Neubauer becomes new alpine head coach
January 13, 2016
Last year’s assistant alpine ski coach Kevin Neubauer has taken over Mary Parcheta’s longtime position as head coach after 24 years. She has been involved in the program for the past 25 years and announced her retirement as head coach last spring, but has decided to continue her involvement in the program as assistant coach. Neubauer has become the third head coach of the alpine ski team, after Len McGuire and Mary Parcheta, in the past 43 years.
Neubauer quickly shifted from being a first year assistant coach for the alpine ski team to becoming head coach the following year. There are high expectations for both the boys and girls team this season under Neubauer.
“It wasn’t a surprise that Kevin became head coach this year. He had been very committed to this team and made a strong bond with the athletes very fast in the short time when he first came to the team. So far he has done a great job in motivating the skiers to push ourselves with the little practice we have had on the hill so far this year,” senior captain Claire Weber said.
As of this season, there are seven assistant coaches which include: Mark Schwantes, Floyd Foslien, Jason Helke, Mark Ludack, alumni Carly McDowell, Mike O’Reilly and Mary Parcheta. The experienced coaching staff this year will help the athletes perform at the top level with individual coaching and will push them to be successful this season.
“It makes the opportunity for me to do this a lot easier because I’m spreading a lot of the responsibilities over multiple coaches,” Neubauer said. “The talent of the whole coaching staff as a whole gives so much to those kids they know that they’re getting the feedback and information to get better, we’re telling them the right things to get better. I just think that and the experience we all have and the levels of racing and coaching that we’ve had that we bring to the table gives them the reassurance that everything we have to say for them is in their best interest and for the betterment of their athleticism in the program,” Neubauer added.
For the boys alpine ski team, last season they won the conference and placed fourth at sections, where only the top two teams go to state. The boys program has graduated 27 seniors in the past three years, resulting in a few holes to fill after graduating a strong senior class last year.
“Last year we graduated six or seven senior men. We have a gap of extremely talented over our sophomores, juniors and seniors. We’ve got good talent, but we just don’t have the numbers that we’ve had in the past for the mens team. I will say that our 7th, 8th and 9th grade men’s classes are just as strong as the program has been in the past. So from that standpoint, we’ve got a little bit of a lull but we’ll be back on top here very shortly,” Neubauer said.
Juniors Patrick Allan and Joe Weber are expected to play a larger role this season. Upcoming freshmen Bailey Helke, Parker Smith and Hunter Kahn are also expected to be contributors to the boys team’s success this season.
“Patrick Allan and Joe Weber are skiing phenomenal right now. They have always been solid skiers but they know that weight is on their shoulders and they’re willing to take it. They are put very high on the team in terms of talent. We’ve got some younger kids that have joined the program and other kids that have transferred from other schools that should put us in a pretty strong position in every conference race,” added Neubauer.
The girls team was a very dominant team last year. They won the conference by the largest margin in ten years. However, it was a heartbreaker at sections when they barely missed their chance to state, placing third at sections. Their main focus this year is to win sections and go to state. Coach Neubauer strongly believes they have a great chance.
“Mary even stated it was the first time that she’s probably seen the womens team in ten to 12 years not having any issues, falls or bobbles. They skied perfect, they had no problems or issues and we came up short by the shortest of margins, we took third place. There’s nothing we could have done differently, we just had two teams that skied a little better. But the downside is that we were better prepared for state and both those teams that beat us out at sections did not fair very well at state at all, and I know our girls would of,” Neubauer said.
Emily Donner and Ashley Ludack graduated last year, earning all-conference. Returning this year, is last year’s state participant who finished 23rd: sophomore Maddie Neubauer who should be a key athlete this season. Hanna Gaertner, Grace Donner and Maggie O’Reilly are juniors who should contribute greatly this year, sophomore Ebbie Benson is also in this mix. Eighth-grader Kirsten Anderson should also be a top newcomer after skiing for the Ponies as a seventh-grader last season. Senior Claire Weber who serves captain for the Ponies with senior Alydia Downs, will take on a larger leadership role this season, hoping to lead the team to state.
“My presence as a leader, friend and mentor was equally if not more important to me as my own success racing. I truly wanted what was best for my team, regardless if it meant moving my position lower so someone else could race in better conditions. But really, the great year we had was entirely a group effort from all our captains, the coaching staff and the team itself,” Ludack stated about her last season with the Ponies.
“The talent has shifted into our younger racers. As I see it, we rely more on one another than individual talent. We had incredible skiers that I know will be competing in the top five at each race, but the talent is placed on every racer that pushes themselves to make a difference in a second on a run,” Weber said. “Our women’s team is in great shape,” Neubauer added.
Both the boys and girls team are incredibly young with great depth and talent, including seventh graders all the way up to 12th graders. There are high expectations and strong ambitions for both teams this season.
“Aspirations run from being conference champions, including having at least seven girls/boys named all conference from each team. I also hope to remain champions at the invitationals, as well as each team becoming section champions and standing on the podium at the state meet,” Weber added.