Nordic prepares to build off strong season
by Andrew Graham, Talon Staff Writer
After their first state appearance last year, the Minnehaha Academy boys’ nordic ski team returns with many of the same people, yet missing several key members from last years state team. While the losses of Matt Ferris, Nate Brown and Jonathan Cripe will be felt, senior captains Cameron Ubel and Matt Penzenstadler feel that where they want to be is the same, back at state, and another shot at the title.
“I was working all this summer on skiing,” said Ubel, “and I know that’s true for at least some of the kids on the team. We are hoping to use that summer training to gain momentum for the season.”
“I did a ski camp basically this whole summer, and I roller skied after school,” added Penzenstadler. Both agreed that preparation will be key for them in reaching their goals for the year.
But what will make this year a success? Making it to state is the desired goal, but both agreed that the process itself, can be just as rewarding as the end result.
“If we don’t make it to state, yes, I’ll be disappointed,” Ubel admitted. “But certainly I’ll move on from that, and it will be a great experience anyway, what ever happens it will be a great experience.”
Team unity and strength are permeating elements for this boys’ team that is building on future success, but it also knows that it no matter what the result, they do it for the love and the passion they have for the sport, which drives them to be the best they can be, not what they should be.
“Our goal is to make it to state again, it’s going to be a bit more of a challenge this year, but I think we have a shot,” said junior Luke Brown.
It is a goal that with months of preparation, hard work and team unity, they all feel that they should be able to achieve.
The girls’ nordic ski team returns with a relatively new group, but with a goal to return to their place as conference champs, according to their coach Anne Rykken.
“We have a team this year that is different than what we have had in the past,” said senior captain Madeline Myers.
“I’m really looking forward to [the new team aspect],” said the other team captain Amelia Schurke, “I think it will just re-establish what we have as a team, kind of redefine us, because there are so many new people this year. Just kind of create a different dynamic.”
It is clear that although this team will have a lot of new faces competing on the varsity team, the expectations are still quite high.
The goal is still excellence, and by developing their skiers early, they attempt to build up their varsity program.
“We have a lot of new middle school skiers. Getting them young is very beneficial to our team,” said Coach Anne Rykken.
It is a philosophy that helps stabilize a program, and make it successful year after year.