Updated 2/15: WHS Alpine Ski Team Racing to the Finish
Updated February 15, 10 am to reflect results from Feb 14 Race
Updated February 14, 8:45 am to reflect corrections to the Owl’s original story.
Okay…..so lots to discuss here, Weston. Did you know that Weston High School has an Alpine Ski Team? And did you know they race in blue rather than the school colors of maroon and black? And did you know that winter has been a bit challenging this year for Massachusetts skiers? And do you know how many questions I can ask before you get annoyed? Oops, passed that number.
Weston’s Alpine Ski Team is racing into its final weeks of competition. The Boys’ team record (4-1-1) was good for second place after regular season with the final taking place on the afternoon of February 14 against Winchester.
The Girls record is (5-2) also puts them in second place after regular season–last week’s race resulted in a loss however and they are now be racing for third/fourth place race today, also against Winchester.
The top ranked 16 girls and 14 boys from the Omega League advanced to states after their performances on Tuesday, February 14. Petar Stojanovic, Henrik Stjernfeldt, Olivia Weeple, Jackie Stjernfeldt, Britte Van Zadelhoff and Jackie Burns all qualified for the state championships. Zack Gumbert is the 2nd alternate.
All of the above finished in the top 16 for the season standings and are Omega League All Stars. Last year Weston sent 3 girls and 1 boy to the state championship. Having 4 girls and 2 boys plus an alternate attend this year is an amazing way to finish.
The Owl caught up with Head Coach Cary Gumbert for a quick explanation of Giant Slalom vs Slalom, as well as his thoughts on the season.
“Our normal season is to have 3 Giant Slalom (GS) races with wider turns where you ski around gates with panels and 3 Slalom (SL) races with very tight turns where the more experienced racers hit the gates with their shins and poles which is faster than going around them because it creates a straighter line.”
“The snow conditions have been very challenging this year with only one day each for Giant Slalom and Slalom training given the limited snow depth on the hill. For many of our new team members, the first race was the first time they have ever skied in gates. We had 2 Grand Slalom races before we could actually train using gates. But that allowed us to reschedule all of the earlier races that were postponed and we hope to finish the season strong this week.”
Coach Gumbert continued: “I’m very proud of both the boys and girls teams for finishing the regular season in second place and having an unusually high number of racers in the running to qualify for the State Championships.”
In addition to Coach Gumbert, there are four assistant coaches: Carl Stjernfeldt, Bill Connolly, Melissa Burnett, and Chris Jylkka. The team has four co-captains: Henrik Stjernfeldt ’23, Zach Gumbert ’24, Jackie Stjernfeldt ’24 and Jackie Burns ’24.
There are 8 seniors on the team: Lila Jylkka, Olivia Weeple, Sean Balbale, Mark Driscoll, Erik Lambert, Davis Palmer, Henrik Stjernfeldt and Petar Stojanovic.
Weston Athletic Director Mike McGrath added his thoughts on the ski program: “Alpine Ski has really taken off here in Weston since we added it as a winter sport almost 10 years ago. I have been fortunate to see some of the very best skiers in the state represent Weston over the years”
He continued: “Our teams are always in the mix when it comes to league and state titles. With Alpine, and the last four years with Nordic, we are able to offer our student-athletes who are really into outdoor winter sports great options to represent their school and town.”
And now, since you’re all dying to know why Weston is wearing blue rather than Wildcat maroon, here’s the story for you patient people:
According to Coach Gumbert:
“The long-time coach from Weston CT HS (the Trojans, in case that is important) ran into Mark McCaughey, the former Weston MA HS head ski coach (who recruited me), earlier this year at a UCONN event where his daughter and former captain is attending college. The two coaches hit it off.”
“When the CT athletic Boosters purchased new team speed suits this year and padding to protect against bruises when hitting gates, their coach thought of us and asked me if we would be interested in their old suits. Our team did not have a team speed suit and several on the team do not own one, so I said absolutely and drove down and picked up approximately 50 suits in very good condition.”
“The CT coach had lovingly maintained them every summer by washing and having all the rips and tears professionally repaired over the years. I hope we can get several more years of use out of them before we need to purchase new ones (they cost about $400+ each to have custom Weston graphics added). It was an extremely generous gift to our school which I hope we find a way to repay someday. We are already talking about potential opportunity to get together next season.”
Oh those Nutmeg-staters, it just warms my heart. Let’s meet at Mohawk Mountain for a friendly ski. I’ll be in the hot chocolate hut, by the way, all this talk of hitting things with my shins makes me a bit wobbly.
Good luck at states, Alpiners! Go ‘cats (and Trojans)!
Thank you for writing such a nice article a about the team. One quick clarification: The league website lists the current standings after 5 races but none of the racers have actually qualified for states yet. That will be determined after tonight’s results and are based on each racer’s best 4 of 6 finishes. The top ranked 16 girls and 14 boys from our league will advance to states. Captains Jackie Burns and Zack Gumbert are also in the running but are on the bubble. Stay tuned for the final results tonight!
Fantastic. Thank you for the clarification and I will update the story to reflect those corrections. Go cats!!