For what seems to be the first time in Oyster River High School history, a ski team racer has qualified for the Meet of Champions. The Meet of Champions contains the top ten skiers of the state’s four divisions who compete for overall honors. Olivia Colarusso (19’), placed eighth and qualified for the Meet of Champions after her performance at the states competition.
Oyster River High School’s ski team states competition took place this week at King Pine. The boys team raced Tuesday, February 13 going up against perennial state champions Kennett and Plymouth. They were followed by the girls team, competing Wednesday, February 14, and managed to place sixth out of thirteen teams. After an excellent season, both teams said goodbye by giving it their all at the competition.
“The competition at states was a lot. We were up against bigger teams that get to practice every day. They also have more access to ski racers that race on club teams. We didn’t get to practice as much as them due to some difficulties with rides and snow,” said Nate Sullivan (18’), captain of the boys team. However, despite these challenges, the boys team stayed in good spirits. “Overall, the boys team did [well] with a few minor injuries along the way. The team raced strong and we had fun.”
The ski team faced no shortage of technical difficulties this season leading up to states as Sullivan mentioned. Living in Durham proved to be a major disadvantage as it is a lot farther from the mountains and the teams therefore get much less training time than many of the teams they compete against. The shift in the school start time also proved difficult when there was a lack of transportation. “A lot of times the bus didn’t even show up to bring us to practice,” said Hannah-Jane Wilson, captain of the girls ski team. But, with ski team coach Mike Regan at their side, the teams managed to prepare for states. Regan said in preparation for the competition, the teams primarily focuses of fundamentals.
Colarusso, as well as being a member of ski team is also a part of a club ski team. Wilson explains that club skiers add a lot to the team. “We have three racers, Olivia, Lauren and Holly who race club and they’re incredible. They usually place in the top ten and just have amazing form and really help everybody on the team learn about skiing and what to do. They’re always willing to help which [has] definitely helped a lot of the newer girls learn how to race,” she said.
Colarusso enjoys the time spent training on the weekends and occasionally during the week with her club ski team: Mount Washington Valley Ski Team. She also expresses her love of the school’s ski team. “I’ve never seen a team so integrated and positive such as this one. I’ve learned so much from the people on ski team. They have taught me that it isn’t always about winning all the races, it’s about doing what you love because you love it, not because you have to be the best at it.”
Colarusso will now prepare for the Meet of Champions taking place on March 1 at Mittersill Alpine Resort.