Head of high school Brooke Wells, Luca Procida, '19, and ski and snowboard coach Jason Kreps pose after Procida's final regular-season race as a Cavalier. (Photo courtesy of Christy Procida)

Ski and snowboard team optimistic despite graduation of league champion

After losing four-time all-league first-team star Luca Procida, ’19, and others, the ski and snowboard team lacks seniors and much experience. 

Procida bookended his Cavalier skiing career with league MVP campaigns in his freshman and senior years. At the 2019 California Interscholastic Federation state championships, Procida placed 11th and 21st in the boys giant slalom and slalom, respectively. 

“Luca brought lots of experience to the team, and he took racing very seriously,” coach Jason Kreps said. “But he was more like a coach rather than a racer to a lot of skiers on the team.” 

Junior snowboarder Ming Zhu said Procida was a mentor, always answering questions and helping out in any way he could.

The Cavs also lost Nate Jakobs and Tori Van Vleck to graduation.

“All the seniors we had last year were really good, so their loss will be felt,” Zhu said. “I think it will be a little tough, but I think that we will be able to recover really soon.” 

As the sole snowboarder on the team so far, Zhu said Kreps is always helpful with course strategy, preparing him for the races.

“Kreps is also a snowboarder, so his help is crucial for every race,” Zhu said. “During course inspections, he would point out icy parts of the run and give me technique advice.”

Kreps added that the team is hoping to get a lot of new members, including more snowboarders and female racers. 

“Racing on your own is pretty hard, so if we can get some more snowboarders to help out Ming, that would be great,” Kreps said.

“And I think we are going to have more than two girls on the team, so they can actually race as a team instead of individually.” 

Last season, the boys finished 17th and the girls 18th in the state. 

“Although losing the experience and skill of the (graduates) will suck, we have some great racers on the team,” Zhu said.

Sophomore Hailey Fesai agreed.

“Although we are losing some really good skiers, I hope that we gain some pretty good (teammates). Everyone else on the team has only gotten better since last year,” Fesai said.

Returning skiers also include juniors Bri Davies and Colin Usrey. Both raced in the CIF championships last year. Davies placed 37th in both the girls slalom and GS, and Usrey placed 65th in the GS. 

Zhu said he’s optimistic about the season. 

“I’m excited to get back on the snow,” he said.

The team schedule will be released on Nov. 22, Kreps said.

By Arjin Claire

Originally published in the Nov. 12 edition of the Octagon.

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