To say the least, Julia Ganley is busy.
The Andover High senior is a member of the National Honor Society, currently enrolled in three Advanced Placement classes. She takes dance classes, was in the school’s fall musical, is preparing for the spring Shakespeare performance and even sings in the Andover High chamber choir.
Oh, and she also happens to be a star for the Golden Warriors’ ski team.
“It’s stressful, but I love it,’ Ganley said. “I love to be busy. I hate sitting around. I have a lot of passions, and one of them is skiing. I love to race.”
A co-captain and four-year varsity performer, Ganley has emerged as Andover’s top skier so far this season, taking a team-best second overall in each of the Warriors’ meets and helping the team to a 4-1 start.
“Julia is having a fantastic season,” Andover ski coach Tom Busta said. “She is a busy girl with a great attitude and a terrific work ethic. She is a great leader and a better person.”
Ganley grew up with skiing in her blood. She was introduced to the sport by her father and spent her childhood skiing at Cannon Mountain in Franconia, N.H., with her family, including older sister, Rose Ganley, who herself was a ski captain for Andover High in 2010-11.
With 10 years of skiing experience by the time she arrived at Andover High, Ganley knew she would be skiing for her school’s team.
“I used to go to a lot of Rose’s races growing up,” Julia Ganley said. “It always looked like a lot of fun so I was excited to join the team. Rose showed me the ropes. She showed me how to prepare and be a part of the team. It was great to have that connection to the upperclassmen.
“Rose was pretty mad the one time I beat her in a race, but it was all in fun. We compete, but we aren’t super competitive with each other.”
Julia Ganley opened her sophomore season in style, taking third overall in the first meet of that season, behind star teammates Kerry Christopher and Jess Kearns. She followed that by placing in the top 10 in every subsequent dual meet, including two more thirds. She then took a team-best third overall to lead the Warriors to victory at the Interscholastic meet.
She continued that success last season, scoring her first career victory, again placing third at Interscholastics and taking a team-high 12th in the giant slalom at the state meet.
“That was really exciting,” she said. “Winning was nice because growing up I was never really skiing at the top of my class. I skied with kids that are now at ski academies and are trying to make the U.S. team. I was just good. So it has been fun. But one of the best parts about skiing for Andover is that it’s not just about individual success. You are part of a team, and you can shine even if you don’t win if the team does well.”
This season has started off well for both Ganley and the Golden Warriors. The senior has taken second place overall in every meet, just trailing rival and friend Alex Marshall of Manchester Essex, as Andover has posted four convincing victories as a team.
“It is exciting to represent Andover High,” she said. “I want to continue the streak of league titles for the team and would like to do very well in states. The boys won states when I was a freshman, but the girls haven’t done it. That would be a terrific accomplishment.”
Never a free moment
When Ganley isn’t starring on the slopes, she certainly isn’t lounging at home watching television.
The National Honor Society member is currently enrolled in AP English, Spanish and calculus. She has already been accepted early decision to Yale, Vermont and UMass Amherst, but has yet to make any decisions.
“I still have a lot of homework and spend a lot of time studying,” she said. “But I have learned more efficient ways of handling the workload. I have been through the routine before. Race days are hard, but I am not up as late as I used to be.”
But that is far from Ganley’s entire schedule.
Two days a week, she arrives at Andover High at 6:30 a.m. for an hour-long Chamber Choir practice. The group is headed to Washington, D.C. to perform in April.
She is also passionate about dance, spending seven hours a week studying a combination of ballet, jazz, hip hop and tap. In the fall, she had a role in Andover High’s production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” and she is planning to participate in the upcoming spring play.
“It can be very stressful,” she said. “But I love it all. I love music and I love dance. I love having the chance to interact with different communities and people.”