Temperatures have finally dropped below freezing and fresh snow now covers the surface of the ski slopes. The Howell varsity ski team is looking to be better than ever this season.
For the girls, senior Erika Vichcales and junior Nikki Kutsch will use their state championship experience to lead the team in the right direction. Vichcales will be the fastest returner if she has recovered well from her knee injury.
“My goal is to stay competitive after my injury. If all goes well, hopefully I will be able to qualify for states,” Vichcales said.
Niki Kutsch should be challenged by her twin sister Karli. Sophomore Kayla Finch is young but has a great amount of racing background and should move close to the front. Darian Meininger is the other senior who has developed into a solid skier. Not only is the team shaping up to be very competitive against their opposition this year but they also are going to be battling against themselves as well.
“I’m expecting as a team that we will push each other and continue to improve throughout the course of the season,” Vichcales said.
Coach Gorton has been very pleased with what he has seen and expects big things from them going forward. “All six of the returning girls have really worked on their skiing and should be a factor for the league championship.”
On the boy’s side, they will strive to improve by moving up in their league standings. “Our main goal every year is to improve over the last year. Our boys team was very young the last couple of years and they worked on gaining experience. This should be a good year for the boys,” Mr. Gorton said.
Nick Borchardt has been their fastest skier, but the team has really grown this year so there may be some unknown talent. All of the boys have updated their equipment in order to
be more competitive. With 11 members on the boy’s team, it will be a true dogfight for one of the six spots available at each race.
The most important meet of the year for both teams is regionals. It will be held at Alpine Valley ski area on February 16 and is where the team and individuals can qualify for the state meet. Some of the other important meets are the league meet at Mt. Brighton on February 9, the KLAA championship at Mt. Brighton on February 13, and the state finals for qualifiers at Nubs Nob on February 27.