lasting impact through my involvement in the Nordic Sports program so that others who wish to pursue cross country skiing, in whatever capacity that may be, may do so at Augustana for years to come.
Q: How did you get into nordic sports?
NT: My Nordic sports career is still very young, as it only began when I joined the Vikings Nordic team in my first year. I started as, and am still primarily, a cross country runner. I joined the ski team to try something new and so that I could continue to train outside throughout the winter, and have come to love the sport.
Q: Why did you choose to become a Viking?
NT: I chose Augustana because I knew it offered a good science program and because of it’s smaller class sizes. I also knew there was a cross country running team and that I wanted to be a part of endurance sports wherever I went to school. I was welcomed onto both the skiing and running teams and my fellow Vikings have since become the core of my community at Augustana.
Q: How do you spend your free time when you are not training or competing?
NT: When I’m not competing or training, and besides school, I spend my time playing guitar and other instruments, playing board games with friends, going on outdoor adventures and being involved in the Church community in Camrose.
You can hear more from Vikings Athletes Friday mornings with Scott Michell on New Country 98.1.