By Ryan Massad, Contributing Writer
School: Shrewsbury High School
Coach: Ann Early
What are your earliest memories of skiing?
“Some of my earliest memories of learning how to ski are from when I was about 2 years old. My parents put me in a harness with a ski leash and a pacifier pinned to a ribbon on my jacket. I always sang to myself the whole way down to keep my nerves at bay and then we’d eat Sour Patch Kids on the chairlift. Eventually my parents took me off the leash and my dad would plop me at the top of a black diamond and let me figure out my own way down.”
What was your first official race like?
“My first race was at Ski Ward sometime in elementary school but I don’t remember exactly how old I was. I don’t think I realized it was an actual race until I reached the bottom and they called my name for an award. I remember really loving the atmosphere and being excited that I was finally allowed to ski as fast as I wanted. I didn’t race again until I joined the team during my freshman year of high school.”
What has it been like to race for Shrewsbury High the past four years?
“Racing for Shrewsbury is a ton of fun. We’ve always been a small team and we’re not super well-known around the school but it doesn’t matter. We welcome any level skier regardless of their racing experience which makes the atmosphere really inviting. It’s nice having a small team because we get to know each other pretty well over the years and it’s like returning to a small family every winter. Everyone is super supportive of each other and we like to goof around a lot but we work hard, too. It’s been fun to see how much people have improved every season.”
What has been the single greatest moment of your racing career?
“I’m not sure if I could pinpoint my greatest moment of my skiing career but one that definitely stands out is finishing my first high school race. Obviously I was incredibly nervous and intimidated by the more experienced racers. All I really remember is coming out of the starting gates and crossing the finish line – I like to tell myself that I don’t remember much in between because I was ‘in the zone’ but it’s just as possible that I blacked out. It was a great moment because I reached the bottom and the crowd of coaches and parents were cheering and ringing their cowbells as if I was in first place when in reality I was far from it. I think I stuck with racing because of them. As a new racer, it was refreshing to have such a supportive and enthusiastic crowd. It didn’t even matter to me what my time was.”
What is it like racing for Coach Early, Coach Shapazian and Coach Murner?
“They’re the best combination of kind and critical. The three of them are just as responsible for my improvement as I am. They won’t hesitate to take you aside and help pinpoint exactly what you need to do in order to get better, but they’ll always remind you of all the good things you’re doing, too. They know the team really well as individual racers, as well as us as a group. The three of them work very well together and it has been a pleasure to get to know them.”
What is your ski brand of choice?
“I use Head World Cup Rebels I.SL for both [Giant Slalom] and slalom races.”
What are your hobbies aside from skiing?
“Outside of skiing, I’m involved in a lot of music and theater. I started playing alto saxophone when I was in third grade and added tenor saxophone in seventh grade. I’m in the wind ensemble and jazz band in school, which also includes concert band, pep band, and marching band. I’ve also been part of the orchestra pit for the school musicals since eighth grade and have participated in invitational ensembles outside of school. Over the summer, I work at a summer camp in Ontario as one of the directors of their theater program. There, we put on a production of a different musical every Saturday night for seven weeks with a different group of kids each week. It’s all a blast and I’m hoping to keep doing it all for as long as I can.”
What is your favorite class in school?
“My favorite class in school is biology. I’m the kind of person who likes to know how things work and why things are the way they are. I’ve never been bored in a biology class. It’s the kind of subject where you never wonder why you need to know the information because it explains the world around you. Taking biology classes definitely made me look at the world differently.”
What is your favorite type of music, and artist in that genre?
“I love all kinds of music and I’m happy with whatever is playing, but if I’m the one in charge of the auxiliary cord, I’ll probably play some alternative or indie rock, with a mix of old classics. My favorite artists are the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay and The Beatles.”
Have you given any consideration to which college you’ll attend next year?
“I haven’t heard back from any of the schools I’ve applied to yet, but I’ll probably go to school in Canada. I have dual citizenship so it makes a lot of sense financially, and most of my family is in Canada, so it would be really fun to be close to them. Ideally, I’d love to go to school in Montreal or Toronto. My top choice is McGill University.”
What type of legacy would you like to leave behind at SHS?
“I hope I’m remembered as a friendly face around school and a welcoming, supportive captain on the ski team. I hope I made the ski team as rewarding for my teammates as my former captains made it for me.”