2011-12 Winter Preview: Strong senior class leads Woodbury alpine racing teamHead coach Kevin Seipel said a strong crop of seniors – and an international flair – has Woodbury’s alpine team positioned well to compete this year on the slopes.
By: Mike Longaecker, Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
Kevin Seipel said a strong crop of seniors – and an international flair – has Woodbury’s alpine team positioned well to compete this year on the slopes.
Seipel, coach of the Park-Woodbury-East Ridge (PWER) alpine ski team, will field a combined 12 seniors between Woodbury’s boys and girls teams.
He predicted the girls squad – with 10 racers on the varsity roster – will be a leader in Suburban East Conference competition.
Senior Sarah Niederhofer looks to be the team’s No. 1 racer, Seipel said.
“My goal would be to see her near the top,” he said, adding that Niederhofer suffered some setbacks last season. “This year she looks great in dryland (training). We’ll see if she can carry that through the season.”
Niederhofer assumes co-captain duties with fellow senior Brittany Roth.
The girls team also includes three German exchange students, Seipel noted.
“I think that’s going to be fun for the kids,” he said.
On the boys side, senior co-captains Matt Stefely and Davis Johnson look to lead the team that last year won the Welch Invitational Meet. Gone from this year’s roster is 2011 graduate Karl Lund, who competed individually last year at state.
Seipel said both Stefely and Johnson have looked exceptionally strong in dryland training – a sign he hopes will translates into fast times on the snow.
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.