Collaborative effort for girls’, boys’ ski teams leads to win


Annabella Ferraiuolo

Tearing up some snow as he nears the end of the slalom trail, sophomore Aiden Johnson skillfully weaves around the gates during the February 4 meet.

Amy Sullivan, Staff Writer

The girls’ and boys’ ski teams both placed first at Ski Ward league slalom race on Thursday, Feb. 4.  

Due to COVID-19, the MIAA modified the ski season by organizing teams into pods. Algonquin’s pod includes Hopkinton, Westborough, Medway and King Philip. Only 10 boys and 10 girls from each team can participate in each race, unless the opposing team has less than 10 players. Nonetheless, both teams have proved their resilience and strength, continuing on their impressive season. 

“I think the main [toll of coronavirus] is that the whole team can’t practice together, so it is hard for everyone to get to know each other,” junior captain Mina Utzschneider said. “I think we all learn from each other, so when you can’t see everyone skiing or you can’t get advice from everybody it might be a little difficult.”

The girls’ team had a solid race, scoring 974 points (cumulative scores of top 5 competitors), advancing their record to 4-0. Many girls’ skiers contributed to the win, as sophomore Alexa Butterfield placed fourth, the highest score of the team for that race. 

“Individually, I felt like I had a pretty good run,” Butterfield said. “After my first run, I noticed what I did wrong and I found places where I could improve, so during my second run I made those changes to the top half of the course, and I was able to cut a second off my time.”

Utzschneider placed seventh overall in the race, and she was happy and proud with the team’s cumulative performance. 

“Overall, the team did great,” Utzschneider said. “We were able to have five girls and four boys in the top ten, which is really amazing to see.”

This race was also the second slalom race for both boys and girls, where gates are closer together than their previous giant slalom races. 

“We have had a little bit of practice in slalom gates and kids getting used to the courses, so I think compared to other teams, we had a lot of kids out there who knew what they were doing and were ready to take on slalom,” Utzschneider said.

The conditions of the race were affected by the previous snowfall, which some competitors liked, but others did not.  Ruts were created on the course, causing unevenness and mounds of snow near the gates.

Along with the girls’ team, the boys’ team also performed very well, accumulating 968 points. The boys’ team placed first, first, second and first in their four races this season, respectively. 

Senior captain Samuel Martin felt happy with his personal performance. He thought the conditions were good because he felt they were able to pack down the snow from the snow storm without making it icy. However, their team was the fifth team to compete, which made some turns difficult. 

“I felt really good with my run, especially my second run,” Martin said. “I felt like I was able to improve over a couple specific gates that I messed up on on the first run.”

Along with his own runs, Martin was happy with the team’s overall performance. He felt his team was prepared for the slalom race due to their practices of the courses. 

“The team did really good,” Martin said. “There were a couple really difficult turns and gates that caused a lot of people to disqualify, but our team did really well with them and we got some really good times up.”

Sophomore Michael Desio placed fourth overall for the race. He had high expectations of himself going into the race, which he met. Desio also said this was one of the best races he had seen from the boys’ team this year. 

“I felt really excited [for the race] because this was our last slalom race of the year, so I wanted to do really well in the race,” Desio said. 

Desio does note the change in snow conditions that differed from the conditions of their other races. This affected the ski course, specifically near gates, but did not stop him from performing well. 

“After the snowstorm we got on Monday, the snow was a little bit rutty, so it got a little deep by the gates and it was a little sticky, but it was still manageable to ski on,” Desio said.

The boys’ and girls’ team both have one more race of the season, on Feb. 11. At the conclusion of this ski season, there will be no state competition as there usually is. The possibility of a pod championship or league championship is currently in question.