When Wahconah announced in September the return of its Alpine skiing program, Matt Geyer said he was "pumped."

Geyer will need to find a new superlative after qualifying for the state championships on Monday.

"I'm pretty excited especially since its the first year," Geyer said. "It's really awesome."

Geyer finished 10th in Berkshire County, failing to finish just one race -- the first one of the year. His results steadily improved from that giant slalom, rising all the way to fifth in Monday's slalom.

The junior now moves on to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association's Alpine championships on Feb. 26 at Berkshire East Ski Area in Charlemont.

"It is quite unbelievable," said Warriors coach Jill Johnson. "To represent Wahconah that way is a huge bonus for us, for the school. I'm hoping that'll give other kids that want to ski for us an incentive to ski for Wahconah. We can push this forward."

Geyer's qualification for the state race exceeds the expectations Warriors athletic director Ken Pease set when he brought the team back this fall.

"I thought it was a great accomplishment," Pease said. "We just wanted our kids to go out and have fun and learn. Matt, with his experience, has really helped pave the way for the younger kids."

Geyer started the season thinking he might have a chance to finish in one of the top 14 spots that move on to state. He had raced competitively three or four years before, and when he got back on the slopes he slowly felt old habits come back to him.


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Still, his season got off to a rough start. Geyer finished the first race of the year only to have his time erased by a power outage at Bousquet Ski Area that canceled the race. He crashed in the makeup.

"It was disappointing, but I've been skiing my whole life," Geyer said. "That stuff happens."

Geyer was in the top 15 in the next two giant slaloms but really started to rise when the season turned to slalom racing. He got a new pair of skis for Christmas, but said they "didn't click." He exchanged for a different pair and took off.

Geyer never finished outside the top 10 in three slalom races, ending the season with that fifth-place finish.

"It was so exhilarating," he said. "There's always that time right after you finish, you got adrenaline going crazy. As soon as they say [your time], you're like ‘Wow, that's awesome.' I heard it, I was just so pumped. I texted my friends about it."

Geyer could have even bigger news to share with friends and family in a couple of weeks. He said he's just going to go all-out and see what happens.

"Totally go for it," Johnson said. "What'd you have to lose there? It's just a huge experience. You're setting the pace for Wahconah. You're our first guy going. You're our trendsetter."

To reach Christopher James:
cjames@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6252.
On Twitter: @BECJ2K