Milton’s Ski Team Emerges Victorious from NEPSACs
by The Milton Measure on Friday, February 24th, 2017
On Wednesday, February 15th, 2017, Milton’s Boys’ and Girls’ Varsity Ski Teams headed to Vermont’s Okemo Mountain to compete in the Class B NEPSAC Alpine Skiing Championship. In a performance for the ages, both the Boys’ and Girls’ teams emerged victorious. The last time a Milton team won NEPSACs was 2002, when both teams swept the championships.
The teams competed in the Slalom and Giant Slalom (GS) events. The team score for each event is the sum of the places of the three best skiers from each team, and the final team score is the sum of the team scores for Slalom and GS. The team with the lowest overall score wins. The Girls’ Varsity team finished with an impressive 18 points in both Slalom and GS and a total of 36 points overall, outpacing the Taft School, who placed second with 51 points. Last year, the Milton Girls also scored a total of 36 points, but still finished in second behind Taft, making this year’s first place triumph especially sweet.
The last time the Milton Boys team finished in the Top 5 was in 2009, earning 4th place. However, led by Matt Ryan (IV) and Beck Kendig (IV), the boys finished with 28 points in Slalom and 30 points in GS this year. Their team total of 58 points is a huge improvement from last year’s total score of 189 points. Captain of the Boys’ team, Chris Matthews (I) said, “I think a change in mindset definitely lent itself to our performance at NEPSACs.”
Girls’ team captain Emily Bell (I) praised the depth on both the Boys’ and Girls’ teams that was crucial to the victory. “The talent runs really far down our roster,” she said. All five of the skiers scoring points on the Girls’ team finished in the top 15, including Lydia Hill (I), Katarina Stephan (III), Sophie Kylander (II) and Shayla Kelley (III). Hill finished in first for Slalom and second for GS, Stephan finished in second in Slalom and fifth in GS, Kylander finished in 15th for Slalom, and Kelley finished in 11th for GS. The Boys’ team accomplished a similar feat, with all four of their scorers finishing in the top 20. Matt Ryan (IV) finished in second for both Slalom and GS, Beck Kendig (IV) finished 8th in both Slalom and GS, Ben Pratt (III) finished 18th in Slalom, and Chuck Leonetti (III) finished 20th in GS.
Milton also benefited from young talent, as 3 out of the 4 Milton skiers who placed in the Top 10 in both Slalom and Giant Slalom were underclassmen: Katarina Stephan (III), Matt Ryan (IV), and Beck Kendig (IV). “The influx of young skiing talent [Milton] got this year had a huge impact,” said Mathews.
Both Emily Bell (I) and Chris Matthews (I) said that the spirit of the Boys’ and Girls’ teams and their support for each other helped the teams perform. “We’re a really tight team…and that was something that manifested itself this season,” said Mathews. Everyone “watches each other’s races and [we] are all rooting for each other, so it’s a really nice support system…Winning both was so exciting, and we all got to celebrate together,” noted Bell. With that much team spirit, it is fitting for both teams to win for the first time in fifteen years and share in the celebration together.
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