Jan. 6, 2009
AMHERST, Mass. -
UMass Skiing will begin its pursuit of a second straight USCSA National title this weekend when they travel to Sunapee, N.H. to compete in the Colby-Sawyer College Carnival at Mt. Sunapee. Both the men and the women will compete in the Giant Slalom on Friday before the Slalom event on Saturday. Last year, both squads placed third at the Carnival.
"We are looking to this weekend with great anticipation, but you never know how you'll do until you ski against them face to face," said Head Coach Skip Fox. "We are positive in our attitude and looking forward to the challenge."
The Men will be looking to their captains for solid performances this weekend in Andrew Hawes and Alex Zahoruiko.
Below is the season preview with Coach Fox.
Can you talk about the 2008 season and about winning the USCSA National Title?
It was an interesting season in that we didn't win a Carnival until the Regionals in Waterville Valley in late February. But when we were at the Regionals we won both the Slalom and the Giant Slalom. The main difference between the regular season and those races was that our fast guys didn't fall. You have to finish the race for it to count in this league.
What is your outlook for the 2009 season and do you think the Men are capable of repeating?
Can you talk about losing somebody like Jason Small and how are you planning to replace him?
Is it possible? Yes, I do think that we can repeat. We lost our fastest guy in Jason Small, but I think that if Andrew Hawes steps it up this season and we are able to put three people in the Top-10, which is what we did last year at the Regionals and at the Nationals, then I think that we have a good shot.
We can either replace Jason one of two ways. The first is that one of the current members steps up skis really fast. The second option is that we ski as a team and collectively, together, we replace him by getting the points as a team rather than by getting points individually.
Can you talk about Andrew Hawes and Alex Zahoruiko and how they are going to lead this team?
This is the second season that Andrew will be one of our captains, and Alex is a senior and deserves to be our captain; these guys have already stepped up during the preseason training and have led the team. We did a run up Sugarloff Mountain earlier this year; it is a one mile run, straight up hill. I challenged the guys by saying that if anybody finished the run in under 9:30, we wouldn't have to do it again. Andrew made it in 9:05, so that's an example of how he's already led our team.
Which teams in the MacConnell Conference are going to challenge you the most this season?
It will probably be the same teams as in the past. In the men it's usually Boston College, Plymouth-State University, and Colby-Sawyer College. Those are the teams that typically challenge us, but I'm feeling good that our team can compete with these opponents.
What is Peter Anderson going to bring to this team?
Peter has some skills and talents that I don't have. He has a more technical aspect; he can look at a ski or a skier and see if they need to be candid, which means that they don't stand flat on their skis. It's going to be great for our team to have an assistant coach that is actually a coach. In the past we've had students that have helped us out, but Peter is a professional coach. He has a great demeanor and I think that he's going to be a tremendous addition to both our teams this season.
Can you give us a preview on the two newcomers on this year's squad?
Stefan Ogle and Tom Sampson will be joining our Men's team this year. Ogle is a junior who actually transferred from Berkshire Community College and Sampson comes from Plymouth, N.H., which is where Plymouth State is located. They are point fairly low-point skiers. I think the training regime that we have put them through this fall is something that they haven't been through before. I'm looking for those guys to add depth to our team this year.