Ski Team Awards

April 5, 2005

Monika Higley, Garret Samsal, Dani Olson and Chris Smith were the Captains representing the individual schools in our ski team co-op this year. They all showed leadership throughout the season.

Coach Dale Miller calls for attention and he announces his retirement from coaching. He explained that there were 15 applicants for the position with Coach Curt Mathieu being one of those. Applause broke out as Coach Miller introduced Coach Mathieu as the new Head Coach for the OHS/BL/BHS SKi Team. Dale then turned the evening over to Curt.

Brethren's Emily Harwell and Onekama's David Fisher, both Freshmen, earned their Varsity letters. Both of these racers went to the Colorado training this year. Coach Mathieu told the group how Emily had a look that deer in headlights have, when she first started, but has since overcome it. David came to the team with racing experience under his belt already, having raced with the Manistee SKi Club.

Most Improved was awarded to Kelli Waligorski and Garret Samsal.

Kaylie Mathieu , on the left,has agreed to step up and help with the team next year. On the right, I suppose we can call her the "First Lady of ski team" now with Cheryl and Dale stepping down, is Curt's wife, Carrie Mathieu. If you have ever tasted her cheesy potatoes, I know you are glad that she will still be around for awhile!

The annual Ski Team Awards was held at the Onekama School in the Learning Center on April 5th, 2005.

Ski team families were greeted by the coaches as they arrived and while all the buffet style dishes being brought in were placed on the tables, a slide show of the season was being played on the screen. Hats off to Vicki

Waligorski for a fine job creating the show! Side dishes were plentiful to go with the roaster full of baked chicken. Ski team sure knows how to put on a feast!

This year brought about changes. Changes for the better. Brethren joined the OHS/BLHS co-op, marking their first year to be involved in high school ski racing. The Co-op is more like a family than anything else and this has allowed them to become a united team. As stated by Coach Miller," this was a year for learning and rebuilding." Next year shows a lot of promise and talent in the team they have built this year.

Coach Miller is retiring (again) and turning the reins over to Coach Mathieu. While Coach Miller's retirement from coaching is a sad feeling, having Coach Mathieu take over the teams is a great thing. It will be a smooth transition for the team as he has been assisting for years and knows exactly what needs to be done, who is trying to improve on what and believes in the same training procedures.

Dani presented Coach Mathieu with a long sleeved jersey....look for him wearing it at track meets where he starts the races. It is bright red with yellow lettering that says Coach Mathieu. Brick Wheels once again gave each team member scrappers for when they wax their skis. The coaches gave each member swix brushes. Coach Mathieu then went on to tell the parents how when the temps went from 3 degrees to 14 below one night and a few days later it was 45 and raining, our team had no shelter at the top of the hills. "No more", he announced. A team tent has been purchased and with that the team members erupted into applause.

The team presented me the reporter a team sweatshirt with my name on it for my years of reporting and Coach Mathieu said of course this is because I am coming back next year...Thank you..I love it! They also thanked Vicki

Waligorski and Dawn Johnson for their photo taking as do I. For without their help this year there wouldn't have been many photos captured of the team due to my health.'s more than just the's racers, coaches and family members that make a team.

Please promote our ski team. Let's increase our numbers for more depth.

The team is losing three seniors this year, Erica Jach, Jackson Carter and Chris Smith. May your futures lead to all of your desires, you will be missed! Coach Mathieu is already working on another trip to Colorado for next year and needs commitments soon to get the best prices.

Thank you for a great season Ski Team! Next year will be even better! Do I dare say " think snow!" ?

Your Reporter,

Gwen Smith

Senior Erica and Dale give one last hug.

Main Ski Page for 2005

Emotions still running high, but tears wiped dry, we get Cheryl and Dale to pose for a photo.

Choking back tears in thought, Coach Miller's hands wrap tightly around the trophy plaque he received tonight for his many years of service. There weren't too many dry eyes at this point. He will be missed, but never forgotten for everything he has done for the sport of down hill high school racing.

