2011-12 Winter Preview: East Ridge alpine skiers hope for more success this winterYoung talent and a returning state competitor punctuate an East Ridge alpine team looking to make more gains on the slalom course.
By: Mike Longaecker, Editor, South Washington County Bulletin
Young talent and a returning state competitor punctuate an East Ridge alpine team looking to make more gains on the slalom course.
Park-Woodbury-East Ridge (PWER) alpine skiing coach Kevin Seipel said he expects to see big things, especially on the girls side, after a dazzling performance in last year’s Section 3AA meet.
The section win represented the first time in 25 years a PWER team had taken down Stillwater, Seipel noted. The East Ridge girls finished seventh at state last year.
This year marks the return of junior Elizabeth Koprucki, who advanced individually last year to state, where she finished sixth.
“She’s phenomenal,” Seipel said. “I’m hoping that she skis as well or better than last year.”
Senior Jessie Lepel and junior Morgan Maxwell are the team’s captains.
The girls team includes nine racers between grades 6 and 8 – some of whom Seipel said will compete for top spots on the team.
“We’ve always got really good seventh- and eighth-graders,” he said.
The boys side also has seen growth among its middle-school competitors, including seventh-grader Jack Midtilien, who Seipel said “looks real good” in dryland training.
“The team is just growing,” he said.
The boys will be captained by lone senior Colton Simon and Drew Del Toro, one of three juniors on the boys team.
Seipel said he expects hearty competition – especially between racers from the middle-school to sophomore ranks – for the team’s second through fourth positions.
The PWER teams will compete in five conference meets comprising 10 teams.
Seipel said he expects Stillwater, Hastings and Forest Lake will be threats on both the girls and boys side in conference. He said Visitation and St. Thomas Academy should be the teams to beat at the Section 3AA meet.
PWER will also compete this season in non-conference meets against Hill-Murray and Mankato-area school, Seipel noted.
Seipel said interest in alpine is once again building after flagging in recent years. He credited recent successes among PWER skiers at sections and state for the momentum.
“That shows that what we’re doing is working,” he said.