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Paul Lahiff has a problem most folks would love to have: "If I just sit around and do nothing, I'm probably going to lose around five pounds."

So the Staples senior continues his struggle to keep adding bulk during the skiing offseason by maintaining a steady routine in the weight room. When Lahiff wore the gear of a two-year captain for the Wreckers' boys ski team, he had about 160 pounds attached to his 5-foot-8 frame.

Wherever he ends up skiing in college, the hope is to have five to ten extra pounds of muscle to help him power through any obstacles a course could throw at him.

"You definitely feel like some of the bigger guys have the advantage on a lot of the mountains," Lahiff said. "In a lot of races it gets kind of slushy and to have that extra mass, it helps you push through there. There are a lot of the races where you'll see the top five guys are just the biggest ones because they can get through it."

It was a little more than a month ago when Lahiff helped lead the Wreckers to a third-place finish at the State Open in Mount Southington with a team-best 12th place time with two combined runs of 51.91. The memories seem much fresher than a month old to Lahiff, following a disappointing 12th place team finish in the same event a year before.

"I can't express how happy all the guys were we thought about it and we counted all the scores up and we had ourselves in fourth.... and for us to get third and kind of get in that podium position was really great, the greatest surprise ever because we weren't expecting it," Lahiff said.

With his high school skiing career behind him, Lahiff has been able to spend more time thinking about where he will go to college and -- at this point--major in physics. As of last week, he had been accepted to the University of Massachusetts, the University of Connecticut and Syracuse University. He was still awaiting word from Boston College and Colgate University.

Wherever he chooses, he will try out for that school's club team, which would be associated with the United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboarding Association. Although there are only a small amount of NCAA-affiliated ski programs, there are close to 100 club teams.

"That's where I want to end up because in that type of setting you get some schools that are just doing it for fun and you get some really competitive schools and you get a nice mix, too," Lahiff said, who learned how to ski at Gore Mountain in North Creek, N.Y., when he was 3.

Another option would be to try to walk on at Boston College's NCAA team during his junior or senior season. Staples Coach Jon Shepro said that Lahiff, who he called an "an example of how a senior should behave on a team with a lot of underclassmen," has the attitude and work ethic needed to be a successful competitive collegiate skier.

"Paul has been skiing for most of his life and has probably continued to get better by leaps and bounds," Shepro said. "That happens when you're his age, but you've got to put in as twice as much effort to get half as good at the college level and the competition is so much more. He'll get up there if he wants it. There's no doubt in my mind he can do it. He's just going to have to double the effort and the work outs."