FRAMINGHAM – Mother Nature caused havoc with the Framingham High alpine ski team last season, and she looks to possibly delay the start of the team’s long-awaiting season opener tonight, January 12.
A lack of snow and warm temperatures made the Flyers 2015-16 season rocky. This weekend’s snowstorm was a positive, but then temperatures jumped to 50 degrees yesterday, and could be just as high today.
The team’s first meet of the season is scheduled for tonight at 6:45 at Ski Ward in Shrewsbury.
“Weather can affect their motivation at times,” said head coach Roni Sue Bower. “It can be difficult getting ready to get their gear on and get on the slope, but once they are on the snow their passion for skiing shines through and they are all focused on how to learn the fastest way down a race course.”
But weather is a factor for the team, both for practice and for meets.
“It was amazing that on Monday night it was so cold, and Blue Hills was blowing snow, and it was absolutely freezing; and on Tuesday the temperatures were so warm that you can hear the snow melting down the hill,” said Bower. “Conditions were brutal Monday night with the freezing temperatures, snow guns blowing snow and treacherous course conditions. Tuesday night’s practice although raining half the practice was warm and was very productive, as we enjoyed great snow conditions and a night of drills to prepare us for our first race.”
The alpine ski team is a no-cut sport at Framingham High. This year, there are 9 girls and 9 boys on the team, with 16 competitive racers for the first meet.
Eleven of the skiers are returning from last season, said Bower, including her three captains Jared Brockway, Allison Fortin, and Lara Williams.
“Jared and Lara started,when the team began four years ago. They had never raced before,” said Bower.
“Jared is an aggressive racer, who has earned points for the team each year,” said Bower. “He is a three-sport athlete, that brings experience and leadership as an competitive athlete to the team. “
“Lara has become a competitive ski racer. She has improved tremendously as a skier and racer,” said Bower. “I am expecting her to move up in the standings each week. She shows the team that hard work and focus can pay off. “
This is Fortin’s second year on the team. “She came in with more skiing experience, and is very aggressive in the course earning points for the team last year; and I am expecting her to earn points again this year,” said Bower.
Last year, Jacklyn Keane suffered a knee injury, but is ready for the slopes tonight.
“She has worked her way back. She looks great at practice, as if she never had a break,” said Bower. “I am her expecting her to be highly competitive and earn a spot to the state meet in March.” Keane, a junior, competed at the state meet her freshman year.
Bower will also be looking for freshman Andrew Keane to earn points this season. “Andrew comes in with racing experience from the Prospect Hill Ski Team. He trains with intensity and I am expecting that he will be highly competitive as well. He has competed against some of the top racers in the league already, and gives them a run for their money,” said Bower.
“I expect Junior Michael Horblit will be making his mark by earning some significant points for the team this year,” added Bower.
Sophomore Ben Fortin and junior Ben Westervelt will contribute to the team as well, said the head coach.
“The team is very excited to have their first race. It is a long time to wait. We started just after Thanksgiving,” said Bower.
“They are going to have a good night. The newcomers will get a first hand view of a ski race, which is exhilarating especially when you cross the finish line,” added Bower.
Anyone not at the race can log into www.live-time.com click Ski Ward and get the times live as they cross the finish line.