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Ridge Ski Team Kicks off the Season

The RHS Ski Team kicked off their season on January 9th at Mt Peter, their home mountain.  The 40 racer team consists of Varsity, Junior Varsity and X Men/Women and will race in the Independence League again this year.   John Fico, Head Coach will be at the helm for his 15th year and serving as NJSIAA League President for the 2nd year.  Coach Fico will be supported by 3 assistant coaches.  Keith Vella, new to the team this year, comes with an impressive ski racing background, including: 14 years of competitive racing experience, Captain of both the Babson College and Vernon ski teams, 2011 USCSA Giant Slalom All-American, 2007 NJISRA Individual Giant Slalom, Slalom and Overall State Champion, helped lead Babson College to 4 consecutive USCSA National Championship appearances and helped lead Vernon HS to 3 team State Championships.  Ben Carroll, a 2013 Penn State University graduate and RHS alumni Ski Team Captain, brings a ski racing passion and 10 years of race experience to the team.  Ben raced with Penn State 2009-2013, raced in 4 USCSA Nationals, helped Penn State place #1 as State Champions in 2009 and be Mid Atlantic champions for 4 years. Ben prefers Giant Slalom and is excited to be an Assist. Coach.   Jeff Pedecine, returns to the team for his 2nd year as Assist Coach.  Jeff, a RHS alumni and Ski Team Captain, raced for club teams while at Univ. of Massachusetts, coached at Nashoba Valley and Blue Hills and was Head Coach of Morristown Beard’s ski team 2011-2012.

To date the Team has had  4 races.  At their season opener, a Giant Slalom race, the girl’s team placed 2nd with Alyssa Thompson leading the squad with 2nd place, Alexa Hughes 7th, Danielle Gogerty 8th, Asia Harrington 12th, Danny Lailey 18th and Kate Rose 22nd.  The boy’s team placed 5th with Daniele Colbertaldo leading the pack with 2nd place, Mike Depalma 8th, and Tyler Conti 19th.    The JV and XMen teams produced some impressive times and show great promise for the season.   JV girls placements: Julia Messineo  1st, Danielle Conti 2nd, Shannon Pokorny 3rd, Eliza Engelsman 4th, Addie Schmidt 8th. JV boy’s placements:  Austin Conti 1st, James McWilliams 5th, Tyler Wilkes 11th.  X Men placements: Paul Kippel 1st, Paul Nemetz 2nd, Austin Friedman 3rd, Ben Restaino 4th, Kevin Lazo 5th, Collin Bell 6th, Michael Pardo 7th, Dan Griffiths 8th, Robert Prentis 9th, Brian Hilferty 10th, Caroline Blanchard 12th, Pol Francesch 13th and Olivia Polos 14th.   Their 2nd race produced a 1st place for boys and a 2nd place win for the girl’s team.  Siblings Alex and Alyssa Thompson both placed 2nd.  The team’s 3rd race, a Giant Slalom Festival featuring 10 schools, had RHS in 1st place for both boys and girls.  Alyssa Thompson from the girls placed 3rd overall with Daniele Colbertaldo catching the 1st place overall. At the 4th race, Ridge girls placed 2nd with boys catching 1st place.  Girls: Alyssa Thompson-3, Alexa Hughes 7, Emily Fuchs 8, Danny Lailey 9, Danielle Gogerty 12. Boys: Daniele Colbertaldo 1, Tyler Conti 9, Mike Depalma 11, Maky Rupert 19.

Last year, Ridge girls placed third in the state, yet saw 8 seniors graduate.  The boys placed fifth in the state last year and lost 3 seniors.  Team Captains are Alexa Hughes, Daniele Colbertaldo and Alex Thompson. The Captains “hope to finish out their high school racing career with a trophy for Ridge High School”. 

Coach Fico notes “the boy’s team has a solid foundation to be a great team, with 2 All State returners.  The girls are unproven and young, but very talented and hungry.” http://highschoolsports.nj.com/boysskiing

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