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Concord skis to third-place finish at D-I Alpine championships

  • Concord High’€™s Kevin McDonough attacks his second giant slalom run at the Division I Alpine championships at Gunstock Mountain on Tuesday. McDonough, a freshman, finished third in the GS and second in the slalom for the Crimson Tide, which finished third as a team. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Concord High’€™s Daniel Loosigian on his second giant slalom run at the Division I ski championships at Gunstock ski area on Tuesday, February 13, 2018. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff



Monitor staff
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

All eyes were on Liam Devanny.

Down to its final skier of the afternoon, the Concord High boys’ Alpine ski team needed Devanny – at the very least – to finish his second run of the slalom cleanly if the Crimson Tide wanted to hold onto its position at the Division I Alpine championships Tuesday at Gunstock Mountain.

“I gathered up the boys and told them that it’s the fourth quarter if you look at it that way,” Concord Alpine coach George Golden said. “(The score) was really close and they had to go for it. Maybe we could have skied real conservatively and scaled it back, but they all wanted to finish. That was the game plan.”

But Neil Shea caught a ski tip and had to hike to the finish, Aiden MacWhinnie missed a gate and skied out and all the pressure was squarely on Devanny’s shoulders to finish that final run.

“The other boys were so excited to see him come down and finish. He skied a clean run and we maintained that third-place finish,” Golden said.

The Tide (712) finished just behind runner-up Bedford (721), but neither could match the depth and experience of Bishop Guertin, which won the championship with a score of 740 and broke up the Bulldogs’ string of five consecutive D-I titles.

“It was a good day,” Golden said. “It’s a little disappointing because I thought we could have gotten that runner-up. I knew we were so close to Bedford throughout the season and I thought we could have overtaken them, but every boy had to ski their best for that to happen. Bishop Guertin was the best team and that showed today.”

Concord found itself in the hunt for the title after the morning giant slalom race with the top four teams – Bishop Guertin, Exeter, Bedford and Concord – separated by 14 points.

That was in large part due to a balanced team effort from the Tide, which placed all six skiers inside the top 25. Freshman Kevin McDonough raced to a third-place finish in the GS with a combined time of 1 minutes, 10.35 seconds. Senior Shane Hyland took 11th overall (1:14.64) and was followed by teammates MacWhinnie (19th, 1:18.38), Sean McDonough (20th, 1:18.72), Shea (23rd, 1:20.13) and Daniel Loosigian (24th, 1:20.21).

“It was really an improvement to have six starting skiers finish in the top 25 like that in a division where I’m starting to think is the most competitive in all of Alpine skiing in New Hampshire,” Golden said. “It’s really gotten tough over the years so I was happy to see those results.”

The finish for Kevin McDonough in both the GS and slalom punched his ticket to the Meet of Champions. The first-year skier for the Tide sped down the slalom for a combined time of 1:02.97 – the second-fastest finish among the 100 skiers. And while Hyland narrowly missed out in the GS, the senior qualified for the MOC for the fourth straight year with an eighth-place finish in the slalom.

“I’ve been doing this a long time and there’s only been a handful of kids that I’ve had that have qualified for the Meet of Champions all four years,” Golden said. “It’s very rare to do that and quite an accomplishment.”

Also scoring in the slalom for Concord were Sean McDonough (18th, 1:15.79) and Devanny (22nd, 1:17.38).

Concord hasn’t won it all since 2010, but it also hasn’t finished lower than fifth in 14 years, and that’s something Golden and the Tide are certainly proud of.

“The boys kept their heads up and they were proud of their accomplishment knowing how competitive Division I is,” Golden said. “As a coach, you can’t ask for anymore.”

DIVISION II BOYS’ ALPINE

Aiden Moser won both the slalom and giant slalom at last year’s Division II Alpine championships, posted an applaudable performance at the Meet of Champions and has been the top skier for the John Stark program for the last several years.

Even with all that experience, Moser was not immune to the conditions at Cranmore Mountain on Tuesday.

Geared up for his final run of the slalom at the D-II Championships after posting the second-fastest first run in the field, Moser failed to finish after falling on his way down the course – a moment that could have been a disappointing end to the senior’s career had he not redeemed himself by placing second and qualifying for the Meet of Champions in the giant slalom.

“(Moser) had a pretty good run with second place in the giant slalom, and had a good thing going in the slalom before the DNF on his second run,” said Bob Berliner, who oversees both the Hopkinton and John Stark Alpine teams. “I’m sure at Cranmore they had the same conditions they had over at Loon where if you got caught off-balance, you were going down.”

In a championship won by Kennett for the second time in four years, both the John Stark and Pembroke Alpine teams put up strong showings.

While Moser and Jason Johannison (22nd in slalom, 1:21.87) led the charge for the Generals, it was Jack Thomas and Jackson Frazier who paced the Spartans.

Thomas used an eight-place finish in the GS and placed 10th in the slalom to qualify for the Meet of Champions, while Frazier scored in both races, taking 19th in the GS at 1:09.17 and 38th in the slalom at 1:33.45.

DIVISION IV GIRLS’ ALPINE

Competing against a stacked field at the Division IV Alpine championships on Tuesday at Mount Sunapee, Addie Locke and the Hopkinton girls’ team looked right at home.

Locke finished inside the top 10 in both the slalom and giant slalom and the Hawks, who were in the hunt all afternoon, settled for fifth place with a team score of 664.5.

Profile won its first Alpine title since 2013 with a score of 749, while Sunapee (738), LinWood (702) and Derryfield (671) rounded out the rest of the top five.

“We thought we had a good shot at fourth and an outside shot at third,” Hopkinton Alpine coach Bob Berliner said. “It’s probably the strongest division with Profile, Lin-Wood, Derryfield, Sunapee – there’s four stacked teams ahead of us. But we were right in the hunt for most of the day and our top three girls finished in the top 17 for both runs, so it was pretty competitive right up until the end.”

Locke placed eighth in the slalom at 1:07.82 and fourth in the GS at 1:08.67 to qualify for the Meet of Champions where she will be joined by teammate Elizabeth Berliner, who placed ninth overall in the slalom.

A lot of their success had to do with second-run improvements.

“Addy is a great kid. She definitely stepped up from the first to the second run and was much cleaner on her carving,” Berliner said.

Hopkinton also received scoring in the GS from Maura Zankel (15th, 1:13.51), Elizabeth Berliner (17th, 1:14.36) and Anna Hoffman (41st, 1:29.68). In the slalom, Hoffman took 32nd with a time of 1:29.60 and Lyndon Flanagan placed 38th in 1:42.75.

“We had to go into the well so we had some girls that weren’t typically scorers for us step up, which was good to see,” coach Berliner said. “Flanagan definitely improved during the season for us.”

(Jay McAree can be reached at 369-3371, jmcaree@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JayMcAree.)