Look out for Mohawk, Red Hawks’ Doyle
It could prove to be a banner year for the Mohawk Trail Regional High School boys’ ski team, while Frontier Regional School is looking to make a move upward in the boys’ North Division.
Frontier’s girls will be happy for a chance to compete for the girls’ South Division standings with enough skiers to field a team.
Regardless, both schools are ready to hit the slopes for the opening of the PVIAC Alpine Ski League today at 5 at Berkshire East Ski Resort in Charlemont.
Several individuals will be shooting for a spot in the MIAA state championships, which will also be held at Berkshire East, so the prospects of a state champion are better than usual.
Here’s a look at both programs:
The Red Hawks will have a difficult time cracking the top two spots in the North, but they just may have the area’s best skier in Sean Doyle. The junior co-captain has qualified for the state meet three straight years, and placed second overall in the PVIAC regular season and during PVIAC Individuls. He is expected to contend for the regular-season individual title, as well as the PVIAC and state individual crowns.
Senior co-captain Jacob Conroy is another top skier who could be in line for the state individual berth.
“He’s looking to have his best season yet,” said Frontier head coach Brett Saharceski. “He’s been training really hard with the Berkshire East Ski Team as well.”
Overall experience could be the Red Hawks’ downfall, with only six skiers on the roster.
The only other returnees are sophomore Jack Hebert and eighth-grader William Prunier.
Saharceski also has two newcomers, freshman Aaron Rosewarne and seventh-grader Charlie Fox.
The Frontier girls’ team also has six skiers, a number that will give it enough to record a team score each night (each team must have a minimum of four skiers finish the course to record a team score).
Their only major problem is inexperience — five of the six are new to the team.
Alli Zera, just a freshman, is the only returnee and she should be among the best performers in the South.
“She’s been training with (Berkshire East Ski Team) and should have a great season,” said Saharceski.
Zera’s younger sister, seventh-grader Annalise Zera, may turn out to be one of the PVIAC’s better newcomers. The other newbies are juniors Mia Monserrate and Jess Cobb, and freshmen Molly Blake and Lilly Schumann.
The Warrior boys captured the North, beating longtime rival Longmeadow in the process, but struggled in the states. This year’s squad has a chance to contend as a team, and at least a few skiers could be in the mix for the state individual titles in both racing disciplines for new head coach Sean Loomis.
Senior Brian Schwartz will be Mohawk’s No. 1 skier after a solid 2012 campaign that saw him finish no worse than fifth in every regular season race and placing fourth overall at Individuals.
“He’s definitely a solid skier across the board,” said Loomis, a former Warrior star on the slopes. “I’m kind of excited to see what he can do.”
Schwartz isn’t the only Warrior to watch, however. The team has plenty of depth, and sophomore Jon White has emerged as No. 2 on the depth chart. Loomis said he expects White to push Schwartz, creating a tough 1-2 combination.
From there, Loomis can go in several directions. He has a couple of seniors in Dane Amstein and Alex Rice, both of whom have experience, as well as juniors Luke Looman (10th at Individuals) and Leroy Page.
Three others who have the race experience to earn starting spots include sophomore Liam Datres de la Blotier and Jameson Rice, and eighth-grader Ben White (Jon’s younger brother).
Loomis also has six other returners who could push their way into races. They include junior Brian Sullivan, 10th-graders Nick Brown, Michael Schuetze and Issac Sisum, freshmen Austin Porrovecchio and Sam Smithers, and eighth-grader Adam Hallenback.
Newcomers to the squad include senior Evan Bruffee, junior Bryce MacLeod, sophomores Noah Blakeslee and Jake Orzechowski, eighth-grader Max Carr and seventh-graders Hunter Sessions and James Harrison.
“I think we can compete for (the North title),” said Loomis. “We’d like to keep that trophy at Mohawk. The kids want to keep it, and they have their sights set on doing that.”
Mohawk won’t field a girls’ team due to lack of numbers, but Loomis has three individuals who will attempt to qualify for states. Eighth-grader Olivia Dubrule, who qualified last season, will try to make two years in a row. Classmate Tyler Rice and seventh-grader Lizzie Herzig are newcomers.