Nordic’s newest captain, Shad Kraftson


Junior Shad Kraftson is possibly one of the most dedicated athletes that Stillwater has seen in a while.

This season, Kraftson made captain of the Nordic team, a rare feat for a junior. With his father, Torry, as the head coach and a national champion, he has been able to work on his skiing skills for most of his life.

“My dad would carry me while he was skiing from when I was too little to ski, then I got my first pair of little plastic skis when I was three years old,” Kraftson said.

Even though Kraftson is only a junior, he’s already competed four seasons at the high school level.

“I’ve been on the high school team since I was in seventh grade,” Kraftson said.

If anyone has any questions about his dad being the coach, and Kraftson being captain, know that captains are chosen by the team, not the coach.

“Captains are voted by the team during the banquet at the end of the season,” Kraftson said.

Kraftson admits that there aren’t many juniors who become captain in Nordic skiing. Most of the time, they’re all seniors.

“Captains are mostly seniors, but sometimes they’re juniors,” Kraftson said.

Even though captain is a big responsibility, Kraftson exercises his humility and downplays the importance of the job.

My dad would carry me while he was skiing from when I was too little to ski, then I got my first pair of little plastic skis when I was three years old.”

— Shad Kraftson

“Captains don’t do a ton, we lead Friday practices and design the team clothing,” Kraftson said.

Kraftson even says that the captains’ parents do more than the captains themselves.

“Parents do more for the team than the captains,” Kraftson said.

He also refrains from bragging about his performance on the team. He refuses to say that he is the best.

“We’re all pretty good, though I’m hoping to be the best this year,” Kraftson said.

Skiing runs in his family, and his dad has been the coach since before he was even on the team.

“My dad has been coach for eight or nine years,” Kraftson said.

He describes how nice it is to have your father be the coach.

“It’s convenient, because I know what practice we’re doing before we do it, or if I have a question or want to do extra training, he’s always right there,” Kraftson said.

“Shad is a quiet leader, but the team really follows him and he leads by example” said his father and head coach, Torry Kraftson.

However, Shad admits that a family member being a coach can have its drawbacks.

“He can get embarrassing though, last week he forgot a hat, so he wore a pair of shorts on his head,” Shad said.

His father, Torry, isn’t the only one of Shad’s family members who got the gift. His younger sister, sophomore Rana is among the best on the girls Nordic team.

“My sister is pretty good too, I bet she’ll be a captain of the girls team next year,” Kraftson said.

Not only does a love for the sport run in his family, the gene for winning does too.

“He’s a national champion, so he’s really good to learn from,” Kraftson said.

Of all the athletes at Stillwater High School, Kraftson is among the most dedicated.

“By the end of this season, I will have put in over 500 hours. Between summer training, summer camp, my club season, and our high school season. Sometimes in the summer I would do two practices,” Kraftson said.

Even though Nordic skiers and downhill skiers don’t associate, he does show some interest in gravity doing the work.

“It might be fun to downhill ski, but I think it would be more fun to snowboard,” Kraftson said.