QUEENSBURY — When Hannah Klingebiel took to the starting gate Tuesday afternoon at West Mountain for her slalom run at the Section II Alpine ski championships, the Schuylerville senior star was ready to ski with a vengeance.
Klingebiel’s hope of repeating as a Section II champion in both Alpine disciplines disappeared during the morning’s giant slalom session, when she lost one of her poles during the race before managing to take fifth behind Shenendehowa’s Micaela Leonard.
“I was ready for the afternoon and to come back,” Klingebiel said. “It made me mad. I was ready.”
As the eighth skier down the hill in the slalom, Klingebiel set a blistering pace to finish in 55.43 seconds. It was barely a minute later when she got her closest challenge as Leonard barreled down the course looking to double up, but Leonard came in just behind at 55.48 seconds and nobody else approached Klingebiel’s time.
“It was so close. I was kind of nervous, because the snow was weird,” said Klingebiel, who won the 2018 state slalom championship. “I was late on one gate and lost some time, but I was happy about the run.”
“Having someone be so close to you, it’s kind of a nail-biter,” Leonard said. “The tiniest thing could’ve made a difference, but I was all right with it.”
Ballston Spa claimed the girls’ team championship in dominant fashion. The boys’ team title went to Saratoga Springs, which also got an individual crown in the slalom from Matthew Moeckel. Queensbury’s Hunter Montgomery, the defending state champion in both boys’ events, won the giant slalom in the morning, but did not finish his slalom run in the afternoon — nor did Saratoga Springs’ Tyler Munter, the runner-up behind Montgomery in the giant slalom.
Klingebiel, who was second in the slalom and third in the giant slalom at the 2019 state championships while still making her way back from a broken wrist, was happy to rebound in the slalom after her morning mishap.
She hooked a gate on a flat section of the course dubbed the “Gnar-Wall” and lost a pole, making her navigation of the remainder of the race more than a bit awkward.
“You’re off-balance, and when you go to pole plant, there’s nothing there,” she said. “It was really awkward, but I finished.”
Leonard started two spots after Klingebiel in the giant slalom and obliterated the course, with her winning time of 53.73 seconds beating runner-up Claire Felton of Ballston Spa by more than a second.
“Coming down, seeing your time and having it be good and being happy with it, it’s just a bonus,” Leonard said.
Ballston Spa easily topped Shenendehowa for the girls’ team championship. Ballston Spa had three of the top four giant slalom finishers in Felton, Sara Phelps and Mallory Czimbal. In the slalom, Phelps was third, Felton was fourth and Margaret Lyon was seventh.
“All season long, they were very consistent,” Ballston Spa coach Mitch Huff said. “It was a total team effort. No doubt.”
In the boys’ races, after Queensbury’s Montgomery earned the giant slalom title in the morning, the afternoon slalom runs were filled with chaos. With fog blanketing the slopes, 29 of the 73 starters either did not finish the race or were disqualified after the fact, including original second-place finisher Braden Kruk of Shenendehowa.
Moeckel skied a clean run, with his winning time of 47.43 seconds besting runner-up Colin Cotter of Johnstown by nearly two full seconds and helping Saratoga Springs capture the team championship ahead of Ballston Spa.
“It was a little difficult to see, but once you get past that you can let your instincts take over a little bit. It was cool,” Moeckel said.
“They kind of crushed it,” Saratoga Springs coach Megan Beck said. “The depth of the team pulled through today. They were awesome.”
Racing was delayed for more than 30 minutes during the morning session after Shenendehowa’s Brandon Sherwood had to be helped off the course by the ski patrol following a crash into the protective netting along the course. Shenendehowa coach Rich Burnley said Sherwood suffered a knee injury that will end his ski season, but was not more seriously injured.
Saratoga Springs 31, Ballston Spa 63, Christian Brothers Academy 89, Glens Falls 104, Shenendehowa 110.5, Niskayuna 114, Johnstown 124, Lake George 130.5, Stillwater/Cambridge 159, Schuylerville 196.
Matthew Moeckel (Sara) 47.43, Colin Cotter (John) 49.30, Ethan Huff (BS) 49.50, Nathan Rodriguez (Sara) 49.82, Brody Keneston (BS) 50.39, Marc Casabonne (LG) 52.57, William Fraser (Sara) 52.93, Mike Wright (Schu) 53.04, Brady Miller (Shen) 53.61, Evan Toman (CBA) 55.48, Colby Geer (Nisk) 55.57, Kieran Dowd (GF) 56.52, Evan Skufca (Nisk) 57.15, Addison Sperry (GF) 57.41, Ben Palmer (GF) 58.18.
Hunter Montgomery (Qby) 50.93, Tyler Munter (Sara) 51.21, Moeckel 53.11, Cotter 53.24, Huff 53.71, Casabonne 54.20, Evan Phelps (BS) 54.97, Miller 55.53, Redmond 56.36, Geer 56.61, Tyler Spaulding (Qby) 56.63, Wright 57.32, Carter Cheney (John) 57.35, Fraser 57.93, Palmer 59.30.
State meet team
Montgomery, Toman, Wright, Cotter, Braden Kruk (Shen), Munter, Moeckel, Huff, Rodriguez, Cassabonne, Phelps (alternate).
Ballston Spa 23.5, Shenendehowa 47.5, Schuylerville 91.5, Saratoga Springs 92, Johnstown 94, Queensbury 111.5, Glens Falls 142, Emma Willard 143, Niskayuna 231, Broadalbin-Perth 293, Albany Academy 328.
Hannah Klingebiel (Schuy) 55.43, Micaela Leonard (Shen) 55.48, Sara Phelps (BS) 56.05, Claire Felton (BS) 58.45, Allison Bach (Shen) 1:01.59, Taylor Dennis (Schuy) 1:01.85, Margaret Lyon (BS) 1:02.48, Nikki Buhac (EW) 1:02.63, Lucy Daly (Sara), 1:03.51, Robin Kruggel (John) 1:03.66, Megan Phelps (Sara) 1:04.62, Sarah MacFarlane (Shen) 1:04.80, Alex Sperry (GF) 1:05.32, Taryn Ringer (John) 1:05.35, Tegan Kelly (Sara) 1:05.74.
Leonard 53.73, Felton 54.89, S. Phelps 55.35, Mallory Czimbal (BS) 55.51, Klingebiel 55.51, Meredith Montgomery (Qby) 56.77, Kruggel 56.79, Daly 57.10, Buhac 57.23, Claire Howard (TH) 57.48, Dennis 57.57, Kiley Rose (Shen) 58.38, Lindsay Bauer (Qby) 58.38, Kelly 58.85, MacFarlane 59.48.
State meet team
Klingebiel, Felton, Leonard, S. Phelps, Montgomery, Czimbal, Kruggel, Bach, Howard, Daly, Buhac, Vera-Mae Kraev (Sara, alternate).
Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @Adam_Shinder.