BENNINGTON — The Mount Anthony Nordic team is ready to kick off the winter season for the Patriots on Wednesday.
MAU will host Brattleboro, Rutland, Burr and Burton and Otter Valley at Prospect Mountain at 2 p.m.
It will be the first competition of the winter sports season — originally scheduled to begin Nov. 30 but pushed back to Dec. 26 due to rising positive coronavirus cases throughout Vermont.
Gov. Phil Scott gave outdoor sports the green light last week to begin competitions starting on Jan. 18.
“I’m just happy to be having a season, really,” said MAU boys captain Peter McKenna.
Girls captain Maggie Payne echoed a similar sentiment.
“We’re just really lucky because we’re an outdoor sport,” Payne said.
With 46 total athletes — 34 varsity and 12 middle schoolers — MAU coach Rob Short is happy with the total turnout within the program.
“It’s great that we’re staying over the 40’s and have a lot of interest,” Short said.
Short noted that a few athletes who had their winter sports seasons canceled, such as indoor track and field and swimming, have made the jump to the ski team this year.
Payne will lead a senior-heavy roster for MAU. Five out of the 13 athletes on the varsity girls roster are seniors. Zoe Palisano — another senior — is also a captain on the girls side.
Payne hopes to “build up the team” and lead by example for the younger members of the team, including the four freshmen on the roster. She will also look to continue the momentum from last season’s SVL championship title, and finishing fourth overall at the Division I state meet.
On the flip side, the boys team is led by younger skiers like McKenna and fellow captain Silas Rella-Neill, also a sophomore. There isn’t a single senior on the team this year. McKenna sees this year as an opportunity to grow on a successful season last year, which saw the team finish second at the Division I state meet, close behind Brattleboro.
“We want to continue at that high level of skiing and compete at states,” McKenna said.
The young group on the boys side have found success at the middle school level. Last Riley Thurber and Finn Payne finished fourth and fifth, respectively at the state championship meet, leading MAU to a second-place finish behind Mount Mansfield.
McKenna has a couple specific goals in mind for the varsity team this season.
“Win the SVL championship, (and) go for states, too,” McKenna said.
Short says there are a lot of unknowns with this season. In years past, the team would have already competed in multiple events. He said he’s not sure what other SVL teams are looking like this year.
“I don’t know what their numbers are looking like,” Short said.
MAU will have a four-meet regular season. The boys SVL championship is slated for Feb. 24 at Wild Wings while the girls will compete for the SVL title Feb. 27 at Brattleboro Outing Club.
Callum DeBoer, Jacob Tibbetts, Collin Bevin, Henry Frechette, Leo Herbert, Asa Jelley, Asa Kobik, David Lafontaine, Peter McKenna, Aiden Moscarello, Silas Rella-Neill, Oliver Salazar, Samuel Umphlett, Charlie Buckley, Kale Bushee, Tyler DeBoer, Chase Gauthier, Holden Morrison, Finn Payne, Nik Segura, Riley Thurber
Ella, Cichanowski, Chloe Cichanowski, Zoe Palisano, Maggie Payne, Chloe Stitcher, Bridget Beal, Sadie Korzec, Elyse Altland, Reagan Joly, Sophia Anisman, Ani Palisano, Violet Small Eden White,
MIDDLE SCHOOL BOYS:
Aiden Bevin, Sam Kobik, Gabe Nesbit, Oliver Viglas, Samuel Herbert, Henry Morrison,
MIDDLE SCHOOL GIRLS:
Aurora Rella-Neill, Issabela Thurber, Fiona Palisano, Ella Palisano, Emily Tibbetts, Tanis White