RYE – Her home mountain isn’t much of a mountain. Call it a big hill.
It’s reminiscent of Thunder Ridge (once called Birch Hill), although it’s even smaller than that Patterson ski area.
But the big-hills/small-mountains of Sweden and Patterson combined to spawn a big Section 1 star in Rye’s Frida Henningsson.
The senior, who didn’t compete in high school skiing until this winter, is The Journal News Westchester/Putnam girls skier of the year.
Henningsson has skied for Thunder Ridge’s club team since moving with her family to Rye while in eighth grade.
But, until this winter, on the high school sports landscape she was recognized only as a golfer.
A really good golfer.
The 18-year-old, who carries a three handicap, will play on scholarship for Michigan’s Davenport University next year. Her older sister, Jennifer, was a scholarship player for Idaho’s Boise State.
A lack of time was one reason Henningsson didn’t pursue high school skiing earlier. Another is that Rye has no high school ski team.
But with SAT-test studying behind her, she decided to join fellow Rye students, Michael Chen and Grant Keith, who train with Mamaroneck, while competing as independents. Mamaroneck coach Christine Crowley welcomed Henningsson, although knowing zero about her.
That quickly changed.
In her first competition, Henningsson broke a slalom gate her first trip down the hill and won the race.
“She beats everyone. It’s like my girl comes in first place and, all of a sudden, she’s that good,” Crowley joked.
That broken gate, born of an athletic, aggressive style, was hardly her last.
As the top seed at the Section 1 championships at Hunter Mountain, Henningsson was first down the slalom course. After she reached the bottom, there was a delay as course workers replaced five gates.
“The gates were literally shattering,” Crowley remarked.
Henningsson had, as usual, enjoyed the trip.
“It’s everything together – adrenaline, the speed of it,” she said of slalom. “You go out and go. It’s something so fast, so quick, and just so much is going on. I get this feeling out there. It’s just magical, kind of.”
The day proved magical.
Henningsson was second in slalom, then won the GS. The combined times of her two slalom and two GS runs were the lowest among 49 competitors, earning Henningsson the much-coveted girls Section 1 skimeister crown.
That win, her earlier victories and her subsequent strong performance at states (15th in slalom, 20th in GS) came with Henningsson’s attention divided.
“Almost every other week, she was going away somewhere to play golf,” Crowley said.
Describing Henningsson’s ski performance as “crazy,” Crowley said, “She’s a very, very strong and well-rounded athlete.”
None of Henningsson’s victories counted for Mamaroneck. But Henningsson, whose family is split between Sweden and the U.S., with her sister and mother, Jeanette, having returned home for jobs and her dad, Mikael, soon to follow, nevertheless, had a positive impact on the Tigers.
“She didn’t owe my girls anything but she came in as a strong leader, someone willing to teach,” Crowley said. “She exudes positive energy and is genuinely an awesome person to have on the team.”
And Henningsson, who started skiing at age 3 and competing at 6, had an awesome time.
“It was my last year of skiing. I wanted to have a great year, have fun and hang out with friends,” she said. ” It was an amazing year.”
The rest of The Journal News Westchester/Putnam girls skiing all-stars
Emily Concialdi, Sr., Yorktown
Martyna Czarnik, So., Clarkstown
Charlotte Lester, Sr., Brewster
Stefanie Yudell, Jr., Bronxville/NewRochelle
Coach of the year: Chris Reinke, North Salem/John Jay
Dakota Adamac, Sr., North Salem/John Jay
Cami Friedlaender, So., Horace Greeley
Bonnie Singh, Jr., North Salem/John Jay
Acadia Thielking, Jr., North Salem/John Jay
Sam Morgan, Sr., Horace Greeley
Honorable mention: Carleigh Ashnault, Mahopac; Tess Bedingfield, Ardsley; Jessica Bulzachelli, Carmel; Danielle Busby, Pearl River; Olivia Cantamessa, Brewster; Martyna Czarnik, Clarkstown; Alexandra Fischer, North Rockland; Emma Fruhling, Byram Hills; Anna Grunes, Croton-Harmon; Celia Haims, Bronxville; Sara Holland, Suffern; Emily Kawalski, Fox Lane; Tara Keohane, Yorktown; Kristin Lecce, Yorktown; Sophie Lester, Brewster; Paige Ludl, Fox Lane; Eleanor Lundberg, Mamaroneck; Casey Magee, North Rockland; Lauren Manning, Yorktown; Caraline McDonnell, Carmel; Kelly McPartland, Mahopac; Katie Meore, Pleasantville; Kerrianne Miller, Yorktown; Keegan O’Connor, Brewster; Mannion OConnor, Carmel; Sarah Pactor, Horace Greeley; Gillian Rosh, Yorktown; Erica Rothman, Yorktown; Carly Ryder, Carmel; Iris Serrano, Carmel; Sarah Simon, Blind Brook; Saige Sunnier, Bronxville; Cameron Swift, Scarsdale; Courtney Swift, Scarsdale; Nina Tophoff, Fox Lane; Amelia Vanessch, Ardsley; Sarah Weintraub, Scarsdale; Lyla Zegelstein, Fox Lane;