Brethren's Eric Colbrook came on board late in the season and showed great speed. He brought with him his terrain park skis as that is what he had. The Coaches knew by watching him he could do better and switched skis with him. Coach Mathieu said one trip down the slopes with Eric's park skis on, he had all he could do carve them around gates. So a pair of race skis on Eric will improve his already fast runs greatly. Some skis just aren't meant for turning and carving no matter how hard you work on them. Other teams beware, he has his eyes set on a pair for next year!

Onekama's Senior Erica Jach earned her ski pin. While holding down a job and her duties at school, Erica maintained her status as a points earner for the girls team. Erica was a conference medalist this year and was an asset to the team who will be missed next year.


Brethren's Jesse Ketchum earned his Varsity letter. Jesse is a sophomore. Coach said what leaves an impressive memory about Jesse was his desire to stick with it when things got tough. Jesse had fallen at a race and bit through his bottom lip. He was given the OK to go home, but chose to stay and help the team out with other duties. Now, that's dedication to your sport!

Brethren's Garret Samsal ,a sophomore, earned his Varsity letter as well. Garret came to the team as a Hockey player that was also known for his trick skiing. He too, made the trip to Colorado where he had to learn the techniques for racing versus trick small feat I might add. There is a great difference between the two, but he is conquering the dilemma. Garret has what it takes for this winter sport, after all, he is known to wear shorts straight through the ski season. BRRRRRRRR!

Onekama's Senior Chris Smith proudly shows his ski pin he earned this year. Chris came back from a back injury from last year, to complete the ski race season with medals in hand. Chris has been with the team for 7 years. He managed for 3 then was a racer 9th-12th grade. Coach Mathieu said saying goodbye to the seniors is the hardest thing to do. For Chris, saying goodbye to the team and coaches was the hardest.

Gus Lagerquist joined on as a manager later in the season and did an outstanding job with those duties. He also trained with the team as well and will be a nice addition to the team when his freshman year rolls around. The entire team thanked him for his hard work.

Onekama's Kelli Waligorski earned her Varsity numbers. Kelli told the coach last year that all she could do was snow plow on skis. With some nudging, Kelli gave it a try last year for a bit, then returned this year and gave it her all despite her asthma acting up frequently. She is now carving around gates with the best of them and you can see some awesome shots of her tucks throughout the site. Kelli is a Sophomore.

Going by a point system, Dani Olson for the girls and Chris Smith for the boys, earned the coveted Most Valuable Awards. Congratulations! Dani and Chris!

Coach Mathieu presented Coach Miller with a jug of windshield washer fluid attached with a very long hose sprayer. The story went like this....Coach Miller got stuck driving an old station wagon to one of the races while Curt drove the suburban. It was one of those days when the roads were very sloppy, forcing one to use their wipers constantly. The windshield washers quit working on the station wagon Dale was driving and adding more fluid was to no avail. Poor Dale was seen with his arm out the window constantly sloshing washer fluid on the windshield as he went down the road. Ahhhh, the funny stories that come out at these banquets! Coach Mathieu also presented on the Team's behalf, a team sweatshirt, something Coach Miller has wanted for years.

BearLake's Monika Higley earned her Varsity numbers tonight. Only a sophomore, Monika, with a K, Higley with one G, has been with the team for 4 years now. She was manager for the first two and a racer her freshman and sophomore years. Monika has not missed the trip to Colorado since she joined and her racing shows just how much one can improve with that training clinic. Monika and Dani both highly recommend the trip.

Main Ski Page for 2005

April 5, 2005

Onekama's Dani Olson has been with the team for awhile now too! Last year she was a Conference medalist and continued her winning ways through out this season as well, always being one of the top scorers for the girls team. Coach Mathieu reflected on how helpful Dani was in every aspect and she just plain always had fun and made sure others did as well. This led him to a story he was saving when Chris came up, but he used it here......the team was in the suburban going to a race. Dani was up in the front by coach and Chris was sitting towards the back. Dani's cell phone rang so she answered it and a conversation ensued. Nothing unusual here, but it seems it took her a few minutes to figure out that it was Chris calling from the back seat! ....Silly little fun things like that made the trips on the road go faster. Dani and Chris knew how to keep things upbeat.

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