This season was full of great performances, stunning upsets and all round great skiing. KZM wants to take a moment to recognize those who stood above the rest with our first annual “KZM Awards” Most improved (who had the biggest positive swing in performance towards the end of the season), One-to-Watch (underclassman that has lots of potential), Skier of the year (pretty obvious, the skier who kicked butt all year)
Most improved Female: Zofia Stefankovic (Brighton)
At the beginning of the season, Brighton’s Stefankovic didn’t even appear in a varsity race. It wasn’t until race three that Zofia finally appeared on the results with a modest 14th place and an 82 speed rating. However, throughout the season Stefankovic continually improved and eventually placed 6th at section V sectionals (a really tough section) with a 93 speed rating. But her improvement doesn’t end there; saving her best results for the end of the season, Zofia placed 16th at states with a 94 speed rating and capped off her season with an impressive showing at Eastern High School Championships in Rumford Maine. In the distance skate race Zofia was the 4th New Yorker and posted a season high speed rating of 98!! This trajectory earned Zofia Stefankovic KZM’s Most Improved Female athlete of the year award!
Most Improved Male: Alex Fragomeni (Saratoga Springs)
Disappointed by missing out on the state Championships in the 2016-2017 season, Alex “Frago” Fragomeni took the disappointment as inspiration to improve. Rumor has it Frago put in an so much work over the off season, even Noah Hoffman looked to Frago for inspiration. Many wondered if his 8 hour- 100K OD rollerski would yield the return Frago insisted it would. Well, Frago’s hard work paid off with continued growth throughout the season. Starting off the season with a 83 Speed Rating, Frago pushed through to not only qualify for states, but JNs as well. Frago’s training this summer gave him the endurance to preform even better at the end of the season than at the beginning; posting a season high 92 Speed Rating at the EHSC Sprint race, Earning Alex Fragomeni KZM’s Most Improved Male Athlete of the year award!
Female One to Watch: Katrin Schreiner (Hadley)
Katrin Schreiner’s results speak for themselves. The 8th grader posted some pretty impressive times and held her own in one of the state’s most competitive sections. Despite her age, Katrin was conistantly in the top 7 in Section II, placing 5th at sectionals and even placing 8th at state championships (the highest 8th grade finisher). Katrin even qualified for JN’s, U16s and EHSC. Due to dumb rules/regulations, she was not able to compete at any of these events, leave Schreiner hungry for more racing. Look out for Schreiner in the future; her natural talent and love of competition makes her KZM’s Female One-to-Watch!
Male One to watch: Teddy Warfle (HFL)
Not to be overshadowed by big brother Andrew, Teddy was determined to make a name for himself in the NY ski racing circuit. The sophomore not only consistently provided to the HFL upperclassmen dominance of section V, but stepped up huge when needed. As a member of the HFL-B team at sectionals, the sophomore showed the section whose boss and had the fastest split of the day! Teddy followed up his great results at sectionals with a 4th place in the distance skate posting a season high 95 speed rating! Ted Finished out the season placing 5th overall against an extremely competitive field at the U16 championships; making Teddy Warfle KZM’s Male One-to-Watch!
Male Skier of the Year: Scott Schulz (Lake Placid)
There is no surprise here, after dominating NY skiing in 2016-2017, Scott Schulz returned to finish out his high school career in an even more impressive fashion. We didn’t see much of Scott during the meat of the season because he was so good he qualified to race overseas (where he continued to dominate). But When Scott was around, he never ceased to amaze: easily winning State Championships by 1:40.
While mostly known for his skate sprinting ability, arguably the most impressive performance by Scott this season was ignoring all the hype around the “Klaebo run” and effortlessly striding up the A-Climb at Gore and posting the fastest split, 19 seconds ahead of the competition.
Scott finished off the season with great performances at JNs and an intense fight to the line with nation champion Ben Ogden of Vermont at EHSC. KZM is excited to see what the senior’s future has in store. But one thing is for sure, Scott Schulz is KZM’s 2017-2018 skier of the year!
Female Skier of the Year: Grace Mattern (Brighton)
In the lead up to the season, KZM knew Section V was going to be the section to beat in terms of girls skiing in NY. We predicted intense battles and many changes at the front of the pack. Little did we know, Brighton’s freshman was going to emerge victorious.
Mattern consistently stood atop the podium when it counted; winning Section V distance sectionals by 50 seconds and posting the fastest split in the section relay. She duplicated that effort a week later against the whole state at Gore claiming both the distance championship and the top spot in the relay.
The thing that stands out to KZM about Grace however is her demeanor. After winning the skate race at U16’s, Grace was destined to be NY’s first ever NENSA U16 Champion. However, after suffering a disappointing 20th place in the classic race due to poor wax selection by the team wax techs, Grace was overheard explaining to a teammate “Hey, That’s Nordic ski racing.” Ultimately, Grace finished 5rd overall and Inspired KZM to name her Female Athlete of the Year!
Most obsessed with their Speed Rating: Jeff Hodgson (Sutherland)
KZM has to give one more shout-out to a young man who has become obsessed with our speed ratings. Jeff Hodgson’s fascination with the ranking system has exceeded intrigue; resulting in reaching out to KZM asking if he can purchase a better rating and even asking if doing tricks during races will result in better ratings.
Jeff is so enamored by speed ratings, he’s even posted the link to his speed rating in his Instagram bio for the world to see.
When KZM had the idea for speed ratings we had no idea anyone would love the ratings as much as Jeff, but because of people like Jeff, we find satisfaction in our work.