Panthers hoping to finish year strong at states

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MARS HILL, Me (WAGM) - The Central Aroostook alpine team is gearing up for the county championships this weekend. The Panthers are looking to get a first place finish when it counts.

"We've done really good this year, we definitely stepped it up. We've gotten a few second place team scores. We've still got a young team this year, just one senior," said head coach Ryan Cook.

"It takes a lot of people to do good. As a team overall you need at least two or three people up top and that's hard sometimes because we don't have a very big team," added sophomore Bryant Grass.

Part of the reason for the low numbers is the injuries on the team.

"We had one last year that was hurt and he's still out. We have another kid Taylor and he popped his shoulder out of place at the first practice we had out here for the year," Cook explained.

The Panthers have still found success both as a team and individually. Cook says the team is well balanced in both the slalom and giant slalom.

"Lane Grass has been stepping up for the team this year for slalom. Jon Gebhart has been doing really well on GS. We've got Bryant Grass, he's one of our younger ones and he's kind of good at both," Cook said.

Freshman Nick Bradstreet has contributed to the team, and his goals for the season changed after just a few practices.

"I guess my goals we're pretty much finishing the season and we're almost done. I think I'll qualify and I think the team will do pretty good too. Try to get first place in states and do as best as we can," Bradstreet explained.

Cook says that the early snow has been a blessing and that the extra time on the snow could pay off at the county championships and states.

"We were actually on snow three weeks earlier than last year. So it's kinda helped out because we've been able to do all of our races compared to last year," Cook said.