PVIAC alpine skiing season opens tonight
Sean Doyle of Frontier on slalom
John White of Mohawk in hte slalom
Caitlyn Wilkins of Mohawk on giant slalom at Berkshire East
Time to hit the slopes again.
The PVAIC Alpine Skiing regular season opens this afternoon at Berkshire East Ski Resort in Charlemont, and both local entries have teams that grew in numbers — by quite a bit in some cases.
Can any of the teams complete for titles? It all depends on depth and making the fewest mistakes. Frontier Regional School is in the South Division for both boys and girls, and both teams are expected to be in title contention. Mohawk Trail Regional High School will have a difficult time defending its North boys’ title with a deep and talented Longmeadow High School squad loaded for bear. But the girls could make inroads in the South, now that depth won’t be an issue.
Before the blow out of the gates, here’s a closer look at the locals:
Head coach Brett Saharceski has teams that could complete for the South crowns, and an individual who could wind up as the top skier on the mountain.
He’s senior Sean Doyle, who was crowned PVIAC Individual Champion after winning the slalom and taking third in the giant slalom. He also placed 12th in the state giant slalom.
His excellence on the mountain has resulted in many inquiries from Division I schools.
“I believe he’ll have a great season,” said Saharceski, now in his fifth season at the helm. “I expect him to potentially be the top skier of the mountain, and if not, the top skier in the South.”
Junior Jack Hebert returns as the No. 2 skier, giving the Hawks a solid foundation up top.
However, the team can’t afford to make any mistakes, with only fiver skiers in all. Sophomores Billy Prunier and Aaron Rosewarne and eighth-grader Charlie Fox are the other three team members.
The girls’ team, menwhile, has doubled in size from five to 10 members.
Sophomore Alli Zera, who finished third in the South during the regular season and 13th overall in the PVIAC Individuals, leads the squad again.
Seniors Mia Monseratte and Jess Cobb also return, as do eighth-grader Anna Zera and freshman Lily Schumann.
Saharceski also has five newcomers, the top one being freshman Lauren Macdonald. Others making their first go-round with the squad include freshman Jillian Selanis, sophomore Mariah Morse and seventh-graders Hannah Kantor and Page Moriarty.
“Both teams should have a pretty good shot at the South,” said Saharceski. “The boys can win theirs. (The girls’ South) is a little tougher, but our team should be able to finish second.”
The Warriors have a solid core of veterans on both teams, and head coach Sean Loomis is looking for solid results from that top tier of veterans.
On the boys’ side, junior John White will join the battle with Doyle and the top Longmeadow studs for the top overall skier after finishing third overall last season.
Senior Luke Looman (eighth overall) is seeking another top-10 finish and potentially a top-five spot, while junior Liam Datres de la Blotier was 17th overall last year and could ascend to a top-10 placement with a solid season.
The trio of junior Jamieson Rice, sophomore Dan Burke and freshman Ben White will push the top three all season, while sophomore Stephen Von Haugg and seventh-graders Dan White and Bennett Boucias aren’t that far from making an impact.
Others on the roster include juniors Noah Blakeslee, Michael Schuetze and Nick Brown, sophomore Sam Smithers and freshman Adam Hallenbeck.
“The way Longmeadow is stacked, it’s going to be extremely tough for us to defend,” admitted Loomis, “but hopefully the 4, 5, and 6 guys can step up and have solid races. The top 3 can’t make any mistakes.”
The girls will be able record team scores this year with 10 on the squad.
All three girls from last year return, with Caitlyn Wilkins leading the way. The junior tied for 15th overall in 2013, and Loomis feels she has the capability of moving up to a top-10 finish.
Freshman Tyler Rice and eighth-grader Lizzie Herzig have steadily improved and could have a shot at top-30 overall finishes and a berth in the state individuals.
Of the newcomers, freshman Christina Lively and Hannah Poplawski and seventh-grader Erin Laffond are the top candidates to contribute to the team scoring (the top four times count toward the score).
Sophomore Kayla Baus and seventh-graders Jordan Rice, Gweneth Clark and Lucy Carr are the other newbies.