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State Champion Spotlight: Thomas Lesniak

Our next state champion spotlight is Thomas Lesniak of Falmouth.  He won the Class A Slalom state meet.  We asked about his state meet preparations and his favorite thing about ski racing.

 1) What were your preparations leading up to the state meet?

Preparation essentially began at the end of the 2013/2014 season.  Off-snow training and an ambitious mindset are of paramount importance to successful on-snow performance.  Physically, maintaining a rigorous exercise routine leading up to the season enabled me to gain the strength needed to execute my talent to the best of my ability in each and every racecourse.  As far as mental preparation is concerned, I would tell myself repeatedly at the top of each course that I was the fastest racer there and believed it every time.  This served me well considering the successes which I attained this season: Class A state champion and the first seed for Maine’s Alpine Eastern Team just to name a few. 

2) How did you deal with the pressure and emotions that come along with competing in a state meet?

 A great deal of pressure is inevitable given the inherently competitive nature of alpine ski racing.  The best competitors approach each run with utmost confidence in spite of any adversities.  For example, at this year’s WMC Championships, I had lost the first run of the slalom race by a deficit of approximately 0.60 seconds.  Rather than feeling sorry for myself, I tackled the second run aggressively with self-confidence and a clear intent of winning.  I emerged victorious with a combined 2.00-second lead over the second place finisher.  Ski racing is a much of a mental game is it is a physical one.  By applying this same mindset during the state meet, I was able to win by a nearly three-second margin.   

3) What is your favorite thing about ski racing?  Do you prefer slalom or giant slalom?

I love the competitive aspect associated with ski racing.  For each race I lost this season, I trained that much harder afterward to win the next one.  Maine has slew of talented alpine racers in high school with whom I compete, which makes each race a true challenge to win.  Being a good competitor, however, is a matter of resilience.  For example, going into my sophomore year, I underwent knee surgery for a ruptured ACL and torn meniscus.  I persevered and ultimately thrived throughout the recovery process, following which I experienced the two most successful seasons of my racing career.   

As far as my favorite event, I prefer slalom for its more technical nature.  Perfect form and balance are critical to success in this event, which I continually strive to master. 

4) Coming into the season, what were your goals and did you achieve them?

My goal was to become a state champion and to secure a spot among the top seeds of Maine’s Eastern High School Team.  I achieved a gold metal in the slalom event at states and the top seed for the Maine Team.  I look forward to attaining even more success next year!