Grayling High School’s ski teams get ready for 2017 season
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Ski team consists of a variety of abilities and personalities and the kids on this team do an amazing job working together, complementing each other, and helping each other out. They are a real pleasure to be around. The history of the team is deep in Grayling and these kids want to continue to carry on the tradition." – Tim Gariglio, Grayling High School Ski Coach
The Grayling Vikings are in a strong conference for skiing, but Grayling High School’s ski program has solid overall numbers this year with a mix of experienced team members and promising newcomers, and the coach of the squad said this year’s group should have success during the 2017 campaign.
As of last week, the ski program at GHS had 20 members (nine boys, 11 girls).
“Each team has a few years of experience and should be fairly successful this season. Both teams have a lot of potential and have a lot of upcoming talent and successful years ahead,” Coach Tim Gariglio said.
The Vikings were able to work on a number of things during the offseason in the fall of 2016, both physical and mental.
“Fall workouts consisted of weight training, balance, and agility. Developing these skills helps increase athletes’ foot speed and strength. Also, spent time educating kids about the sport and rules, video analysis, and increase their ability on reading courses and looking for challenging areas. Skiers only get two runs and knowing ahead of time of possible challenges and being prepared for them can greatly increase their success,” Coach Gariglio said.
The skiers were not able to practice on the hills prior to the holiday break due to lack of snow.
“Christmas break was the first time we were able to get on the hill. So far we only have a few practices under our belt,” Coach Gariglio said last week.
Coach Gariglio said “team unity” is one of the group’s biggest strengths so far this year.
“Ski team consists of a variety of abilities and personalities and the kids on this team do an amazing job working together, complementing each other, and helping each other out. They are a real pleasure to be around. The history of the team is deep in Grayling and these kids want to continue to carry on the tradition,” Coach Gariglio said.
“They have worked really hard and the few practices we have had they gave 100 percent all the time. The past and present captains have really done a great job raising the torch high and keeping the expectations high. Grayling kids are great at helping with the labor that is required on the hill,” Coach Gariglio said.
Now that they’re able to practice on ski hills on a regular basis, what’s the main area of focus? Technique. Form. Establishing good habits and abandoning bad ones.
“There are a lot of young and inexperienced skiers on this team and a few goals are to become good sound skiers with solid technique and form. Each kid on this team has at least one bad habit they need to break to improve. Pole plants and fore pressure are the main focus right now,” Coach Gariglio said.
Gariglio said he sets “the same team goals every year for both teams.”
What are they?
“Team unity, treat everyone equally, and be a good teammate. Develop skills to become a successful citizen of society,” he said.
Last year, four of the six teams to qualify for the state finals from Grayling’s region were from the Lake Michigan Conference. It’s been a competitive league for skiing on a consistent basis.
“The LMC is the toughest (Division 2) conference in the state for skiing. The conference seems to be getting stronger the last few years as the schools continue to co-op, putting a lot of really good skiers on one team. Grayling parents and kids have done an outstanding job participating and allowing us to be one of the few teams left who is not a co-op and can field a varsity and JV team. Team goal is always to try and finish as a team in the top three. As for individuals, a top 10 finish is outstanding,” Coach Gariglio said.
As coach, what does Gariglio want to see from his skiers this year? Work hard. Improve. Compete. Have fun.
“It’s always great to see them improve throughout the year. I like the kids to have fun and be competitive at the same time. Every year these kids give me everything they have. They commit their Friday nights and Sundays to practices. I work hard, they work hard, and that is all I ask for,” Coach Gariglio said.
The ski team will compete in a meet at Boyne Mountain on Thursday, Jan. 12. On Monday, Jan. 23, the Vikings will host the Grayling Invitational at Schuss Mountain.