Ski preview: Wilton teams ready to hit slopes

Going into the 2015 season, the Wilton High boys and girls skiing teams find themselves in similar situations.

Both squads lost marquee performers from last winter but return top-line talent and depth while adding impact newcomers.

“I think both teams can do well,” said head coach Rob Perry. “We have some good skiers back and have some freshmen who can contribute.”

The Wilton girls went 17-2 last season and won the Class S conference title before placing third at the State Open meet. The boys had a 17-8 record and finished seventh at states.

With several leading racers returning, the girls team looks primed to make another run at conference and state championships. But the Warriors will need to replace Angele Poirier, Margaret May and Hannah Sullivan, all of whom contributed to the team time at states. Of that trio, Poirier was the most significant departure as she finished 19th overall, and second for Wilton, at the State Open.

Wilton’s returnees include junior Haley Howard, who finished third overall at the state championships, earning All-State honors. Howard was first for the Warriors at the recent team time trials.

Also back are junior Genevieve Poirier, who finished third for the Warriors and tied for 21st overall at last year’s state meet, and senior CC Babchak, who was fourth for Wilton at states.

Freshman Julia Bonnist, a USSA racer who impressed at time trials, should also be a fixture in Wilton’s top six in 2015.

Juniors Kailyn Kieffer, Anna Wright, Bella Bernardini and Emma Fortuna, and sophomores Hannah Jung and Olivia Nickel will also vie to contribute to the team’s scoring this season.

“The girls had a great season last year and I expect them to have another strong performance this season,” said Perry.

The Wilton boys were hit harder by graduation, losing All-State skier Roger Hueglin (fourth overall at the State Open), as well as top-six contributors Emmanuel Sitinas and Jody Underwood.

Leading the returnees is senior Will Howard, who finished second for the Warriors and 19th at last year’s State Open. “He should be among the best in the state this season,” said Perry about Howard.

Other top returnees include senior Ethan Michael and junior Zach Verrilli, who both finished in the top six for Wilton at last year’s State Open. Verrilli was second behind Howard at the team’s time trials.

Also expected to compete for top-six spots are senior Kieran Kehoe, juniors Josh Reeve, Michael LoGiurato and Jamie Mortensen, and sophomores Joshua Coppola and Griffin Klinga.

One new contributor is freshman Patrick Verrilli, who was third at time trials. “He has great technical ability,” said Perry about the younger Verrilli. “He’s not the biggest kid but he really flies down the mountain.”

Notes: Both Wilton teams are scheduled to open the season tomorrow (Wednesday) at Mount Southington.

Babchak and Poirier are the girls team’s captains, and Will Howard and Reeve are the boys team’s captains.