Welp, the season is over. While there is still some snow here and there, and the temperature has yet to reach that mid-February peak (70 degrees mid-February… what was that?) KZM has finally come to terms with the end of the season. We are moving past the denial stage of our skiing grief and accept that its spring. We’ve been taking our sweet-a$$ time writing up the end of season review in hopes of hanging on to what was such a great 2017-2018 season. Unfortunately, the season is over for good, so let’s recap the end of the season, hand out some awards and reflect on what a great season it was.
The whole season was building up to the end of season throw-down when all the best skiers in the state would finally go head to head to establish dominance over the rest and go down in NY Skiing glory. Like the season prior, NYSPHSAA threw the athletes for a loop by moving the race to North Creek Ski Bowl last second.
Compared to the top of Bristol Mtn, Gore is like Mt. Everest. Way more climbing and much more technical. The bookies thought for sure this would be detrimental to the Section 5 contingent who have been used to racing on that Mario-Kart loop all season. (And yes, KZM can confirm section 5 trains for the Bristol loop by playing copious amounts of Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch.)
However, this change of venue did not phase the mighty section. Possibly feeling jipped by KZM’s States predictions, the HFL boys team raced with a chip on their shoulder and showed no mercy. Placing three in the top five (four in the top ten, we see you Ian) and taking a decent lead over home course favorites Queensbury and defending state champs Lake Placid. Even with distance champion Scott Schulz, KZM’s predicted champion Lake Placid faced quite the deficit.
On the girl’s side, Section V hit the state with the 1-2 punch of Brighton’s Grace Mattern taking the victory over section rival Natalie Northrup from HFL. However, neither of these two were technically representing a team, and the door was open for Queensbury High School to take the lead after day one.
Time has shown that Team State Championships almost always comes down to the relay. And this year was no exception. After struggling with disappointing results on day one, the Queensbury boys took it out hard and made the rest of the state play catch up. State Runner-up Brian Beyerbach and teammate Dan Manzella opened up a major gap on the field in hopes of giving their third leg, Bryce Beyerbach a monster lead to play with. Despite Bryce’s best efforts, he was no match for State Champion Scotty Schulz who closed the 45 second deficit. In the end, Lake Placid was able to win the race and the Team Championship with their win over Section II A and HFL.
Much like the boys, the Queensbury Girls attempted the same top heavy approach. Emily Atamanchuck and Bailey Gengle powered through to open a decent sized gap on the field for anchor Maggie Borgos. Chasing Maggie was number two in the state rankings; Mendon Skier Anna Schriefer. Even with the second fastest split of the day, Schriefer was unable to reel in Borgos and Queensbury captured their second state championship in four years.
Through all the commotion, Grace Mattern walked away with the fastest split, and the girl’s individual championship.
All Speed Ratings/ Results from State Championships are posted
At the end of each season, the School to school, Section to section rivalries are dropped and NY skiers come together to compete against the best from around the region. The championship season was kicked off with the U16 Championships at the North Creek Ski Bowl in North Creek, NY. While participation from NY was slim, the quality of skiers representing our great state was high.
This was the first time NY had ever hosted the championships, and took full advantage of the home field advantage. Right off the bat, Grace Mattern showed everyone how it was done and set the fastest time in the women’s distance skate race. Inspired by her performance, Teddy Warfle raced his way to a 5th place performance. Also in the top-10 on day one were Zofia Stefankovic and Paul Lindsay.
Day two was not so impressive by the NY squad. Admittedly, the NY coaching staff struggled to find the perfect wax and the racers suffered for it. As every skier in NY knows, you need kick to get up those climbs at Gore. And the poor NY U16 girls confirmed that.
With some last second scrambling, and chaotic running around, the coaches were able to salvage the boy’s races enough for another top-10 for Teddy Warfle.
That afternoon, racers participated in the first ever “Nordic Skier Cross” competition. Basically, the event is a large agility/obstacle/ sprint course that demands the most out of each athelete. Reactions to the new event were good and many athletes hope to participate in this format more often.
All-in-all, the “Little NY U16 Team That Could” made a huge impact at the championships. With multiple top-10 finishes, and both Grace Mattern and Teddy Warfle placing fifth overall, the future of NY skiing is looking bright.
Unfortunalty participation from NY was not big enough to calculate girl’s speed ratings for U16’s. But head over to the results tab to see SR’s for the guys.
Unfortunately KZM doesn’t have the budget to send a crew out to JNs. All reports indicate the trip was a blast, there was some great racing, and something about stealing team Alaska’s snow balls.
Hmmm… I guess we had to be there.
Again, the field size for NY participants was too small to calculate speed ratings.
Eastern High School Championships
The final Championships of the season took place at Black Mountain in Rumford, Maine. This trip had special significance as the NY team that made the trek was the largest team from NY to ever participate at Easterns. With a full boys’ team of twenty four and half a girls’ team, NY took a giant step towards a major goal of NY coaches: brining a full team to Easterns.
And the participation numbers weren’t the only positive that came out of easterns. There were some great results. Including Scott Schulz placing 2nd overall. The biggest take away from the trip, from a big picture point of view, is how NY stacked up against the other states. In the past, we’d never get an accurate representation of how NY does as a state against our New England rivals. This is because at Easterns, every skier is accounted for, and every skier earns points for the team. Since NY has never brought a full team, it’s been impossible to accurately determine how we stand.
BUT NOT THIS YEAR! By bringing a full boys team, NY brought the maximum amount of scorers a state could bring; and the results were good for NY! After 3 days of racing, the NY boys’ team places 3rd overall! This is huge for NY skiing and brings validation to all the hard work athletes from around the state are putting in.
Unfortunately for the girls, only competing with 15 athletes is practically impossible to compete with full teams of 24. However, if the boys’ team showed us anything, it’s that the future of NY skiing is looking bright.
Head over to the Results tab to see full EHSC results and Speed Ratings.
KZM hopes you enjoyed this walk through memory lane. (memories from last month) head on over to the KZM Awards article to see who earned KZM’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year, among other awards.