Sports

Sparta Ski Team Best Public State Championship Finish Since '70s

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Sparta High School Ski Team waiting for the awards ceremony at Mt Creek Credits: Jennifer Dericks
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Brendan Muhs competed in Race of Champions, named an All-State athlete Credits: Provided by Robert Muhs
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Junior Matt McAndris on course at the Race of Champions Credits: Provided by Patti McGovern
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Sparta Girls' team members Polina Novozhilova, Valeria Shumskaya, Jillian Stote, and Olivia Calandrillo at States Slalom race. Credits: Provided by Patti McGovern
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SPARTA, NJ – The boys and girls Sparta High School Ski Team concluded their 2016-2017 season competing in several important races over the past few weeks,ending the season with the best showing in decades. Both varsity teams had winning seasons qualifying them for States.

The State races were held on February 24 for Giant Slalom and February 27 for Slalom at Mountain Creek in Vernon. The girls' team finished sixth overall for GS, seventh overall for Slalom, securing a sixth place for their combined races in the state.

The boys' team finished sixth in the state for GS, Slalom and overall combined.

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In the public school varsity state races, the boys' finished third and the girls took fifth. 

Several members of both varsity teams earned enough race points during the season to qualify for the annual Race of Champions, held on March 1 also at Mountain Creek. Racers compete in two runs each for both GS and Slalom.

Sophomore Polina Novozhilova and Freshmen Jillian Stote and Olivia Finkelde represented the girls' team. Junior Matt McAndris and Sophomore Brendan Muhs competed for the boys' team. Muhs  led the boys with a seventh place combined finish for Slalom and a 12th place combined for GS.

Senior Rex Anderson qualified to compete in the Race of Champions, but suffered a heartbreaking, season ending injury the day before the state competitions.

Senior teammate Jack McGovern, said, “It was sad to not have Rex with us for our last races and we all hope he gets better quickly.”

Novozhilova, Stote, and Muhs all earned spots in the Eastern Regional race to be held at Attitash, New Hampshire on March 10 to 12.

Sparta’s JV teams had strong performances at the JV Championships on February 16 with both the girls' and boys' teams finishing in third place. Leading the girls' team were Kimberly Munro with a sixth place finish and Hailey Koerner with an eighth place finish. Joe Russo led the boys' team finishing 10th.

“This year both the girl's and boy's ski teams continued to raise the level of Spartan skiing," Coach Kyle Markovich said. "Both teams continued their streak of qualifying for the New Jersey State Races.

"The girls' team acquired freshman talent that topped the ranks of New Jersey ski racing who helped the team place fifth  in the Public State Championships. The boys' team was led by a pair of seniors who guided the team to a third  place finish in the Public State Championships and a sixth  place finish overall. This marked the best state performance for the boys since the 70’s. Throughout the year the varsity team suffered various injuries to racers but because of our extremely strong JV team, teammates were able to step up and continue to post strong results. With continued hard work by both teams, we look to have a successful season next year as we have many returning racers to the varsity teams and up and coming racers building on their skills.”

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