NORTH CREEK — Unseasonably warm weather didn’t slow down the Section II Alpine and Nordic skiers Wednesday on the Gore Mountain ski slopes and Nordic ski bowl in North Creek.
The Shenendehowa girls’ Alpine ski team, led by Micaela Leonard’s pair of first-place finishes in the giant slalom and slalom races on Echo Trail, captured the Section II title, edging Queensbury 35-38.
The Saratoga Springs’ boys’ Alpine squad won its fourth straight Section II title, with senior Nathan Rodriquez leaving behind his own legacy.
“Our girls have historically been strong. We’ve won sectionals numerous times, but it’s been a couple years since we have,” Shenendehowa coach Rich Burmley said. “This group is all underclassmen, and when we had a couple of races that Micaela didn’t finish, our fourth girl [Danielle Paton] stepped up, which is exciting to see. It shows our depth.”
Leonard captured the morning’s giant slalom in 1 minute, 6.82 seconds, almost a full second ahead of Queensbury’s Meredith Montgomery and Schuylerville’s Taylor Dennis.
“I just really enjoyed the GS more. I was pretty happy with the way I skied, which is a bonus,” Leonard said. “It doesn’t always go as well as you’d like it.”
With a top finish in the morning, the thought of winning both events entered her mind.
“I would say that’s definitely a goal,” Leonard said. “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to win, but that’s what I would shoot for.”
The top 15 skiers were randomly placed in starting order, and the sun shined on the Plainsmen as a quartet of skiers went off in order.
“It was cool because it added more of a team aspect to it than being individual,” Burmley said. “I was able to get all four girls together and talk about the same things.”
Allison Bach led the squad down the courses, finishing sixth in the giant slalom and third in the slalom, Leonard followed with her pair of first-place finishes, with Sarah MacFarlane finishing 12th in each event. Queensbury won the giant slalom team event by four points. The Plainsmen won the slalom by seven, capturing the team title.
The Blue Streaks won its fourth title in five years. The event wasn’t held last February due to COVID-19 guidelines, allowing Rodriquez to leave behind a high bar of achievement for the Saratoga Springs underclassmen.
“I’ve been here since eighth grade and you know, to win it every single year since then, it’s just been such a great experience,” Rodriquez said. “These guys deserved every bit of it. They’ve worked their butts off, and they’re just great kids.”
Rodriguez led the Blue Streaks with a fifth-place finish in the slalom and a fourth-place run in the giant slalom.
Ballston Spa won the afternoon slalom by 16 points, but the Blue Streaks built a cushion in the morning with its 28-point lead over the Scotties.
Shenendehowa’s Braden Kruk won the afternoon slalom in 46.35 seconds.
“There was a big Royal Flush [three gates in a row], and you had to have fast feet,” Kruk said. “If you don’t have fast feet, you’re going to fall or lose speed. If you lose speed for the flats, you’re not going to have a good time.”
Broadalbin-Perth’s Colin Cotter claimed the morning’s giant slalom in 1:03.84 on a day where temperatures reached 37 degrees under bright sunshine. The event was moved ahead to Wednesday with Thursday’s forecast of 49 degrees and 95% chance of rain, wiping out any racing on the mountain.
A little patience on Cotter’s part paid off as the five skiers in front of him didn’t complete the course.
“The course was a little bit quicker than we were used to, but it was fun,” Cotter said. “A lot of the kids were having trouble making it through the finish, so I knew I had to make it through the finish line to count.”
Cotter finished second in the afternoon in the slalom, edged by Shenendehowa’s Kruk.
Down the road from the Gore Mountain slopes, Queensbury captured the boys’ and girls’ Nordic titles, with the Scotia-Glenville boys’ team still smiling with its second-place finish.
“We didn’t have our first practice on the snow until Jan. 12, but they put a lot of time in with dry-land training. They’ve been climbing and getting better,” Tartan coach Jared Linck said. “I think everyone has gotten better all season long. This is a culmination of a lot of hard work and effort.”
