With nearly every top skier back from a year ago, the combined ski teams from John Jay and North Salem open the season on Tuesday looking to make a run at the Section 1 championship.
Last year, both the boys and girls team finished the regular season undefeated to win the North Division, only to fall to Yorktown at the section team championships. The girls were second at the section championships while the boys were fourth.
The only significant loss by either team is on the girls side, with the graduation of Jane Eifert — a four-year captain and one of the team’s top two racers all four years.
Last year, Eifert finished 23rd in the slalom at the state championships to lead the team. She also won the Section 1 Skimeister championship as a junior, and was second last season. She was the section champ in the slalom.
But the team does return one other state qualifier from a year ago in junior Helen Eifert, and two other section qualifiers in junior Alannah Fryer and sophomore Dakota Adamec.
Helen Eifert, a returning co-captain, was 39th in the slalom at the state championships last year. She finished sixth in the section in the state qualifying standings a year ago, and was sixth in the slalom.
Adamec was ninth in the state qualifying standings, just missing the state cut. She was seventh in the Skimeister standings, seventh in the giant slalom, and 11th in the slalom.
“My expectation is that both Helen and Dakota will be competitors for medals at the sectionals this year,” said coach Patrick Whelan.
Fryer was 17th in the state qualifying standings and 13th in the Skimeister competition. She was ninth in the section in the GS and 20th in the slalom. She was a state qualifier two years ago.
The team also returns senior co-captains Alice Levy and Renee Wallace, and senior Brianna Caleri, all of whom scored last year during league meets.
“I’m also hoping to see Amanda Ko and one or more of our newcomers in the scoring mix this season,” said Whelan. “Our team strength is our great depth. When someone is out or falls, a teammate is always there to step up.”
The goal is to reclaim the section title the girls won in 2010 and 2011, and earn a trip to the state championships at Bristol Mountain.
The boys team, also coming off a 10-0 season, returns all of its top skiers from last season in seniors James Wynne, Andrew Marderstein, Matt Neri and Ryan Ledwith, juniors Scott Michaels, Brett Sweeney and Phil Levens, and sophomores Bear Carlson and Ryan Reinke.
Carlson is coming off a solid freshman season that saw him qualify for the state championships, where he placed 37th in the slalom. He finished fourth in the Skimeister standings, and fifth in the state qualifying standings. He was second in the section in the slalom and eighth in the GS.
Michaels and Wynne also qualified for the sectional meet last season. Michaels 14th in the Skimeister competition and 20th in the state qualifying standings, while Wynne was 18th in the Skimeister and 32nd in the qualifying standings.
Neri, Marderstein and first-year senior Charles Bocklet are captains of this year’s boys team.