Winchester Ski Team Finally Official
The ski team began two years ago, as three sophomores pushed for the team, now Winchester finally has enough skiers to constitute an official team.
In just two years, an idea from three sophomores has turned into a full-blown varsity team with 70 athletes on the roster.
Then-sophomores Molly Olmstead, Jessica Rice and Ed Batten had the idea to create a ski team two years ago.
They competed every weekend in New Hampshire for the Franconia Ski club team, and most of their club teammates were also on high school teams, leading the Winchester students to wonder why their high school couldn't have one.
The three pitched the idea to athletic director Brian Carroll, helped get funding from the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association and recruited their classmates.
"I think it went pretty smoothly considering it was started by a couple of teenagers," Rice said about forming the team.
"It's definitely cool to see it have progressed all this way and now it's an official thing," Olmstead said. "Originally we were thinking of forming a club, and now it's an official team with things like physicals and contracts."
Last year the Sachems competed as individuals in the Omega League but didn't have enough skiers to form a full team, which requires six varsity and six junior varsity competitors.
This season, though half the team is comprised of snowboarders whose efforts won't count toward the official results, there are still enough skiers to form a boys and a girls team.
"It was stressful at times to see if we would even get enough kids," Batten said. "We were thinking we'd be really lucky to get 40. Roughly 70 kids, that's way more than we expected."
Rice, Olmstead and Batten all qualified for the state meet by finishing in the Top 10 in the Omega League standings last season.
Despite having only five skiers — and no one else besides Rice and Olmstead that had competitive experience — the girls team still managed to finish third among six teams in an Omega League meet. This year the results could be even more promising — the team will be joined by Molly's sister, freshman Sophie Olmstead, and will have more depth.
The boys team will also be buoyed by having experienced skiers back from last year.
The team has its first competition Thursday.
"We're hoping to send a few more kids to states and win a couple races as a team," Batten said.
Batten went to a boarding school his freshman year that featured skiing every day. Winchester doesn't have quite that schedule, the team does hit the slope twice a week — training on Tuesday and racing on Thursday.
"It feels good to be a part of something that we all started, and it's something we really worked at," Batten said. "It's exciting to see something that started from nothing be as large as 70 kids."