2017-18 H.S. Alpine, Nordic Skiing Preview: Ready to go

Area high school ski teams hoping for successful seasons

Mayfield’s Madison Relyea skis during the girls nordic individual classic race at the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Nordic Skiing Championships at the North Creek Ski Bowl on Feb. 27. (Adirondack Daily Enterprise/Justin A. Levine)

Unlike in several recent seasons, the area’s alpine and nordic ski teams have what they need most this season — snow.

Mother Nature has helped the ski teams with her recent efforts, allowing the teams to get on the slopes and trails for training as they prepare for the 2017-18 ski season.

The nordic teams already have one meet under their belts, having competed Dec. 9 at the Johnsburg Invitational in North Creek.

Johnstown Alpine

After both the boys and girls teams placed sixth at last year’s Section II Championships, the Johnstown alpine ski team is looking to improve upon their finishes this season.

The Sir Bills lost Zack Szurek, who placed seventh in the giant slalom and 11th in the slalom at sectionals, from last year’s team.

Johnstown returns several skiers, including Tyler Kortz, Peter VanDenburgh, Taryn Ringer, Emily Fleming, Molly Lake, Ben Lake and Katie Romano.

VanDenburgh was 26th in the giant slalom at last year’s sectionals and Ben Lake was 38th.

Kortz was 31st in the slalom for the Sir Bills.

For the girls team, Molly Lake was Johnstown’s top finisher in the giant slalom at sectionals, placing 14th. Fleming was 18th and Romano was 49th.

In the slalom, Molly Lake was 10th, Fleming was 15th and Romano was 43rd.

Molly Lake also was named an alternate for the Section II state-meet team.

Newcomers Jacob Martelle, Paige Stewart, Molly Memrick and Ben Krempa round out the roster for Johnstown, while Petra Conyne will serve as the team’s manager.

“I have a great feeling about the upcoming 2017-18 ski season. We have a lot fantastic returning athletes along with a few new faces that will be great additions to the team,” said Johnstown coach Jeff Krempa, who is entering his 10th season. “On day 1 this year, this team just clicked. It’s a great group of student-athletes, we’re going to have a lot of fun skiing together.”

Johnstown Nordic

Johnstown returns plenty of experience heading into the new season as a total of nine skiers return from last season’s team.

At last year’s sectional meet, the Johnstown girls placed ninth, while the boys placed 11th.

Looking to improve those finishes will be a large group of returning skiers, including Zachary Ropeter, Gabe Cole, Lauryn Wilson, Dominic DiScioscia, Alfio DeMarco, Alayna Gray, Nicholas Haddock, Caleb Kobas and Sydney Swedick.

“This will be the fourth and final season for Gabe Cole, Zachary Ropeter, and Lauryn Wilson. Four years ago when Johnstown brought back their program, these seniors were the cornerstones of our rebuilding process,” Johnstown coach Julie Rogers said. “With their leadership and dedication to the program, the Johnstown nordic team has flourished.”

Gray placed 13th last season at sectionals to earn an alternate spot for the state meet, while Wilson placed 46th.

In the boys meet, Cole was Johnstown top finisher, placing 44th. Ropeter was 47th and DiScioscia was 60th.

Newcomers Tanner Fahr, Zachary Peterson, Madison Collins, Abby Crouse, Abbie Levin, Henry Bobbette, Abby Gottung, Carolyn Fitzpatrick, Sam Simon, Jenna Thompson, Ally Queeney rund out the varsity roster, while the modified team includes Molly Sweeney, Trey Naselli and Jayden Elston.

“We had a successful season last year and were very competitive. This year, our team has grown, filling the spots of last year’s seniors,” said Rogers, who will be assisted by Matt Brower. “This season, we are looking forward to carrying a larger team full of eager athletes.”

Mayfield Nordic

After enduring heavy losses to graduate, the Mayfield nordic ski team will look to regroup this season.

Gone from the boys team are Josh Febbie, Connor Akowicz and Jackson Dunn, while the girls team lost Emily Barker, Molly Lambo and Juleh Nikollaj.

Febbie earned a state-meet alternate spot after placing 13th at sectionals last year. Ackowicz was 27th and Dunn was 37th.

For the girls, Molly Lambo was 32nd at sectionals last year, Barker was 33rd and Nikollaj was 35th.

“Many talented seniors graduated last season but this year’s team is a great mix of experienced skiers and promising new recruits,” said Mayfield coach Ryan Bornt, who is entering his 11th season. “We look forward to a fun and competitive season racing against our Section II rivals.”

Though the Panthers lost plenty from last year’s team, they do return freshman Madison Relyea, who qualified for the state meet by placing fourth at sectionals.

At the state meet, Relyea registered a 23rd-place finish.

Also returning for the Mayfield girls team will be senior Emily Frasier and junior Maggy Lambo.

Maggy Lambo placed 15th at sectionals last season, while Frasier was 59th.

Returning for the Mayfield boys team are seniors Tyler Newkirk, Nate VanHorn and Riley Mykel, as well as juniors Luka Nikollaj, Adam Liebers and Dylan Bumpus.

Nikollaj was 26th at sectionals last year, Bumpus was 31st and Mykel was 32nd.

Sophomore Kira Williams is the lone newcomer for the Mayfield girls.

Canajoharie Nordic

At last year’s sectional meet, the Canajohaie boys placed 12th and the girls finished 10th.

The Cougars lost Austin Countryman and Jenna Shepard to graduation.

Countryman was 67th at sectionals last year, while Sheperd was 60th.

Returning for Canajoharie are Louis Hand and Maddy Elliot. Hand posted a 62nd-place finish at sectionals, while Elliot was 47th.

Newcomer Kyle Oertel is expected to be a key contributor for the Cougars this season.

“We have only two key returners with race experience, but we are looking to finally get the weather to cooperate this season to enable our newcomers to get some experience,” Canajoharie coach Brent Watterson said.