SKIING PREVIEW: Queensbury again has Nordic teams to beat

The Section II high school ski season will get under way on Tuesday, Dec. 22, with a cross country m
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The Section II high school ski season will get under way on Tuesday, Dec. 22, with a cross country meet at the Garnet Hill Cross Country Ski Center in North River.

The invitational, sponsored by Johnsburg High School, will start at 3:30 p.m.

Queensbury, with a team full of returning skiers from last season’s state championship squads, will be a heavy favorite in both the boys’ and girls’ races.

Last season, the Spartan boys and girls came away with all the Nordic marbles, going undefeated in Section II competition (including the sectionals) and winning team titles (individual and relay combined) at the New York state skiing championshps.

In boys’ Nordic, Scotia-Glenville was second to Queensbury in all 2009 invitationals, but dropped to third in the sectionals. Lake George was third all season, but skied past Scotia-Glenville to take second at sectionals. Johnsburg and Guilderland swapped seconds and thirds in invitationals, with Johnsburg having the edge.

Johnsburg’s girls were closest to Queensbury for most of the regular season, scoring four seconds and a third in invitationals. Shenendehowa had the next-best record, with one second- and five third-place finishes in invitationals.

Scotia-Glenville was fourth and fifth for most of the season, but moved up to second at sectionals.

Here’s a look at some of the top teams and individuals.

BOYS

Graduation cost Queensbury two of the premier skiers in the state — Kevin Sprague and Pat Carroll — but a number of quality skiers from last year’s squad are back.

Spartan junior Will Frielinghaus had a solid 2009 season with seven top-10 finishes, including a win, a third, two fourths and a fifth. He also placed fourth in the sectionals and fourth in the state championships.

Sophomore Nick Underwood had four invitational top-10s and an eighth in the secionals. He placed 17th in the state meet.

Queensbury junior Aaron Newell skied into ninth place in the Section II championships after scoring two top-10s during the regular season, and sophomore Mike Mulshine had one top-10 as a freshman.

Lake George has two of the most consistent skiers in the section returning in senior Steven Pet­ramale and junior Willie Underwood.

Petramale had two seconds and a third in invitational races, while placing second in the sectionals and third in the the state champ­ionships. Underwood had a second, a third and a string of fifths during the regular season. He skied third in the sectionals and seventh in the state meet. Like most of the standouts from Queensbury, Petramale and Underwood had outstanding fall seasons as runners in cross country.

Just to keep all of the Underwoods straight, Willie is the son of Lake George coach Heidi Underwood and Queensbury coach Bob Underwood. Queensbury skier Nick Underwood is Bob Underwood’s nephew.

Scotia-Glenville lost standout skier and team leader Dan Stevens through graduation. Junior Avery Francois had one top-10 race last season, and expects to be in the mix for the Tartans on a regular basis this time around. So do his classmates — Alex Gilgore, Ben Kraines and Tom Zabin. Coach Dirk Francois said freshmen Jeremy Therrien and Jake Trainor also show promise.

“The boys would like to move up to second place, and knock on Queensbury’s door,” Francois said.

Mayfield will be without 2009 graduate Josh Norman. With him gone, coach Ryan Bornt expects sophomore David Krutz and freshman Tom McClellan to be his top varsity contenders. Also returning are Shaun Bridge, a senior, and Josh Himpsl, a junior. Bornt said Mayfield, once a Nordic powerhouse, is rebuilding. Of his team of 20 boys and girls, 11 are new skiers.

Junior Brett Schlesier will be Johnstown’s leading skier. Last season, Schlesier finished 12th in the Section II championships and skied for the section in the state meet. Coach Michael McHenry said senior Bryan Schlesier; juniors Jared Brower, Mertcan Dogan, Andy Licciardi and Connor Smullens; and sophomore Brian Vair have shown significant offseason development.

“We expect to be competitive,” McHenry said.

Saratoga ninth-grader Brian Halligan had one top-10 as an eighth-grader, and that was during the team’s first meet. Coach Eric Trombley expects returnees Seth Mares, a freshman, and Schuyler Lockwood, a sophomore, to also move up.

