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Nipmuc Ski Program Continues to Grow
The Nipmuc ski program saw a rise in numbers again this season, with success and word of mouth bringing attention and interest to the program.
"We have nine athletes this season, which is two more than last year," said head coach Joe Pugleasa. "We have three skiers competing on the junior varsity level and six on varsity, so we are building a young crop."
Pugleasa said the success of some of the skiers last season helped the growth of the program. The team had three of its skiers compete in the state meet last season, including graduated senior Kelsey O'Hagan and current Whitinsville Christian senior Cory Lennox, who is competing with the team as part of a co-op program and he is back again this year. Fernando Pugleasa went to states as a sophomore and is back as part of a five-member junior class.
Charlie Ciantra, James LaCroix, Luke Rausch, and Jonathan Scanlon are all in their junior seasons and competing on the varsity level. Eight graders Luciano Pugleasa, Dallas O'Hagan, and Rebecca Rausch will compete for the JV squad. Several of the skiers are learning how to ski competitively, which Pugleasa says is very different than recreational skiing.
"The biggest thing for skiers to get used to is the fact that you don't turn when you want to turn, you turn when you have to turn," he said. "Once you have figured out how to grasp hold of that, then it's about not making mistakes and following the proper lines, on a small hill one or two mistakes is usually not surmountable."
Pugleasa also said handling the pressure of competition is a challenge for all of the athletes.
"There is always some anxiety when you're sitting up there with 50 athletes waiting for them to call your name," he said. "The run is only about 25 or 30 seconds and that's the time you have to show it or blow it."
Nipmuc competes and practices at Ward Hill in Shrewsbury. Pugleasa has set some goals for his young, but growing program this season.
"I hope Cory and Fernando can get back to the states and finish even higher than they did last season," he said. "I would also like to see the younger athletes learn more about ski racing and improve their skills in a good athletic atmosphere."




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