Sergio Von Doppelmayr.

That’s Maguire Anuszewski’s nickname and how many know the reigning Mountain Valley Conference alpine skiing champion from Winthrop High School. In fact, Ramblers ski coach Tim Lavallee barely recognizes his real name.

“When I first coached him I kept calling him Mackenzie and somebody said to me, ‘Hey, you know his name is Maguire,'” Lavallee said this week. “I felt so bad. I apologized to him over and over. I told him I’m a great one for nicknames.”

And that’s how the Sergio Von Doppelmayr nickname was born. For Winthrop junior Anuszewski, who was eager for Lavallee to slap just such a moniker on him, he can also be called the Kennebec Journal Boys Alpine Skier of the Year. Maranacook’s Robbie McKee was also considered.

Anuszewski, who qualified for the team that represented Maine at the Eastern high school skiing championships earlier this month, wasn’t exactly the model of a future skiing prospect when he was younger.

“The first time I saw him, he was snowplowing his way down the hill,” Lavallee said.

He may not have been naturally gifted or an ace on the slopes the first time he hit them, but what Anuszewski did have was a genuine love for the sport and a willingness to do whatever it took to get better.

“I think I was about 4 when I started to ski, but it was only recently — maybe when I was in fifth grade — that I started skiing every weekend and really loving the sport,” Anuszewski said. “I remember at Lost Valley one night, I had butterflies in my stomach going down the (big) course for the first time, and it was the coolest feeling ever. Next year I signed up for a racing program, and I’ve loved it ever since.”

Those butterflies are long gone and have been replaced by screaming muscles, aching joints and the general soreness that comes with a rigorous offseason training regimen dedicated almost exclusively to building better balance. The work paid off in a big way this winter.

Anuszewski won the MVC slalom championship by more than four seconds (based on the times of two combined runs at Black Mountain), and finished second overall in the giant slalom.

Ironically, giant slalom is where he feels he skis the best. He missed out on the fastest overall GS run at the MVC meet by just 0.02 seconds.

“My slalom has come a really long way. Technically, my skiing is leaps and bounds better,” said Anuszewski, who actually skipped a couple of midseason giant slalom races in order to focus on slalom training runs at the facility at Kents Hill. “Tactically, I still haven’t gotten it completely figured out. Physically, strength-wise, I’m stronger than I’ve been in any season before. I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in.”

There have been challenges for Anuszewski. Aside from his relatively late start to ski racing in middle school, he’s a bit of a one-man band. He is the only varsity skier at Winthrop, for either the boys or girls teams.

While his coach sees that lack of teammates as an obstacle en route to improvement, Anuszewski sees his time with the Maranacook and Mt. Abram teams in training as the building of an untraditional team.

“The kids I trained with really became my teammates,” he said. “They really became my teammates and my support group for training and racing and all of that. The only bad part about not being on a team is we can’t score as a team (at meets). But this way, I was training with great kids and racing with them, too.”

Next season, as a senior, Lavallee says Anuszewski’s ceiling is exceptionally high. He should be a favorite to with both the slalom and giant slalom in the MVC, potentially win a state championship in either of the events and again qualify for Easterns and finish higher than his 35th-place effort this season.

For Anuszewski, there’s little stopping him.

“He’s dedicated. He has tremendous drive and an unbelievable work ethic,” Lavallee said. “Perseverance. Extremely coachable. He’s a coach’s dream.”

“The mental aspect of skiing is huge, no doubt,” Anuszewski said. “It’s whoever is willing to go for it. Whoever takes the straightest line, wants to go fastest, is able to go straightest and not have any big bobbles is usually going to win.”

This season, when it mattered, Anuszewski — or, Sergio Von Doppelmayr as the case may be — was one of those skiers.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC