There were a number of firsts at the Niskayuna Giant Slalom Invitational at West Mountain on Wednesday night.
For the Donohue brothers of Bolton High School, it was their first 1-2 finish in a high school competition. Kelton, a junior, took the win with Sean, a senior, close behind in second place.
For Taylor Manderson of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa ski team, it was her first win in a Section II ski competition.
And for the Queensbury High School girls’ Alpine squad, which edged out Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa by three points, it was their first team victory of the season. Third Place went to Albany Academy.
On the boys’ side, Saratoga placed first for the third time this season, with Queensbury second and Bolton third.
In the boys’ race, Sean Donohue, fifth to start, posted a time of 26.33 for the rest of the top skiers to shoot for. Two racers later, Queensbury’s John Underhill came down with a solid looking run in 26.96. Sar-atoga’s Ian Hauser then skied into second behind Sean Donohue with a 26.81 clocking. Then Kelton, two racers later, put down a scorcher which was .03 faster than his brother. That dropped Hauser to third and Underhill to fourth.
In a conversation after the race, the Donohues said they had gone 1-2 in ski races before, but not in Section II. Sean said the course was good, considering the warm weather and soft snow.
“There were just a few ruts,” he said, “but I don’t like short courses like this one, because if you make one little mistake, you don’t have a chance to make it up.”
Did he make one little mistake?
“Obviously, he did, because I won,” his brother said with a grin.
Saratoga had three skiers in the top-10 to take the team win. Dan Rittenhouse tied for fifth, and Kieran Mottau came in seventh.
In the girls’ race, Queensbury’s Julia Sante, wearing bib number six, put up a 27.77 clocking that was fastest at that point. When pre-race favorite Demi Feder didn’t top it a few skiers later (her time was 28.54), things got interesting. Things got more interesting when Sante’s teammate, Samantha Ballard, clocked a 27.80, making a Spartan 1-2 finish look like a possibility.
But a few minutes later Manderson, a Ballston Spa senior, stepped up to take the win with a time of 27.71. Her previous best this season was a second in slalom at the Shenendehowa Invitational.
After the race, Manderson said winning her first high school race was “Awesome.”
“It makes me feel accomplished,” she said. She was ready for the soft snow because she had trained on the same hill with the same conditions on Tuesday. “It was a fun course for me. Every turn gave you something different, so it was good.”
Did she wax differently for the soft snow?
“I’m not sure,” she said. “My dad waxes my skis.”
With Sante second and Ballard third in the girls’ race, Queensbury needed one other skier well-placed to take the team title. That skier was Katie Zilka, who landed 13th with a time of 28.75.
Saratoga 16, Queensbury 31, Bolton 26, Niskayuna 38, Albany Academy 55, Shenendehowa 64, Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa 82, Johnstown 93, Glens Falls 94, Stillwater 121, Johnsburg 139, Lake George 183
Top 10 individuals: Kelton Donohue (BOL) 26.30, Sean Donohue (BOL) 26.33, Ian Hauser (SAR) 26.81, John Underhill (Q) 26.96, Dan Rittenhouse (SAR) and PJ Kotecki (CBA) 27.08, (tie); Ned Feist (NISK) 27.19, Kieran Mottau (SAR) 27.28, Phillip Weeber (NISK) 27.47, Michael Merecki (CBA) 27.90.
Queensbury 18, Burnt Hills-Ballston Spa 21, Albany Academy and Niskayuna 37 (Albany Academy third with a tie breaker) Saratoga 43, Shenendehowa 69, Lake George 104, Johnsburg 109, Johnstown 114, Bolton 141, Glens Falls 157, Schuylerville 177, Stillwater 178.
Top 10 individuals: Taylor Manderson (BH-BS) 27.71, Julia Sante (Q) 27.77, Samantha Ballard (Q) 27.80, Ellie Daly (AA) 28.14, Julia Smith (SHEN) 28.21, Deirdre Howard (SAR) 28.23, MacKenzie Perkett (LG) 28.29, Rebecca Stodgell (BH-BS) 28.30, Alex MacAffer (AA) 28.40, Hannah Christian (NISK) 28.49.