Queensbury earned the boys’ team title with 17 points, Scotia-Glenville finished with 31, edging Mayfield with 32. The Queensbury girls’ 24 points led both Shenendehowa and Glens Falls, which each had 32 points. The Plainsmen were awarded second place via a tiebreaker.
“We knew that it would be close for both the boys’ and girls’ and they just needed to buckle down and stay focused,” Queensbury coach Paul Allison said. “You remind them that it’s just another race, not to psych themselves out. We were fortunate today, they raced really well as a team.”
Section II Alpine championships
at Gore Mountain
Saratoga Springs 61, Ballston Spa 73, Shenendehowa 74, CBA 109, Johnstown 111, Stillwater 118, Broadalbin-Perth 123, Queensbury 142, Niskayuna 167, Albany Academy 211, Glens Falls 243, Schuylerville 273.
Giant slalom results
Cotter (BP), 1:03.84; Phelps (BS), 1:05.51; Paton (CBA), 1:05.59; Rodriguez (SS), 1:05.62; Montgomery (Q), 1:06.19; Kruk (Shen), 1:06.33; Miller (Shen), 1:06.68; Evans (BS), 1:07.79; Fraser (AA), 1:08.15; Parobeck (SS), 1:08.80.
Kruk (Shen), 46.35; Cotter (BP), 46.40; Montgomery (Q), 46.62; Phelps (BS), 48.21; Rodriguez (SS), 49.22; Evans (BS), 49.27; Keneston (BS), 49.43, Cheney (JST), 49.56; Skufca (N), 51.04; Fraser (AA), 51.58.
Shenendehowa 35, Queensbury 38, Schuylerville 82, Saratoga Springs 85, Broadalbin-Perth 122, Johnstown 124, Glens Falls 147, Emma Willard 158, Ballston Spa 161, Niskayuna 207, Lake George 277.5, Albany Academy 281.
Giant slalom results
Leonard (Shen), 1.06.82; Montgomery (Q), 1:07.70; Dennis (Schy), 1:08.38; Czimbal (BS), 1:08.53; Ward (Q), 1:09.71; Bach (Shen), 1:10.08; Dock (GF), 1:10.33; Bauer (Q), 1:11.82; Buhac (EW), 1:11.93; Gamage (Schy), 1:12.71.
Leonard (Shen), 52.35; Montgomery (Q), 52.87; Bach (Shen), 53.48; Czimbal (BS), 54.67; Dennis (Schy), 55.32; Kruggel (J), 56.09; Dock (GF), 56.75; Ward (Q), 56.98; Nolett (BP), 57.29; Villiere (SS), 57.30.
Section II Nordic championships
at Gore Mountain Ski Bowl
Queensbury 17, Scotia-Glenville 31, Mayfield 32, Shenendehowa 36, Johnsburg 54, Johnstown 73, Guilderland 80, Lake George 83, Saratoga Springs 128, Hadley-Luzerne Inc; Glens Falls Inc.
Jenkin (Q), 27:05.9; Matthews (Shen), 28:40.4; Slingerland (GF), 28:42.8; Jansen (SG), 29:45.4; Jourden (M), 30:50.6; Williams (M), 31:12.2; Russell (Q), 31:33.8; Anderson (Jbg), 31:38.8; Giambrone (Q), 31:40.5; Bednarek (SG), 32:04.1.
Queensbury 24, Shenendehowa 32, Glens Falls 32, Guilderland 44, Saratoga Springs 55, Johnsburg 77, Johnstown Inc, Mayfield Inc, Hadley-Luzerne Inc, Scotia-Glenville Inc, Lake George Inc.
Schreiner (HL), 21:02.3; Avery (GF), 21:27.7; Guay (Q), 22:36.5; Halloran (M), 22:41.0; Smith (SG), 23:08.8; Landa (Shen), 23:11.6; Murray (SS), 23:16.0; Afsar-Keshmiri (Q), 23:35.2; Wiedman (Shen), 23:47.1; Trackey (GF), 25:00.7.