The Sparta Varsity Girls Ski Team won 1st place at the Petro Giant Slalom Qualifier Race at Mountain Creek. This is the first time the Sparta Ski Team has won the Petro GS Qualifier.
The Sparta Varsity Girls Ski Team was simply outstanding at the Petro Giant Slalom Qualifier Race at Mountain Creek. This is a big race with all the NJISRA high school ski teams attending. For many ski teams the Petro GS race would be their last chance to qualify to compete in the upcoming State Championships and possibly their last race of the season. The top two teams who had not already qualified for the State Championships would be allowed to advance, so this was a do or die race for a number schools. Since both the Sparta girls and boys varsity ski teams finished the regular season conference races well over the .500 mark, Sparta was already State Championship bound and the Petro GS would have no significance. Knowing there was no pressure to perform, our team was excited to race and have a great time.
And was it ever a fun time! The Sparta ski team wasted no time setting forth a plan to ski the event with a "4th of July Theme". Yes you read that right. The Sparta Ski racers were sporting bathing suits over their race suits, sun glasses, beach hats, Hawaiian shirts, floral leis and faces painted patriotically red, white and blue. When the race course opened for inspection, we slipped the course together as a team, inspecting and memorizing as we normally do. But this inspection would soon turn into a party, once the music turned on everyone began singing joyously and dancing down the mountain to the sound of "Country roads, take me home, To the place I belong, West Virginia, mountain mama". Our team spirit became contagious as the other teams we passed on the mountain smiled and sang along. No doubt, win or lose, the Petro GS was going to be a fun day for all racers participating, to ski their best and most importantly enjoy!
The 2pm early race start made everyone feel good, as the sun shined brightly upon the hundreds of racers jam packed at the summit of the course. The Sparta Ski Team continued to celebrate and cheer on its teammates as one by one they raced to the finish. By the time the race results were posted our ski team was on the bus returning to the school. I took a double take to make sure I read the results correctly and then made the announcement. The Sparta ski team celebrated when they found out the girls team had won 1st place. The four varsity girl racers contributing to the 1st place victory at the Petro GS were Olivia Finkeldie (8th overall), Polina Novozhilova (12 overall), Jillian Stote (16th overall) and Rachel Young (29th overall). Also on the podium were Ridgewood High School which finished second with a team time of 6:52.03 and Vernon High School which finished third with a team time of 7:07.41.
The varsity boys ski team finished in 5th place overall among the seventeen ski teams competing. The top four times for the Sparta boys ski team came from Brendan Muhs (4 overall), Joe Russo (23rd overall), Connor McAndris (30th overall) and Tucker Sears (48th overall).
"Way to Have Fun & Still Be Victorious. State Championships here we come!"
NOTE: The Petro GS is also a senior scholarship race. Seniors competing in the event had the opportunity to submit an application for a chance to win a scholarship.
The awards for the Petro GS Race will be handed out at the awards ceremony following the State Championship Race on Thursday.