Christian Brothers Academy junior Michael Merecki outskied an old rival to take first place at the Saratoga Invitational Slalom at Willard Mountain on Monday night.
Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa junior Demi Feder was first in the girls’ race, with team titles going to Saratoga Springs for the boys and Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa for the girls.
Bolton High School’s Sean Donohue, the defending New York state slalom champ, was fifth down the course in the boys’ race. He set a fast time of 29.64 for the rest of the field to shoot for. Four racers later, Merecki put in a wild ride to best it with a 29.23.
But he then had to play a waiting game, with a number of Section II’s top skiers still to come. One of his biggest concerns was Saratoga Springs sophomore Kieran Mottau, who was skiing in his first high school competition. Mottau was an unknown quantity to some in the race, but not to Merecki.
“We raced a lot together in Vermont, so I knew he was fast,” Merecki said.
Mottau came close with a time of 29.42. That clocking held up for second place, and Donohue was able to hang on to third.
Of his own run, Merecki said, “The gates really came up quick on this course. I went through the last couple of gates on one ski.”
Complete team scores were not finalized, but Saratoga Springs was the obvious boys’ winner with a low score of 16. Joining Mattau on the winning squad were Ian Hauser, fifth, and Dan Rittenhouse ninth.
In the girls’ race, Lake George’s MacKenzie Perkett was first down the course. She posted a time of 34.49 which only two skiers managed to beat, Feder with a 33.12 for first place and Queensbury’s Julia Sante with a 34.15 for second.
Like Merecki, Feder also made it interesting.
“I skied clean at the top, but then I hip-checked right before the end,” she said. “The course was more open than I thought except for some wacky combinations, like a few weird undergates.”
Rebecca Stodgell placed fourth for Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa, with Quin Feder 16th to complete the Spartans’ scoring. Stodgell said the course suited her because “this hill is always steep and I don’t like the flats.”
The winning score might have been lower if style points counted in slalom races. Taylor Manderson, one of Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa’s top skiers, caught a ski on a slalom pole at the top of the course, and didn’t finish the race.
“I did a ‘Superman slide’ into the nets,” she said at the bottom.
Saratoga Springs 16, Bolton 36, Niskayuna 46, Queensbury 51, Johnstown 75, Stillwater 82, Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa 84, Glens Falls 95, Albany Academy 120, Schuylerville 136, Johnsburg 166, Lake George 187.
Top 10 individuals
Michael Merecki (CBA) 29.23, Kieran Mottau (Sar) 29.42, Sean Donohue (Bolton) 29.64, Kelton Donohue (Bolton) 30.20, Ian Hauser (Sar) 31.08, Ned Fiest (Nisk) 31.30, PJ Kotecki (CBA) 31.43, John Underhill (Q) 31.66, Dan Rittenhouse (Sar) 31.97, Theo Korenowski (Stillwater) 32.02.
Burnt Hills/Ballston Spa 21, Shenendehowa 33, Albany Academy 35, Saratoga Springs 43, Queensbury 48, Niskayuna 52, Bolton 88, Lake George 91, Johnsburg 95, Johnstown 114, Stillwater 134, Schuylerville 138, Glens Falls 152
Top 10 individuals
Demi Feder (BH/BS) 33.12, Julia Sante (Q) 34.15, MacKenzie Perkett (LG) 34.49, Rebecca Stodgell (B/BS) 34.83, Alex MacAffer (AA) 35.12, Julia Smith (Shen) 35.48, Kirsten Kruk (Shen) 35.99, Ellie Daly (AA) 36.03, Jackie Bielak (Holy Names) 36.36. Samantha Ballard (Q) 36.55.