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Ski Preview: Frontier, Mohawk take a step up

  • Ashley LaCross will be back on the slalom course for Mohawk this season as the Warriors move up to the North Division.

  • Coriann Delaney should be a force to be reckoned with on the Frontier girls’ team, which has moved up to the North Division. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Bennett Boucias is back for the Mohawk boys’ team, which is bad news for North Division foes. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Veteran Warrior Dan White should be a consistent Mohawk point producer in North Division ski competition this season. Recorder file photo/Paul Franz



Recorder Staff
Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Winds of change have overtaken the local girls’ alpine ski programs, as both Mohawk Trail Regional High School and Frontier Regional School have been realigned and will compete in the North Division when the PVIAC Alpine Ski League commences next week at Berkshire East Ski Resort in Charlemont.

The seven-race regular season is followed by the PVIAC Individual Championships on Feb. 13, and then top qualifiers will tackle the MIAA State Alpine Championships.

After winning the South Division regular-season title a year ago, the Mohawk girls’ team will slide up to the highly-competitive North. The Warriors will compete against the likes of Longmeadow, Minnechaug Regional and Westfield high schools.

The Frontier girls’ team also moves up to the North after finishing fourth overall in the South a year ago. Both programs have several talented underclassmen who impressed a year ago and should once again be in the mix near the tops of leaderboards.

On the boys’ side, Mohawk remains in the North, where it finished fourth a year ago. Frontier is the lone local team competing in the South.

Here’s a closer look at the local teams:

Frontier

The Red Hawks have a stellar No. 1 skier in sophomore Corriann Delaney, who returns after a freshman campaign when she was the individual runner-up in the South Division. Delaney won three races a year ago and head coach Brian Delaney said she should again be in the mix despite the move up to the North.

“She continues to ski competitively and we’re hoping she’ll be able to break into that top 3 or so in the league,” Brian Delaney said of his daughter, who was the team’s top finisher at last year’s state championship.

Senior Anna Zera is the team’s other returning state qualifier, and Delaney expects her to take a step forward this winter. Sophomore Alina Smiarowski was a top-10 finisher in the league last year but transferred out of Frontier.

“Anna continues to progress and we’re hoping she can get into the top 10 or 15,” said Delaney.

Eighth-graders Maddie Raymond and Cali Price also return and should figure into the scoring for Frontier. Delaney said Raymond has shown a lot of progress during the early season. Seventh-grader Fiona Hayes rounds out the squad.

The move up to the North will be a difficult task for the small squad, but Delaney said the Red Hawks are trying to make the best of it.

“In the world of ski racing, you really have to go through the best, no matter what,” he said. “You’re on the slopes, you’re racing against everybody. It is what it is. We’ve got our hands full but we’re optimistic.”

• The boys’ team lost captain Billy Prunier to graduation, meaning Frontier has just three skiers on its roster.

Freshman Ben Martino leads the way, and Delaney expects him to be at the top of the pack this winter.

Junior Aaron Halbach also returns, and he’s someone Delaney said has made some nice gains since the end of last season.

Rookie seventh-grader Ben Makosiej rounds out the trio of skiers.

Mohawk

Freshman Ashley LaCross leads a loaded Mohawk girls’ team that will need to ski well after its move to the North. The good news is that the Warriors lost just twice to North teams a season ago, meaning they’ve got the firepower to compete.

LaCross is coming off an outstanding eighth-grade season, where she was the South regular-season champion after winning four of the seven races during the season. She added a pair of top-25 finishes at the MIAA State Championship.

Junior captain Erin Laffond was sixth in the South standings a year ago and returns, as does freshman Taylor Loomis who tied for seventh in the South as an eighth-grader. Senior captain Lizzie Herzig rounds out the team’s top four skiers, as she qualified for the state meet last year and should be a factor to join her teammates as a top 10 performer this winter.

“We are confident that with all the hard work the girls put in during the preseason that we will have a fifth strong skier to round out our top five,” offered Mohawk coach Brandon Boucias. “We’re looking to qualify at least five or six girls for states.”

Freshmen Amelie Rowehl, Sarah Herzig and Lydia Sargent are in the hunt for that top 5 spot, as are eighth-grader Ariea Heilman and seventh-grader Myah Grant, who round out the roster.

“We have had a really productive dry-land fitness training so far and look forward to a successful ski season,” Boucias said.

• The boys’ team took fourth in the North last year on the strength of a pair of top-10 individual finishers. Juniors Dan White and Bennett Boucias had strong sophomore campaigns and should once again lead the way on the Berkshire East slopes.

White finished seventh in the North a year ago and came up with arguably his biggest performance of the season in the state meet when he cracked the top 25.

Boucias was right behind White in eighth place during the North regular-season races, and he also qualified and competed in the state meet for the Warriors.

“I feel confident in them and I know they’re pretty confident they can be in the top 10 again, if not move up to the top 5,” Mohawk boys’ coach Sean Loomis said of Boucias and White. “They just have to put the runs together.”

Mohawk returns its entire team, and Loomis said the goal will be to contend again at the top of the North standings.

Senior James Harrison, who joins Boucias as captains, and sophomore Ryan Burke are counted on to be consistent scorers behind the team’s top two, while eighth-grader Nick Boesel-Stravino and freshman Michael Harrison have impressed early and should take a step forward. Eighth-grader Travis Russell is back on the squad again after skiing as a seventh-grader.

“Even though it’s a small team again, we’ve got a great group of kids,” Loomis offered. “We’ve been skiing the last week and a half and things have been going good.”