Johnsburg has a very young team. Coach Tim Leach expects sophomores Alec McKee, Matt Hayden and Martin Fahy to be his top three skiers.

“They all had some top-15 finishes last season, and I expect they can move up,” Leach said.

At Guilderland, coach Barb Newton pegs senior Bryan Dyer and juniors Andrew Klug and Chris Whalen as her top skiers. Klug was the best of the trio last season, with two top-10 invitationals and a 15th-place finish at sectionals. The Dutchmen will have a squad of 62 boys and girls on the trails, with 37 skiers new to the team.

Skiers from other schools shooting for the top-10 list include senior Ben Davis of Glens Falls, seniors Tayler Macci, Max Prime and Josh Crouse of Canajoharie and freshman Austin Huneck of Shenendehowa.

GIRLS

Queensbury lost top-10 state-meet skiers Chelsea O’Reilly and Juliann LaJoie through graduation, but the state’s No. 1 skier, Carly Wynn, is back as a junior. Last season, Wynn was undefeated in scholastic meets, including the Section II championsips and the New York state championships.

Junior Danielle Winslow was never far behind Wynn, finishing the regular season with one vic­tory (Wynn missed one meet), four seconds and two thirds. Danielle’s twin sister, Brittany, had three top-10 invitationals, and placed eighth in the sectionals.

Senior Morgan Mueller had just two top-10 invitational races (10th in both), but she was 11th in the state meet after placing 10th in the sectionals.

Coach Bob Underwood said 10th- grader Abby Hellman should be a factor for the Spartans.

Lake George freshman Emily Underwood made her presence known as an eighth-grader, finishing the season with five top-10 invitational races and placing 11th in the sectionals and 19th in the state meet.

Scotia-Glenville will be without 2009 standout Ariel Orlando, who graduated in June.

“Our top girls will be junior Katie Zeppetelli and sophomores Ashley Forshey and Erika Rodbell,” Francois said.

Two freshmen, Emily Houlihan and Becca Kraines, should also help pace the Tartans.

“Our girls would like to to hang on to second place this year, after placing second last year at the sectionals,” Francois said.

Guilderland’s top two skiers will be senior Casey Gerety and soph­omore Marissa Buyck. Last season, Gerety placed 15th in the Section II championships.

Mayfield Junior Evitza Nikollaj was a top-15 Section II skier as a sophomore, and finished 19th in the sectionals. Returning skiers joining her in competition will be junior Nikki Quant, sophomore Jessica Glode and freshman Lidija Nikollaj.

At Johnstown, McHenry said, “We’re lucky to have a team of athletic and focused girls.” The Sir Bills will be led by junior Abigail Heroth, who will be building on a strong finish from last season. Other Johnstown returnees are juniors Alyssa Brand, Elizabeth Havlicek and Courtney Javarone, and sophomores Ashley English and Taylor Simek.

Saratoga Springs has two promising returnees in juniors Chloe Boutelle and Mary Arnold. Junior Danielle Marino is new to the team, but she is an experienced cross country runner.

Johnsburg’s Nordic girls will be led by seniors Holly Osowiecki and Emily Burns, who were top-10 throughout the regular season and in the sectionals. Joining them will be Addie Bruce, a senior who spent her junior year out of the district. In 2008, Bruce finished eighth in the sectionals and 24th in the state meet.

Shenendehowa will be without 2009 graduate Kati Christoffel, who skied into fourth place in the state championship meet. The top two Plainsmen this season will be her sister, junior Rebecca Christoffel, and senior Sarah Bassett.

Glens Falls 11th-grader Kate Mulcahy had three top-10 races in 2009, and placed 14th in the sectionals.

“She’s in good shape and very motivated this season,” coach Bill Parks said. He added that Maddy Sawyer, also a junior, will be another solid skier for the team.

Other returnees include junior Jenny Trahan and sophomore Cora Soodsma of Canajoharie and senior Alicia Yosco of North Warren.

Categories: High School Sports

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