The Ski Team Returns for the Winter Season


Senior foreign exchange student Clara Morabito demonstrates how she skis.

Katie Cooper, Staff Reporter

The ski team takes on another year at Ward Hill in Shrewsbury with hopes of having a successful season, making it to states with their largest group of racers yet.

Coach Shawn Mato, assisted by Dan Barry, has been coaching the ski team for many years, and they currently have 31 racers.

There are many returning athletes along with new freshman and sophomore racers.

The team is led by three captains Ally Barry, Libby Herlihy, and Sam Holly.

Herlihy has been skiing since she was two, so this will be her 16th winter skiing.

“My favorite part about skiing is having the opportunity to get to know people that I wouldn’t have otherwise ever met. For school, I have been able to make so many friends both in HHS and from other schools, simply because of practices and races, and some of them have become my best friends! I also go up to New Hampshire with my family every weekend, and I’ve met a few other families and people my age that I get to hang out with, which is so much fun,” Herlihy said.

This is the first year the girl’s team is larger than the boys.

“I’m excited to see a lot of our girls kick butt this year!” Herlihy said.

Photo, senior captain Libby Herlihy
Senior captain Libby Herlihy is excited for the ski season.

There are 2 courses set up, 1 boys, 1 girls. There’s a starting gate at the top that starts the racers’ time once they cross it and a motion sensor at the bottom that ends it. They are striving to get the quickest time possible, which may look different every time because of the way the course is set and how the conditions are. Everyone completes 2 runs.

“I think our team dynamic this year is already so unique, and we all get along. I believe states this year is at a different place than last year, and it’s always my goal to make it there, so it should be interesting if I’m given the chance to ski somewhere I’ve never been. Overall, I’m excited to see what the season is like!” Herlihy said.

A lot of people are separated by only tenths of seconds, which goes to show how competitive it can be, so the racers want to be as fast as possible.

In high school racing, there is Giant Slalom and Slalom. GS is when the gates are farther apart, and there’s typically more rhythm. Slalom is when the gates are closer and there are more combinations (hairpin, flush, undergate). At higher levels there’s Super-G, but it’s really not possible at Ski Ward.

A foreign exchange student from Italy, Clara Morabito, joined the team this year, and says, “I’m so so excited for the first race I can’t wait.”

Races are every Thursday from January 5th to February 16th. Teams arrive at 4 to warm up for course inspection at 5, and the first racer goes at 5:30. Typically the race ends by 9, but slalom takes longer.

“Lila Mato and Klara Niss are both strong racers who qualified for the State Championship last year, so we are excited to get on snow and start competing against other schools in the Central Mass Conference Ski League!” Barry said.

The team is currently doing dry-land training which are preseason workouts where they are given the opportunity to target the muscles and movements that will help them perform well throughout the season, especially because the season is so short, they have to go in as physically prepared as possible.

In hopes of getting on the mountain this week, Ski Ward makes snow every season once the temperature is below 30 for 3 days in a row. As long as Ward is open, they are practicing- even in rain.