By Lila Moore, Staff Writer
With the slow but sure arrival of spring at the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF), the boys and girls club ski team’s season comes to an end as they nearly made it to the National competition.
Overall, the team came in seventh at this season’s Regional’s, just missing the cut to go to Nationals, which are being held in Idaho this year. (The first five teams get to compete in Nationals). Although this is a disappointing end to the season, the members of the team were overall happy with their performance.
“We had a great year, up until Regional’s. A really good regular season. I saw so many improvements from all of the athletes,” said Alex Rose, a sophomore and Environmental Science major.
Rose was the only skier from UMF to make it on to the podium at Regional’s, finishing third overall in the event. Due to heavy snow on the course, only one run was completed, instead of the usual two.
Josh Cooley, a senior at UMF and team captain, was second among the UMF team to finish, and 22nd overall. This was Cooley’s last season on the team, and is now a retired skier. “Everyone looked up to the leadership of Josh [Cooley], and he will be missed,” said Geoff Ballou, a junior and Political Science major.
“This year’s team was very young, a lot of freshman and sophomores, so we have a lot of good talent… already lined up for next season. We don’t want to replace Cooley, but we will need to find someone capable of filling his spot,” said Lindsey Jacques, a freshman and Undeclared major.
The team had to deal with many losses of members throughout the season, due to injuries such as concussion’s, torn ACL’s and frost bite. “Skiing takes a lot more dedication than most sports. Practices last almost all day, and with the conditions, it really takes a toll on your body,” said Jacques. Jacques was one of the four girls on the team, and one of the two who had to leave because of injuries.
Because only two girls where left, they weren’t able to compete as a team at Regional’s. (Girls and guys compete separately as two different teams but represent the same school). To make a team, you have to have three standing athletes, which make a scoring team. Scoring depends on what team comes in what place, and then the times of the top three skiers are added together.
With the help of their coach, Harry Ricker, who has been coaching the UMF ski team since 2005, the team plans on working hard to make next season even more successful by training harder in the off season, working on the team’s overall times and “just plain skiing faster,” said Ballou.
If readers are interested in joining the team, or learning more, please contact Coach Harry Ricker or call the UMF athletic department at (207) 778-7147.