When the high school ski season began, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake
senior Erika Swits had her sights set on a top-five finish at the New York State High School Skiing Championships.
The Alpine portion of the two-day meet at Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid is only half over, and Swits has already achieved her goal, and then some.
On Tuesday, Swits skied to the top step on the podium in the
giant slalom on the Olympic mountain, finishing ahead of Kim Geary of Irondequoit (Section V) and Kathryn Helming of Canandaigua (Section V).
It was a bit of a nail-biter.
After the first run, Swits was in second place, a half-second behind Hannah Williams of Brighton (Section V). Williams was one of the pre-race favorites, having been the runner-up in both slalom and
giant slalom at the state meet a year ago.
The top 15 skiers started the second run in reverse order of their first-run finish, meaning Swits was next to last and Williams was the last to go in that group.
“When I came down on the second run, everyone told me I had the best time and was winning, but I still had to wait for Hannah, and she ended up falling,” Swits said.
“I was so estatic, because I’ve won high school races, but this was the entire state, so it’s really pretty cool.”
Five other Section II girls placed in the top 20. Paige Chardavoyne of Holy Names was fifth, Kelly Blackhurst of Johnsburg was 10th, Melissa Dombroski of Shenendehowa was 16th, Kelsey Cioffi of Niskayuna was 17th and Jesse Burdette of Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake was 20th.
Ben Jesmer of Canandaigua won the boys’ race. He was followed in order by two other Section V skiers, Dan Halligan and Nate Fultz of Pittsford-Sutherland.
Tim Hughes of Queensbury, skiing with a cast on his hand, was Section II’s top skier, finishing sixth. Other top-20 skiers for Section II were John Bennett of Queensbury, seventh; Paul Dreyer of Saratoga Springs, eighth; Will Dreyer of Saratoga Springs, 11th; Connor Lee of Niskayuna, 15th; Kirby Daly of Albany Academy, 17th; and Steve Brown of Shenendehowa, 18th.
WYNN FIRST IN NORDIC
Queensbury skiers dominated the cross country races at Mt. VanHoevenburg.
Freshman Carly Wynn of Queensbury, the pre-race favorite, won the girls’ skate race with a time of 22:35, easily beating out Natalie Busby of New Paltz (Section IX), who skied in at 23:25. Wynn’s teammate, Shannon Mulshine, was third in 23:48. Queensbury had four other skiers in the top 15 — Danielle Winslow, fourth; Julianne LaJoie, seventh; Chelsea O’Reilly, ninth; and Maddie Bishop, 11th. Holly Osowiecki of Johnsburg was 13th.
Nick Mancuso of New Paltz in Section IX was the boys’ cross country winner. He finished with a time of 25:47. One minute back, with a time of 26:48, was Alex Benway of Queensbury. He was followed by fellow Spartan Matt Flint, who had a time of 26:52.
Three other Queensbury skiers made the top 15 — Kevin Sprague, sixth; Pat Carroll, ninth; and John Williams, 12th. Steve Veldman and Pete Morehouse of Johnsburg finished 10th and 11th respectively. Steve Petramale of Lake George was 13th, and Dan Stevens of
Scotia-Glenville was 14th.
At the end of the first day of competition, Section II is leading Section V in both boys’ and girls’ Nordic. Queensbury has the lead in boys’ and girls’ Nordic school scoring, with Honeoye Falls-Lima second in both.
On the schedule today are slalom races at Whiteface and relay races at Mt. VanHoevenburg. Heavy snow falling through the night is expected to cause a delay of the start times.