Warriors, Red Hawks ready to hit slopes

  • Corriann Delaney of Frontier on slalom.Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Mohawk’s Bennett Boucias should be in the running for most events this year in PVIAC Alpine Ski League action, which opens today at Berkshire East. RECORDER FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Dan White of Mohawk on GS. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Lizzie Herzig of Mohawk on slalom. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Mohawk’s Taylor Loomis will be in the hunt for the Warriors this year in PVIAC Alpine Ski League action, be it in the slalom (above) or giant slalom. RECORDER FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Erin Laffond of Mohawk on slalom. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Ashley Lacross of Mohawk on slalom. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Alina Smiarowski of Frontier on slalom. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Published: 1/11/2017 11:28:02 PM

It’s time to hit the mountain again.

Mohawk Trail Regional High School and Frontier Regional School are ready to take on the rest of the valley in the PVIAC Alpine Ski League, which commences tonight at Berkshire East Ski Resort in Charlemont.

The seven-race regular season will be followed by the PVIAC Individual Championships on Feb. 14 at 10:30 a.m. Then the area’s best will journey to Wachusett Mountain in Princeton for the MIAA State Alpine Championships.

This season, at least locally, is shaping up as a battle for the girls’ South Division with the Warriors and Red Hawks both legitimate contenders for the crown.

Mohawk and the rest of the North teams will battle for second place behind Longmeadow, which is loaded and ready to run away with another league crown. Frontier’s boys, meanwhile, will struggle with just the minimum number of skiers for team scoring.

Here’s a closer look at the local teams:

Mohawk

The Warriors have plenty of reason to be optimistic on the girls’ side, where coach Brandon Boucias welcomed back all but one girl who opted for switching sports.

What’s even more impressive is that his team had just two senior and is loaded with depth.

The best of the lot could very well be eighth-grader Ashley Lacross, who was a top-10 overall finisher at Individuals.

Add in seniors Christina Lively and Tyler Rice (both of who qualified for states), junior Lizzie Herzig, sophomore Erin Laffond, and eighth-grader Taylor Loomis, and Boucias has a nice problem most teams love to have.

Laffond’s presence is a welcome sight — she struggled with multiple injuries in 2016, but has joined the Berkshire East Ski Team and has trained tirelessly to prepare for the season.

“Between all those girls, there are going to be a lot of good finishes,” said Boucias.

Boucias also has three other returning contributors in eighth-graders Jackie Wells, Amelie Rowehl and Sarah Herzig.

Those new to the team include eighth-graders Hannah Johnson and Areia Heilman, and seventh-graders Lydia Sargent and Caitlin Upton.

“We’re deep,” understated Boucias. “Realistically, our top six should finish in the (overall) top 25.”

Boucias said he doesn’t have to spend time trying to motivate anybody.

“I have a great time coaching this team,” he said. “They train so hard, especially with dry-land training, and they’re a bunch of go-getters.”

• Boys’ head coach Sean Loomis doesn’t have the same kind of depth, but still has some talent among his group of seven.

His top skier is sophomore Bennett Boucias, who is expected to qualify for states and possibly finish as high as the top 15.

Sophomore Dan White, who was recently cleared for competition after major ACL surgery, is another potential state qualifier if he’s 100 percent healthy.

The only other returning skiers are freshman Ryan Burke and junior James Harrison. Both have a chance to make the states, but need strong and consistent efforts throughout the season to do so.

Loomis’ newbies include eighth-grader Michael Harrison and seventh-graders Nick Boesel-Stravino and Travis Russell.

“We have a very young team, so it’s a rebuilding year for us,” said Coach Loomis. “We have no seniors so that’s a bonus for next year. I’m looking forward to seeing how the young kids do, so it really comes down to if they can impress me. We shouldn’t be too bad, but you never know until you get on the snow.”

Frontier

This could be a very good year for the Red Hawks on the girls’ side, with a combination of veterans and newcomers, plus no seniors. That should help coach Brain Delaney keep Frontier in contention for the South title for at least the next few years.

His two best skiers are daughter Corriann Delaney and Alina Smiarowski, both of whom are freshmen but have proven they can race with the best heading into their third seasons with the squad. Delaney was sixth overall and Smiarowski 13th at Individuals.

Junior Anna Zera returns for her fifth season of racing and looks to break into top 30, while sophomore Paige Moriarty comes back for her third season.

Eighth-grader Claire Winston and seventh-graders Cali Price and Maddie Raymond are the newcomers.

“Depth is always an obstacle for us in the team competition, and repeating as the South Division champion will require so many variable factors to fall in line,” said Coach Delaney. “The only way to approach this season is one day at a time. The girls have worked extremely hard in the offseason in strength, speed and agility disciplines.”

• The boys’ squad will seek continued individual improvement because it has only four members, just enough to score as a team should no one get disqualified of fail to finish a run.

Billy Prunier is the senior captain, and he’s focused on a top-30 overall finish this season. Sophomore Aaron Halbach and eighth-grader Ben Martino are the other returnees.

Seventh-grader James Carmichael is the lone newcomer.

Coach Delaney said the boys are hoping to improve on last year’s team finish (fifth in the South), but will need help from James in order to post a team score.


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