Sophia Hodges ’20 is in her third year on the Middlebury nordic skiing team. An English and American literature major from nearby Cornwall, Vermont, Hodges talks about growing up in the area and following in her father’s footsteps.
Tell us about growing up in apple country.
My parents own and run the Sunrise Orchards in nearby Cornwall. Our story started when my paternal grandparents moved to Vermont in 1974 with my dad and his siblings and began planting the orchard. They handed the baton of the business over to my father in the early 2000s. While growing up, I learned leadership and communication from my parents while they ran the orchard. I also picked up a lot of information about hard work and the pressures of running your own business at a young age, but my parents have been wonderful role models for me throughout my life.
How did it feel to win the Middlebury Carnival this year?
Everyone was really excited, not only on the respective teams but also throughout the community! I remember hearing “915 is my new favorite number” a lot throughout my friends, as that was the score we needed to beat Dartmouth and win the carnival. It is exciting to be a part of something that I feel like everyone on our team has worked so hard to accomplish. I remember head coach Andrew Johnson specifically saying how he thought it was interesting that our team didn’t focus on the results that much all weekend, and when we ended up winning, it was indicative of how each teammate put their best foot forward for that weekend, almost like a natural outcome.
Why did you decide to stay nearby for college?
I decided to attend Middlebury because I truly love the town and Vermont in general. I spent my last two years of high school at Stratton Mountain School in Southern Vermont, and I knew Middlebury was the place for me early on. I have very strong connections to my family and the land here, especially at Rikert Nordic center, where I have been skiing since I learned to walk, and all of these things made me realize that this place is special no matter where you come from.
When did skiing become a big part of your life?
I learned to ski when I was about four or five years old, and I began skiing on a competitive level when I was in fourth grade. I went to a summer camp at Stratton Mountain School that encompassed nearly all of my friends in the skiing community. We really bonded over the sport not only during that camp but beyond, spurring my love for it.
How is it to have your younger brother Samuel on this year’s team?
It is pretty fun to have Samuel on the team with me. My siblings and I are very close, and Samuel and I in particular. We spent a lot of time skiing together in Bill Koch League (the youth ski league in the northeast) at Rikert when we were in elementary and middle school, and it is a great thing to have him with me here at Middlebury.
What is it like to ski for the same team as your father Barney, who was a 1992 All-American?
My father is a big part of the reason why I ski today. It is really fun for [my brother] Samuel and me to be able to ski at Middlebury, following in the footsteps of my father, as well as making our own memories at the same time. I think that my father is really proud to have us both here at Middlebury. He came to every carnival this winter, showing his ongoing dedication to the sport. He also just joined the Rikert crew as a groomer, and has been really excited to keep the grooming there top notch for everyone who uses the trails.
What is your #MiddMoment?
I guess I would say my #MiddMoment is no day in particular, but coming back from Rikert with my teammates after one of our workouts and singing loudly to all of our favorite songs in the van is always really fun.
Note - The inserted photo above to the right shows Sophia's parents Christiana and James "Barney" Hodges '92 in front of Sunrise Orchards. (photo submitted by Sophia Hodges)
Note - The inserted photo above to the left is Sophia (middle) along with sister Malia (left) and Samuel (right) on the orchard in the summer of 2006. (photo submitted by Sophia Hodges)