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‘This team is really close:’ Mukwonago Ski Team competes individually — and together

Mukwonago Ski Team

MUKWONAGO -- They just wrapped up a season and continue to build a reputation for their program, but some skiers from Mukwonago know it's going to be a team effort.

While the Mukwonago Ski Team aims for the top, their coach, George Loomans offers advice at the bottom.

"Sarah! Those hips gotta move right? You gotta move inside so we get a little more direct. Coming into the gate, hands and everything gotta drive right, so hips more out? Yes, hips into the turn," he said.

Mukwonago Ski Team

Loomans has led the program for more than three decades, and while he coaches the skiers as individuals, he emphasizes the importance of teamwork.

"I think on a team, you can have as many good skiers as you want, but if they don't care about the team and they aren't invested in the team as a whole it's not gonna work. If everyone is letting it hang out on the run all the time, they're gonna fall. They're gonna let the team down, so you need to think of 'well, the team is ahead of me, so maybe I'll pull back a bit on this run and not ski so aggressively so I can guarantee the team will get a good place,'" said Eliot Felske, Mukwonago sophomore.

Mukwonago Ski Team

Mukwonago Ski Team

While they race down the hill one-by-one, their teammates stand at the top watching, waiting and cheering.

"So all of our scores, the top four get added up together, so that's how you place overall, so you can have two people fall or two people not get great of time, but that doesn't affect the team too much, but we still want everyone to do good because it effects us overall," said Katie Kirchschlager, Mukwonago freshman.

"This year is a good example. For some of the races, we only had four guys and you need four times to finish, so you all have to cooperate and you all have to understand and have a good run and make it down or fall or DNF or make some goofy mistake," Dan Sommers, Mukwonago senior.

Mukwonago Ski Team

This year, the girls' team won conference for the first time, and then went on to finish fourth at the state meet. As some prepare to move on from the team, they said they're hopeful the bond shared will remain.

"I've learned that this team is really close. I was on other sports teams before, but I've never had that family feel that we've had here," said Haley Annes, Mukwonago senior.

Mukwonago Ski Team

Mukwonago Ski Team

"We want people to look at us when they see us on the hill or racing us, 'oh hey, this is Mukwonago coming in and they're really nice racers. They're not gonna push us around or doing anything mean. They're gonna cheer us on even though they're not on our team,'" said Abby Erickson, Mukwonago senior.

They're learning to be better skiers, but also, team lessons that play a bigger role.

"It's either my coach that is there for me or my teammates that are there for me at the bottom that are just like 'Abby, it's OK. You're gonna be fine. You have a few bruises and cuts now, but don't worry. It's all gonna be fine,' so just like really learning that team ability to be there for people -- it really helps out, now and in life," Erickson said.

Mukwonago Ski Team

It's proof that whether you're at the top of your game or sliding down the bottom, a good teammate is always there to help you back up.

Mukwonago Ski Team

The boys' varsity team finished fifth overall this season while the girls finished on top of the Midwest High School Ski Conference.

Mukwonago Ski Team