Orono nordic season starts

Orono’s Nordic skiers are looking forward to a season of tough competition and hopefully some snow.

The official start of the Nordic ski season came Nov. 11. Right after the season opened, Coach Cindy Conger said 55 athletes had registered, but the roster was still growing. The early roster included five senior boys and five senior girls.

The 2013 captains are junior Cabrini Winkels and seniors Lydia Winkels, Mike Choiniere and Silas Ohman.  Conger said that some of the athletes who could be standouts this year include Choiniere, who competed in the Nordic state meet last year, Ohman, Carson Price, Lydia and Cabrini Winkels and Greta Johnson.

The team lost six senior girls and four senior boys after last season. Cabrini Winkels, however, doesn’t expect that loss of experience to be the team’s undoing.

“We lost a few seniors who scored points for us, but I think we have a lot of good skiers to take their spots,” she said.

The Spartans are in a competitive conference and section where they must go against schools that are many times the size of Orono, Conger said.

Ohman said that Irondale and Wayzata, whose girls team earned the state championship last year, will likely be tough competition.

“They have a lot of seniors that have been training and climbing their way up the ranks,” he said.

Cabrini Winkels agreed that Wayzata and Irondale would pose a challenge. She also said that Eden Prairie and the Minnetonka boys have strong programs with a lot of skiers.

“Team competitions are tight,” she said. “However, individually, some of our skiers can stay very competitive with them.”

“Overall, I think that the team will improve a lot as we go and hopefully do pretty well towards the end,” Ohman said.

Though the Spartans might not have numbers on their side, the strong ties between the skiers can be an asset to the team.

“As a team it’s hard to compete with the other big Nordic teams, but our team definitely has a special bond that not many other teams have throughout all of their skiers,” Cabrini Winkels said.

“We always have a lot of fun,” Ohman said.

Conger said that she’s looking forward to helping each skier grow in his or her abilities and strengths. She also said that she hopes that they enjoy the sport and season.

“I’m hoping that we can just have a fun, great season and grow closer as a team,” Cabrini Winkels said. “That being said, I also want to make the team the best we can be, even if we can’t beat the big schools.”

Contact Amanda Schwarze at [email protected]