Here is a preview of winter sports at U-32.
2016-17 record: 16-4, 4th in DII
Playoff performance: Lost 60-50 in the quarterfinals to Mount St. Joseph
After graduating three key seniors in Kyle Booth, Quintin Pelzel, and Gus Obeldobel, this year’s basketball team will need to find new players to build around. Luckily, it shouldn’t have any problem doing so.
“We’ve got a lot of new pieces, and a lot of young guys, but I’m feeling pretty confident that we’ll have a good season,” says senior Josh Farber.
Farber, along with fellow senior Hayden Roberge and juniors Jordan Hawkins and Bryson Richards will all play important roles for the Raiders this season.
“Our goals for the year are to get to the Aud and win the state championship,” says Farber. “I feel confident that we can do that.”
2016-17 record: 14-6, 5th in DII
Playoff performance: Lost 23-18 in the semifinals to Mill River
There is a lot of optimism heading into this season for the girls basketball team.
“I’m really excited to play with this team,” says senior Jayden Hudson. “A lot of us have been playing together for several years now… we play really well together.”
The team is looking to take the next step and win a championship after two straight losses in the semi final round. After opening the season with a win over Mill River, the team that beat U-32 in last year’s semi final game, that goal is looking attainable.
Hudson’s attitude is shared by many on the team. “This is probably going to be the best season I’ve played in.”
Boy’s Ice Hockey
2016-17 record: 11-8-1, 7th in DI
Playoff performance: Lost 6-0 to BFA St. Albans in the quarterfinals
The U-32 boy’s hockey team is entering a transitional period this season. They are playing their second DI season after spending many years in DII. The team features a lot of new faces as well.
“We don’t have many seniors, but we’re starting to come together and play as a team,” says senior Liam Robert.
He also says one of the biggest challenges facing the team will be “adjusting to the new coaches… they have new practice techniques and different drills, but they’re pretty nice.”
Robert is “looking forward to seeing some more people get some ice time, since we have less people to choose from.” Getting younger players playing will hopefully set the program up for future success. This season, though, it might hold the team back.
“I mean, usually we say going to the championship [is our goal], but this year, looking at our team, that might not be in our favor.”
Girl’s Ice Hockey
2016-17 record: 11-9, 4th in DII
Playoff performance: Lost 3-2 in the semi finals to Rice
The upcoming season brings a mix of excitement and new challenges for the girl’s hockey team.
“I’m going into the season with a positive outlook,” says junior Payton Kurrle. “We have a lot of really talented players.”
The team also includes many new players, which will pose some challenges.
“We have a lot of new skaters… that makes it difficult in games, especially around depth.”
This season will be more about improvement than focusing just on wins and losses.
Kurrle says, “A big goal is helping everyone feel like they are becoming better hockey players. Especially for the new skaters, it’s really important that they feel like they’ve improved.”
Boy’s Nordic Skiing
Last season’s results: 2nd in DII at states
The boy’s nordic team has high hopes for this season, following a second place finish in states last year.
“I’m feeling pretty confident,” says senior Stephen Looke. “We had our first race last week, and we had some strong performances from some younger people on the team.”
Looke and fellow senior Nathan Smoller will anchor the team, and look for more strong performances from younger skiers this season as they look to dethrone Middlebury.
“They [Middlebury] graduated pretty much nobody, so we’ll have to contend with them again,” says Looke. “We’ll be looking for the W this year.”
Girl’s Nordic Skiing
Last season’s results: 3rd in DII at states
The girls nordic team is optimistic for the upcoming season, even though some of their top skiers will be on a trip to Nicaragua during states, hurting the team’s chances.
“We’ve had a little turmoil this year… but I’m not worried,” says sophomore Julia Oliver. “We’re still gonna come out with that win.”
Ginger Knight, a sophomore who will be leaving during states, shares Oliver’s confidence. “There are gonna be some impacts [when some skiers leave], but we have some strong freshman girls who will be able to bring our team up.”
The team will be in competition for the title with perennial contenders Harwood and Middlebury.
Despite the adversity the team has faced, they are confident that a 1st place finish at states is attainable.