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High School Alpine Championships: A pair of top-four finishes for Concord

Back in December, with little snow on the ground and the high school ski season just getting under way, Concord Coach George Golden said he’d “be psyched if we could finish in the top five for both” of his girls’ and boys’ teams.

Yesterday, with heaps of snow everywhere, the Tide did just that at the Division I Alpine championships. The Concord girls, after finishing in seventh place a year ago, moved up to third, while the boys maintained their fourth-place finish.

“Being that we won so many in years past, when you don’t win sometimes it doesn’t feel the same. But this year, with our teams being so young, I’m really, really happy with how we did,” Golden said.

Exeter made it three straight titles for the girls, accumulating 750 points to runner-up Bedford’s 720. Concord brought up third with 656, with Keene (616.5) and Manchester Central (608) rounding out the top five in the 16-team field.

For the boys, Bedford took the title in its first year in Division I, notching 759 points to dethrone Keene, which finished third with 677. Exeter took runner-up honors with 707 points. Concord’s 652 was good for fourth, and Pinkerton (639.5) rounded out the top five.

With the girls’ championship postponed a day because of Monday’s slick conditions, both the boys and girls competed on the same hill yesterday at Mount Sunapee.

In the morning, the girls and boys alternated giant slalom runs, while in the afternoon, the girls ran back-to-back slalom runs before the gates were reset for the boys’ two slalom runs.

“There was a lot of course maintenance, and Sunapee did a great job keeping it in good shape,” Golden said.

Jess Malfait turned in a pair of top-10 finishes to lead Concord and qualify for the Meet of Champions. In the GS, Malfait was fourth in a combined time of 71.61 seconds, finishing behind only Bedford’s Jessa Fahey (67.51), Exeter’s Keala Eichholz (69.74) and Manchester Central’s Maggie McGovern (70.85).

Jessie Bean was the Tide’s next finisher, taking 18th in 77.57. Rachel Stevenson (81.26) and Emily Lafond (81.5) finished 32nd and 33rd, respectively, as Concord sat in fifth place after the GS, just five points behind Keene and 22 behind Bishop Guertin.

In the afternoon’s slalom, however, the Tide stayed upright while Keene and BG stumbled, and Concord’s third-place finish in the slalom allowed the team to seize third overall.

Again, Malfait led the way, taking fifth in 72.21. Eileen Kelley placed 16th (80.62), Lafond 25th (87.21) and Bean 26th (87.46).

Fahey doubled up as individual champion, winning in 67.37, with Exeter’s Natalie Bruno second (70.36) and McGovern third (70.75).

“Of our entire team roster, Malfait is the only weekend racer,” Golden said. “So to be as competitive as we were this entire season with so little race experience, I’m really excited. They worked hard all season and stepped it up when it counted.”

Freddie Sheehan laid down the fastest runs for the Concord boys, and just missed qualifying for the Meet of Champions by 0.18 seconds in the GS.

“He had a great year,” Golden said of the boys’ team’s lone senior. “He’s the only boy who finished every run of every race this year. He definitely skied his heart out for the team today.”

Sheehan took 12th in the GS in 72.75, followed by Liam Healy (14th, 73.82), Connor Girardin (18th, 74.58) and Trevor Devanny (25th, 75.98), and after the morning’s event, the Tide was tied for fourth, with only six points separating the second- through fifth-place teams.

Bedford’s Aiden Wheeler won the GS in 66.7, followed by Pinkerton’s Dan Lannan (69.14) and Caleb Eaton (69.81).

In the afternoon, Sheehan took 20th (72.17), with Devanny 23rd (72.77), Healy 25th (73.65) and Jules Townsend 32nd (77.75). Wheeler also won the slalom, finishing in 60.05, with Eaton second (64.26) and Bedford’s Matt Weeks third (63.6).

“The best thing about today is we left with a lot of confidence. They’re really proud of themselves, which should be,” Golden said. “It does nothing but make the kids more motivated for next year.”


Hopkinton third

If Hopkinton wanted to come away from Loon Mountain with some skiing hardware, the Hawks knew they were in for a challenge. After the morning’s giant slalom in the Division IV girls’ Alpine championship, Hopkinton held a slim three-point lead over defending champion Profile for second place, with Lin-Wood firmly in control with a 17.5-point lead.

Everything changed in the more technical slalom race in the afternoon.

Hopkinton once again took second, but Profile stormed to the top of the slalom standings and Lin-Wood fell off the pace, finishing fifth. When the scores of the two disciplines were combined, Profile defended its title for the Patriots’ third championship in four years, scoring 722 points. Lin-Wood held on for second with 707.5, edging Hopkinton by a mere 3.5 points and keeping the Hawks out of the hardware.

Still, it was a three-place improvement for Hopkinton, which finished sixth last year.

Meg Hemmerlein and Ireland Tawney both qualified for the Meet of Champions by finishing in the top 10 in both races to lead Hopkinton.

Hemmerlein laid down a two-run combined time of 54.72 seconds to finish runner-up in the slalom to Derryfield’s Cameron Huftalen (53.51) and was third in the giant slalom in 56.26. Huftalen won the GS as well, posting a two-run combined time of 55.42. Tawney finished fifth in both races, clocking 56.81 in the GS and 58.12 in the slalom.

Melissa Irwin was 15th in the GS (60.28) and 16th in the slalom (62.09), and Jordan Rose Mack was 28th in the GS (64.71) and 35th in the slalom (73.7) to complete the Hawks’ scoring.

Maria Booth, who was 38th in both races, is currently second among seven competitors for the skimeister title, with teammate Madison Sorel sixth. The skimeister will be decided after tomorrow’s cross-country championships.


John Stark seventh, Pembroke 13th

John Stark’s Jacob Goldsberry finished 11th in the giant slalom and 17th in the slalom to lead the Generals to a seventh-place team finish at Mount Cranmore. Kennett (766 points) won its fourth straight D-II championship. Hanover (719.5) was second and Plymouth (680) took third. Stark finished with 572.5 points and Pembroke Academy had 434 to finish in 13th.

Jason Innerfield posted the second best results of the day for the Generals in both races, finishing 19th in the slalom and 25th in the giant slalom. Keith Nieman (48th GS, 49th slalom) and Scott Greaney (38th GS, 53rd slalom) also scored for Stark.

Andrew Goulet led the way for Pembroke in both races, taking 43rd in the slalom and 47th in the GS. Edward Miner (55th slalom, 59th GS), David Miner (56th GS, 64th slalom) and Danny Caraway (65th slalom, 66th GS) accounted for Pembroke’s other points.

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