New Canaan ski kicks off season
The New Canaan High School varsity ski team is a club team that competes in the 28 school Connecticut Interscholastic Ski League (CISL) each winter. The team has had an incredible run, winning in the co-ed class for each of the last four years. The team practices and races at nearby Mount Southington.
Due to graduation, the team faces a daunting task this year. Gone from the team are co-captains Wilson Fleming, Jeffrey Cole and Alex Dobbin. The three former team leaders could be counted on to finish in the top 10-15 places consistently last year. Leading the team this year are co-captains senior Emily DeTour and junior Amanda Dobbin.
"Those guys will be hard to replace," Amanda Dobbin said. "To win without them, the whole team will have to step up, we'll all have to ski better and finish every race."
"We could take risks last year knowing we had three really high placing scores from the captains," DeTour said. "But this year we will need to all finish and hope for six good placements. It will definitely be more of a team effort this year."
For the first time, the team will have a full time coach who oversees both the dryland as well as the on slope training. Christian Dockum, head of the science department at NCHS, is the new head coach. Dockum is a native of the Vermont racing scene and spent several years teaching skiing and racing in Colorado.
"I'm really excited about taking over such a successful program and continuing the winning tradition," Dockum said.
In the first race on Jan. 8, the team beat co-ed teams from Guilford and St. Luke's. Leading the scoring and emerging as a team leader was sophomore Graham Jameson, who led with an 18th overall finish. He was followed by DeTour in 22nd (second girl in mixed). About 1.5 seconds back, Dobbin was 43rd (fourth girl in mixed), closely followed by freshman Megan Waldron in 48th, junior Grayson Kane in 50th, and freshman Ethan Hall scoring the final team points in 52nd.
"We didn't have any top ten finishes but this was a real team effort points-wise," Dobbin said. "We all skied pretty well."
A trio of sophomores finished next. Matt Schlagel, Russell Walker and Andrew Cronin were only a handful of places behind Hall, so in the races to come they will be counted upon to score points. Continuing the sophomore onslaught was Aurelie Moutran who skied two consistent runs. Racing as JV, sophomore Tigger Nesbett placed well, followed by sophomore Morgan Connolly, senior Siri Thorbeck and freshman Dylan Weitfeldt.
"This is a great start, everyone finished," Dockum said. "We'll get through midterms, then practice our form and tweak what we need to. This is a young team with room for improvement."
With four state championships in a row behind them, one wonders how good this team can be.
The team's next race is Wednesday, January 21st, 4 p.m. at Mount Southington.