QUEENSBURY — Saratoga Springs senior Alpine skier Avery Waters knows West Mountain, the slopes, the terrain and how to race fast.
She made her first career varsity start Wednesday night for the Blue Streaks, taking home a first-place and a runner-up individual finish at the Niskayuna Invitational.
“It’s been so much fun so far,” Waters said. “I love the environment and all my teammates. We just pump each other up, focus in and hammer it every time. That’s the mindset.”
Previously, Waters spent her winters attending Northwood School in Lake Placid as part of the New York Ski Educational program before returning to Saratoga Springs High School for the spring semester and playing girls’ lacrosse.
She posted the top time on her first run, 30.72 seconds down the West Mountain giant slalom course.
“It is always a feel-good thing knowing that you were able to come down and have the fastest time,” Waters said. “It’s a nice sense of accomplishment.”
In the second run of the night, she was beat by Shenendehowa’s Micaela Leonard for the top spot.
“But I still had a lot of fun tonight, which is all that matters,” Waters said.
The Blue Streaks finished first in team scoring for Wednesday’s first race, while Ballston Spa took first place in the evening’s second race. Wednesday’s competitors were each able to complete two runs on the grand slalom course since the night’s event was limited to girls’ teams. In an effort to reduce the number of individuals on buses as teams compete amid the COVID-19 pandemic, each Alpine event this season is either for boys or girls.
Saratoga Springs coach Megan Beck was familiar with Waters as a mountain skier at Whiteface and welcomed the top-level talent to the Blue Streak squad for this season.
“It’s not always a guaranteed thing, but it’s nice to have somebody that’s consistent, that you know most likely is going to post a top-five finish,” Beck said. “It’s great and Avery is such a great kid, too. She’s a pleasure to have on the team.”
As a senior, Waters wants to make the most of it.
“I’d love to go home with a chip [title],” Waters said. “It’s time for the Saratoga girls to bring home a chip — and the boys, bring it home both sides. I think that’s what we need in a year of not great things.”
Ballston Spa placed three skiers in the top 10 in the second race with Claire Felton’s third along with Sara Phelps and Mallory Czimbal finishing seventh and eighth, respectively.
“I think the girls were disappointed that they didn’t get first on the first run, and the girls persevered and skied really, really great,” Ballston Spa coach Mitch Huff said.
Felton finished third on both runs in the first varsity meet of the year.
“I think I could have skied a little better, but the snow was great, the course was really good,” Felton said.
Saratoga Springs 21, Ballston Spa 22, Shenendehowa 25, Queensbury 39, Johnstown 47, Schenectady 52, Niskayuna 90, Albany Academy 154.5, Broadalbin-Perth inc., Lake George inc., Stillwater inc., Taconic Hills inc.
Waters (Sara), 30.72; Micaela (Shen), 31.22; Felton (BSpa), 31.36; Montgomery (Q), 31.86; Fleming (J), 32.47; Phelps (BSpa), 32.74; Bach (Shen), 32.95; Dennis (Sche), 33.19; Kelly (Sara), 33.21; Howard (TH), 33.22.
Ballston Spa 18, Shenendehowa 19, Saratoga 34, Queensbury 41, Johnstown 46, Schenectady 52, Niskayuna 100, Albany Academy 135, Broadalbin-Perth inc., Lake George inc., Stillwater inc., Taconic Hills inc.
Leonard, (Shen), 30.86; Waters (Sara), 31.14; Felton (BSpa), 31.76; Montgomery (Q), 32.20; Bach (Shen), 32.83; Fleming (J), 32.93; Phelps (BSpa), 33.16; Czimbal (BSpa), 33.30; Howard (TH), 33.32; Bauer (Q), 33.49.