Skiers of the Year
Alpine Boys: Joe Vasile’s dominance a story of perseverance
The best part about the 2016 skiing season for Webster Thomas senior Joe Vasile wasn’t so much the great results he produced, but the fact that he was able to produce them at all.
Clearly one of the most talented kids to come out of Section V in recent memory, good fortune wasn’t exactly Vasile’s wing man for a couple years.
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“This was probably my best season, just because the two seasons prior, I broke my ankle two years ago before the season, and last year I had mono coming into the season,” Vasile said. “So those two years I wasn’t really prepared to ski.”
Based on perseverance alone, Vasile was as deserving as anybody of being named All-Greater Rochester boys’ skier of the year for 2016.
The ankle injury in 2014 cost him the bulk of that season, and though he wasn’t close to his peak form, at least he was able to return in time for the sectional meet. Last year, the mono depleted him of energy all year, but he was still able to earn first-team All Monroe County honors and finish second in the Section V Class meet, plus placed fourth in the slalom and seventh in the giant slalom at the state meet on Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid.
“I skied the whole (2015) season, but it’s hard to maintain your health; you’re super tired, so I wasn’t exactly as strong as I usually am coming into the season,” he said. “I definitely wanted to step it up and perform well this year.”
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And he did. He won the slalom, giant slalom, and overall championships in the Section V Class A meet, then went to states and finished third overall, second in the slalom. A slip-up in the GS – which led to a ninth-place finish – may have cost him the overall title. Then he closed the season out by winning the overall championship in the Empire State Games, and finishing second in the High School Nationals.
What’s even more impressive than his skill on the slopes is his mastery in the classroom. Among Vasile’s college choices were Harvard, Princeton, Notre Dame and Johns Hopkins, but he ultimately chose Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he will study economics.
Vasile, who carries a 98 average, is a six-time scholar athlete award winner, a three-time winner of Thomas’ Titan Award for Academic Excellence and Citizenship
He’s not sure what his future holds for skiing. Unlike his sister, Gigi, the 2016 AGR Girls Skier of the year who is heading south next year to play lacrosse at Duke, he’ll be able to ski over there in the Boston area, but his racing days are probably over.
“I definitely want to ski, even if it’s just on the weekends,” said Vasile, who also plays for Thomas’ boys’ lacrosse team. “I take a vigorous amount of courses; I’ve always loved school. Learning is definitely a great aspect of school.”
Alpine Girls: Gigi Vasile finds peace on mountain?
It has been said that faith will move mountains, but realistically, come on, no one is moving Bristol Mountain. At least until the next glacier comes rolling through Ontario County, it’s staying right where it is, so GiGi Vasile can always come back home to ski there.
But when she’s down south playing lacrosse at Duke University after she enrolls there in the fall of 2017, there will certainly be times when she’ll long for the chance to go flying down the snow-packed trails at Bristol, or Swain, or Brantling.
“I love skiing, and I think I’ll miss it some, but I have decided to play lacrosse,” said Vasile, a junior at Webster Thomas who has already verbally committed to Duke. “I just love the team aspect of lacrosse, and skiing is more of an independent sport. In college I wanted that team aspect. Skiing I can do the rest of my life.”
Vasile, the All-Greater Rochester Girls Alpine Skier of the Year, has one more year of racing ahead of her, one more year to build on what is already a spectacular resume.
Three years running Vasile has been Section V’s top female skier in Class A as she won the giant slalom, slalom, and overall championships. She also won the overall state championships in 2014 and 2015 before placing second this year. Vasile is a two-time Monroe County league champ, a four-time scholar athlete award winner, and she won the gold medal in the 2015 Empire State Games in slalom and overall.
GiGi – her given name is Gabriella – has been on skis since she was a young child, just like her brother Joe, a senior at Webster Thomas who is the 2016 AGR Boys Skier of the Year. Their father, Joseph, grew up skiing, and the kids followed in his trail.
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“My dad skied, but my mom is from Indiana so she started skiing when we started,” GiGi said. “I think my parents knew that living in Rochester, it was going to be cold, and winters are made for skiing. I think they wanted to have something in the winter time for us to stay active.”
Her love of skiing almost pushed her toward the University of Vermont where she could have played both sports, but ultimately, playing lacrosse at one of the nation’s most prestigious schools was too much to overlook.
“I think I’ll miss it some,” Vasile said. “I was looking at (Vermont for lacrosse) and they said I could ski up to the first week of January, but after that it would have to be all lacrosse.”
She’ll leave the skis at home when she eventually makes her way down to North Carolina, and it will comfort her to know that there will always be skiing opportunities when she comes back home.
Joseph Vasile, Webster Thomas
The Section V slalom, giant slalom and overall combined champion is a three-time team MVP who placed third at the state championships to earn AGR Alpine Skier of the Year. The six-time team Scholar Athlete award winner will attend MIT.
Ryan Fries, Victor
Runner-up in giant slalom and slalom in Section V meet for the two-time Monroe County League champions, Fries placed third in giant slalom in states. The team captain and MVP placed fourth in Eastern High School Regionals.
Zach Thorp, Hilton
The Colorado State University-bound Thorp finished second in league, had four first-place finishes this past season and earned the NYS Section V Sportsmanship Award. He also played baseball and football for the Cadets.
Gabriella (GiGi) Vasile, Webster Thomas
The New York state Team Scholar Athlete swept the three Section V events (giant slalom, slalom and overall combined) for a third straight year, placed third overall in nationals and earned Alpine Skier of the Year. He has verbally committed to Duke to lay lacrosse.
Katie Carrier, Victor
The first-team all-Monroe County selection and team MVP was a member of the Section V state championship team this year.
Jane Baumer, Honeoye Falls-Lima
A member HF-L’s two-time Section V Class A championship team, she placed fifth in giant slalom and sixth in slalom at states.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Brandon Mauks, Pittsford
The former HF-L three-sport athlete finished up his eight year as head coach and 10th overall with the Pittsford program, guiding the boys team to a Section V title and a second-place showing at states to earn Coach of the Year honors.
Ally Brunell (Honeoye Falls-Lima), Olivia Blieden (Honeoye Falls-Lima), Abbey DeBruyn (Victor), Alli DiGiacomo (Victor), Lucy Haggerty (Victor), Kenzie Lupton (Canandaigua), Emma O’Neill (Canandaigua), Eric Schantz (Brighton), Morgan Sczcepkowski (Canandaigua)
John Abplanalp (Canandaigua), Max Hopfinger (Pittsford), Lyle Liam (Honeoye Falls-Lima), Brendan Lyons (Fairport), Noah Shinaman (Brighton), Jeff Swagler (East Rochester), Tanner Swagler (East Rpchester), Nick Vasile (Webster), Kyle Williamson (Pittsford)
Meet the rest of the 2015-16 AGR Winter teams
Boys Basketball | Girls Basketball | Boys Indoor Track | Girls Indoor Track | Hockey | Boys Bowling | Girls Bowling | Alpine Skiing | Nordic Skiing | Division I Wrestling | Division II Wrestling | Boys Swimming
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