The WBHS snowboarders found success in their inaugural season
By Hannah Bensen, Current Staff
It’s a rare occurrence for any team to qualify for state in their first year of existence, but that is what happened for the WBHS snowboarding team. However, the team had to overcome a fair share of obstacles before achieving that success.
The team’s first hurdle was to gain approval from the district and ensure that there was enough student interest in a snowboarding team.
“A bunch of parents did all the heavy work as far as contacting the district and trying to get the team set up and going,” coach Krystall Boyung said. “We didn’t really have a team until the end of November.”
Once the logistics were figured out and eight high school boys had joined the team, they encountered another problem: the lack of snowfall.
“We had our first meet over Christmas break [on January 2-3]. It was a little nerve-racking. We didn’t know if the kids would be ready. Only Hunter [Zaskowski] and Hayden [Johnson] had ever really competed before, so it was a brand new situation for six of our eight riders,” Boyung said. “But they did really well considering we only had one practice before that competition.”
The team ended up taking first place in that first meet, and they never slowed from there. They took either first or second in all five of the following meets. The team was also conference champions in giant slalom, a race which requires boarders to go around the poles in the least amount of time possible. The team placed second in the conference for boardercross, an event which combines speed, jumps, and more difficult terrain. Because of these conference results, the snowboarding team was able to qualify for the state meet Feb. 13-15 in Mount LaCrosse.
“We had never competed on a hill quite as big as Mt. LaCrosse, so that was new and exciting, but scary at the same time because they didn’t really know what to expect,” Boyung said. “For our first year to make it to state, it was just fun, the kids really had a good time and it was a neat experience for all of them.”
The top finisher at state was Hunter Zaskowski, a sophomore at East, with a second place finish in giant slalom. Zaskowski also would have taken first in the boarder cross event, but he was disqualified due to the fact that he missed a gate. Zaskowski said that the state competition was a highlight of his year.
Brad Halverson, a state qualifier and West sophomore, said he was surprised at “how much better everyone is [at state].”
As a team, West Bend took eighth place. Teams earn a place based on the sum of the places of the fastest four of the six competing snowboarders, with the lowest score winning the meet as a team.
For the results of the state meet, click here.
(Top image: Nick Kasik, West ninth grader, surveys the giant slalom course at state. Photograph by Megan Kasik.)