State Skiing: Ski champions celebrate late

The girls’ on the Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa Alpine ski team were celebrating in the parking lot of a

The girls’ on the Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa Alpine ski team were celebrating in the parking lot of a McDonald’s parking lot along the Northway on Wednesday evening.

And why not?

When they started home from the State High School Skiing Championships at Whiteface Mountain, they thought they had finished second by a single point in the two-day meet.

During the drive, they got the good news on a cell phone. There was a scoring error, and they were the state Alpine champs.

The final day of competition wound down Wednesday with a giant slalom at Whiteface and Nordic relay races at Mount Van Hoevenberg. Queensbury’s Aaron Newell won the boys’ combined Nordic title, Section II captured the boys’ relay and Nordic crowns, and Queensbury finished first among boys’ Nordic teams.

The girls’ Alpine competition was a cliff-hanger. After Tuesday’s slalom, Pittsford Mendon of Section V was in first place with 68 points, Warwick (Section IX) was second with 58, followed by Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa with 52. Following Wednesday’s giant slalom, results were handed out showing that Mendon had won the Alpine combined with 123 points, followed by Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa with 122.

Section II coaches spotted a scoring error which made the difference.

Pittsford Mendon had been awarded 55 points in the giant slalom, when the team should have had only 45.

When the scores were recalculated, Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa was first with 122, Warwick was second with 117 and Pittsford Mendon was third with 113.

“It’s exciting, overwhelming, actually,” said Demi Feder. “It feels amazing.”

Feder finished second in Tuesday’s slalom to lead Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa in scoring. Second out of the gate on Wednesday, she was hit by a snowstorm.

“Visibility was pretty bad, and there was a lot of powder on the course,” she said. She wound up 19th in the race. Her sister, Morgan, finished eighth.

“Lucky for me, by the time I went, it had cleared up,” Morgan said. “It was really icy, so it was really fast.”

Rebecca Stodgell finished two spots behind Morgan in 10th place for the winners. She skied with a broken nose suffered when she hit a slalom pole in Tuesday’s race. That didn’t slow her down on Wednesday.

“I took a lot of Advil,” she said.

Taylor Manderson finished 16th for the winners.

“It was a team effort,” she said. “We knew we had to step it up today, and that helped us in the end.”

The race was won by Taylor Burgart of Honeoye Halls-Lima (Section V), who also won Tuesday’s slalom and both races last year.

Samantha Ballard of Queensbury, in fifth place, was the top Section II girl. She was in eighth place after the first run, but moved up with the fifth-fastest second run.

Deirdre Howard and Sierra Spring of Saratoga Springs finished 17th and 18th, respectively, while Queensbury skiers Julia Sante and Olivia Paolano were 21st and 25th. MacKenzie Perkett of Lake George placed 28th.

Kelton Donohue of Bolton was the top Section II skier in the boys’ giant slalom, finishing sixth overall after placing eighth in both runs.

Other Section II skiers in the top 30 were Sean Donohue of Bolton, 12th; Mike Merecki of CBA, 13th; Dan Rittenhouse of Saratoga, 14th; John Underhill of Queensbury, 25th; Teigue Donohue of Saratoga, 27th; and Peter Gryga of Queensbury, 28th. Patrick Burke of Goshen (IX) was the winner.

Saratoga was second in team scoring, finishing with 130 points to winner Pittsford Sutherland’s 146. Along with Rittenhouse and Teigue Donohue, Evan Connolly also scored for Saratoga with a 39th-place finish.

Queensbury’s Newell followed up his win in the Nordic 10K classical race on Tuesday by skiing the fastest relay split time of the day.

Joining him on the winning relay team were schoolmates Nick Underwood, Mike Mulshine and Will Frielinghaus. A team comprised of Willie Underwood of Lake George, Brett Schlesier of Johnstown, Austin Huneck of Shenendehowa and Brian Halligan of Saratoga finished fourth. In ninth place was a team made up of Avery Francois and Alex Gilgore of Scotia-Glenville, Seth Mares of Saratoga and Andrew Klug of Guilderland.

In the girls’ relay, Emma Underwood of Lake George, Chloe Boutelle of Saratoga, Ashley Forshey of Scotia-Glenville and Kate Mulcahy of Glens Falls comprised a Section II team that finished second to Section V.

An all-Queensbury team with Gabby Lebihan, Abby Hellman, Megan Kellogg and Brittany Winslow was fifth, and a team of Katie Zeppetelli of Scotia-Glenville, Becky Christoffel of Shenendehowa, Lidija Nikollaj of Mayfield and Maddie Sawyer of Glens Falls was eighth.

In boys’ Alpine, Section II was third with 822 points, behind Section V (924) and Section IX (859). Section V also won girls’ Alpine with a two-day total of 950. Section II was second with 856, followed by Section I with 744.

In girls’ Nordic, Section V was first with 843 points, followed by Section II with 793. Honeoye Falls-Lima was the top girls’ Nordic squad with 143 points. Queensbury was next with 123.

Section II won the boys’ Nordic with a two-day total of 847. Section V was next with 835. Queensbury’s boys topped Honeoye Falls-Lima, 150-128.

Categories: High School Sports

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