The Hopkinton High School girls ski team has been able to find success on the slopes this winter, with second-place finishes in the team’s early competitions and steady improvement throughout the season.
There are 14 girls on this year’s team, which is the first led by coach Shawn Mato. The Hillers have been fueled by some strong top-end talent, Mato said, with several skiers in contention for a spot in the state meet.
“They have been doing great,” Mato said. “They have been right there in every race and there have been some close results with strong individual performances across the team.”
Klara Niss has been a top skier for the Hillers this winter. She has stood out in both the slalom and giant slalom events, Mato said.
“She has done a really good job,” the coach said. “She really handles the races well and she is one of our strongest skiers in her second year on the team.”
Freshman Lila Mato is new to the program but has done well in both events so far and is another strong skier and skilled racer. Junior Libby Herlihy is a veteran of the program, and Mato said she has gotten better as the year has progressed.
“She is really coming on strong in the second half of the season, which is great to see,” he said.
Annaleigh Crantz is a freshman who joined the program with limited race experience but considerable skill in the sport. Mato said she is another athlete who has continued to improve.
Seniors Avery Hutchinson, Torri Fisher and Ally Berry all have done a great job, their coach said, providing leadership on and off the slopes.
Heading into the final race of the season, Hopkinton had several skiers on the bubble in terms of qualifying for the state meet. Mato said he would like to get as many skiers to states as possible, but his primary goals for the team are simpler and more forward-looking.
“We are just trying to build team culture and have everybody get better during every week of skiing,” he said. “They have to be able to ski and bring that ability onto the race course. I think my goals are around building that strong team unit and having the kids peak as we get to the end of the season.”
If some of the recent results at Shrewsbury’s Ski Ward are any indication, Hopkinton is delivering on the coach’s goals.
“Most of the kids had their best races in our last meet,” Mato said. “I was pretty impressed. You can tell that they are skiing better.”