GHS sends three skiers to regional race
By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Thu., Feb. 17, 2011
Three Glastonbury High School skiiers have descended their way to the top.
At the “shoot-out” state qualifying event Feb. 14-15, several GHS skiiers (the limit is 12 boys and 12 girls from each school) competed in the GS and slalom events, in order to try out for the state squad. Best two times out of three in each event determine the top 12 skiiers in the state, who will then go on to the Eastern High School Conference Championship in New Hampshire March 13-15.
Glastonbury sophomore Harlan Kimball and senior captains McKenzie Ingenito and Caroline Kimball (sister of Harlan) all qualified for the New Hampshire meet.
Freshman Denis Biglin placed 15th, making him an alternate for the state team.
Coach Sue Jefferson said many of the ski events, ironically, have been postponed due to the heavy snows in January, forcing many meets to be held in a short time in early February. The regular season consists of six meets, and as many practices as the team can get in. Jefferson said her team really only had one practice this season.
“They missed that,” Jefferson said, “because all the kids learn a lot at each practice.”
Jefferson, who has been with the team since its inception – first as a volunteer, then assistant coach – took over the reins as head coach this season.
She said that many kids in Glastonbury ski in Vermont on family vacations, and some receive training there as well, which translates to them being among the better skiiers on Connecticut's smaller mountains.
“It's also not as formal,” she said. “At Southington, they have a great hill. A lot of the racers use it to their advantage. They do everything to get speed, because it's a short hill. The ski team gives them an opportunity to put it to the test and see what they can do.”
With basic skills in place, Jefferson and her coaching staff give pointers on how to fine-tune in order to improve, such as managing body position, how they look at the course (specifically where to put their eyes) and when to start a new turn from the one the skiier just made.
“There are certain techniques,” she said. “You can watch them and say 'you're turning too late. In order to get faster, turn on the gate a little earlier, and straighten out your line.'”
Jefferson said all three of the qualified skiiers have great technique.
“Caroline and Macenzie switched positions in our weekly races constantly,” Jefferson said. “It depends on the conditions. They are always within tenths [of a second] of each other – sometimes hundredths.”
The younger Kimball recently improved, after making his mind up to do so.
“Harlan has been sitting in third place each week,” Jefferson said. “He was getting frustrated.” Jefferson said he switched skis, started wearing an iPod, and psyched himself into skiing faster.
“Skiing is 75 percent mental and inspirational, I think,” Jefferson said. “The other 25 percent is technical. He just skied very confidently, and he's just keeping that there.”