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No snow, no problem


Ski team improvises regimen without a hill



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December 14, 2011 - There may be little snow on the ground, but that is not stopping the Lake Orion Ski team from practicing for its Jan. 5 start date.

Pine Knob has just started creating snow and naturally the team is active whenever possible on the hill. But when the team practices at the school, its activities range from agility trials to playing tag to improve reflexes.

"It's coming along really well - we have some really hard working, athletic kids on our team," said Head Coach Derek Delzer. "On the girls side we have senior Marie Dome whose been training hard over the last few years. On the boys end we have junior Dalton Stetsko whose just a 110 percent kind of guy, has been here every day and has some great athleticism.

"Hopefully all this translates to having a good ski team this year."

The team has 30 returners this year, with 23 going to the boys. While racers have been retained, starters were lost in graduations this year, meaning 36 boys and 18 girls will be competing for the top six or seven spots on the team. Delzer called the competition a great team building exercise.

"You're able to race six or seven racers and they take the top four scores of the day," said Delzer. "Events include racing around gates, speed events and technical events. Each meet takes around two days, with the first day revolving around slalom while the second is giant slalom. The score is combined from the two days to determine a winner."

One big change for the team this year is the exiting from their usual league - the South Easter Michigan Ski League (SEMSL.) That league split the league into areas based on mountains such as Pine Knob and Mt. Holly. But many of the teams of the former Pine Knob League have withdrawn to form what is currently called the Pine Knob Division.

Because of the withdrawal, the division is much smaller, but the teams Lake Orion will compete against are still tough according to Delzer. To qualify for the state finals, every team is invited to a regional competition and from those the top three teams qualify for state finals.

"We're going to be competitive this year - we have a lot of new faces that need to step up but we've been competitive every year," said Delzer. "Every week we have a shot to win. There is no team that really dominates - they're all beatable.

"We just have to go out and ski."

Delzer said the team to beat this year will likely be rivals to the north the Clarkston Wolves. He said while they have a great team this year, the rivalry between the two schools helps equalize the skill levels.

The opening game will be against Notre Dame in January.

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