Shenendehowa took the top individual prizes, but Queensbury emerged with both team crowns at Wednesday’s Section II Nordic ski championships.
At the Lapland Lake Ski Center, Plainsmen skiers took first place in both the boys’ and girls’ races, while Shenendehowa added the No. 2 finisher in the boys’ race and the No. 3 finisher in the girls’ race — but both Queensbury squads were able to use their depth to pull off the victories.
“It’s a tough way to lose, but it is what it is,” said Shenendehowa head coach Jim Zimmons, whose squads dominated most of the Section II season’s action.
“This is amazing for us,” said Queensbury head coach Bob Underwood. “This year, we didn’t really win a race all year until the boys won their last one — and the girls haven’t all year.”
That changed Wednesday for the Spartans, despite individual titles for Shenendehowa’s Sarah Duclos and Aaron Huneck. Queensbury’s scoring racers finished fourth, fifth, and seventh in the boys’ race to edge Shenendehowa, 16-18, while the Spartans had racers finish second, fourth, and eighth in the girls’ race to top the Plainsmen, 14-20.
Individually, Duclos turned in a dominating performance in the girls’ 7.5K race. The senior’s time of 28 minutes, 27.6 seconds bested runner-up Eliza Blood, of Queensbury, by one minute, 39.9 seconds — the largest gap between any two consecutive finishers in the girls’ event.
Duclos — whose twin sister Amy finished in third place — took her race out hard.
“I definitely got out fast — maybe too fast,” she said, smiling.
But the senior was able to keep up the pace on her way to a commanding victory. Duclos had finished in third place a year ago, and said the win was the perfect way to cap her Section II career.
“It was a good feeling,” she said. “I just felt like all my hard work throughout the past four years had really paid off.”
Huneck bested teammate Owen Putman for the boys’ title with a time of 35 minutes, 2.6 seconds in the 10K race. The junior classmates had rotated first-place finishes for most of the season, and Huneck said it was special to see the duo continue its act at the sectional championships.
“We get pretty competitive, but it’s a lot of fun to have us go one-two like that,” he said.
Huneck said the day’s fresh snow favored his style at the championships.
“I’m a lighter skier and more of a strider,” he said. “The soft, new snow really helped me.”
The top 12 finishers from both the boys’ and girls’ races advanced to the Feb. 23-24 state championships in Lake Placid — and that’s where Wednesday’s No. 3 finisher in the boys’ race said he hopes to spend ample time during the upcoming February school recess.
“I’m going to get out to Lake Placid and ski the course there a bunch just to get my head in the game and focus,” said Scotia-Glenville senior Matt Forshey, who has made three prior trips to the state championships.
Queensbury 16, Shenendehowa 18, Johnsburg 47, Scotia-Glenville 50, Mayfield 51, Glens Falls 56, Saratoga Springs 67, Guilderland 94, Canajoharie 152, Johnstown 176, Lake George Inc.
Queensbury 14, Shenendehowa 20, Glens Falls 22, Mayfield 54, Saratoga Springs 58, Guilderland 59, Johnsburg 75, Scotia-Glenville 83, Johnstown 156, Canajoharie 160, Lake George Inc.
(Top-12; all qualify for state meet)
Aaron Huneck, Shenendehowa, 35:02.6; Owen Putman, Shenendehowa, 35:59.9; Matt Forshey, Scotia-Glenville, 37:00.6; Antonio Manzella, Queensbury, 37:43.7; James Conway, Queensbury, 37:43.7; Adam Marino, Saratoga Springs, 38:15.5; James DeCunzo, Queensbury, 38:23.2; Patrick Broderick, Saratoga Springs, 38:47.4; Brian Beyerbach, Queensbury, 38:57.6; Willy Hermann, Glens Falls, 39:09.7; Devante Marshall, Mayfield, 39:32.6; Dan Manzella, Queensbury, 39:49.0
Sarah Duclos, Shenendehowa, 28:27.6; Eliza Blood, Queensbury, 30:07.5; Amy Duclos, Shenendehowa, 30:55.7; Alexis Bartlett, Queensbury, 31:25.3; Mayr Sawyer, Glens Falls, 31:49.5; Sarah Burton, Glens Falls, 32:19.1; Sophie Smith, Saratoga Springs, 32:46.5; Emily Atamanchuk, Queensbury, 32:52.5; Emily Cromie, Mayfield, 32:53.2; Erin Miceli, Guilderland, 33:25.5; Jackie Hogan, Glens Falls, 33:43.5; Emma Green, Glens Falls, 33:59.2.
Saratoga Springs won the boys’ combined title, and Shenendehowa was the girls’ combined winner in the Section II Alpine Championships held at Gore Mountain.
Evan Georgia, Ricky Gimbel and Jake Hedges finished fifth, seventh and 10, respectively in the boys’ giant slalom.
The Blue Streaks also finished first in the slalom, with runner-up Ian Hauser, Georgia (seventh) and Chris Rice (eighth).
Queensbury’s Alex Hohman was the individual winner in both events.
Shenendehowa swept both disciplines on the girls’ side.
Julia Smith (second), Kirsten Kruk (fourth) and Melissa Taggert (seventh) were the top Plainsmen finishers in the giant slalom.
Queensbury’s Katie Zilka was the individual winner.
Smith won the slalom, with Kruk second and Sami Grober seventh.