D-III girls’ Alpine skiing: Kearsarge, Maya Spiegel finish second at championship 

  • The Kearsarge girls’ Alpine ski team poses on Mount Sunapee with the runner-up plaque after finishing second to Plymouth at the NHIAA Division III championship on Monday. Three of the team’s skiers – Maya Spiegel, Arden Rossi and Devin Phyllides – qualified for the Meet of Champions.  Courtesy of Scott Fitzgerald / Kearsarge Athletics

  • Hopkinton junior Clara Locke carves her way down the slalom course at Mount Sunapee at the Division III girls' Alpine skiing championship on Monday at Mount Sunapee. Locke finished third in both the slalom and giant slalom to qualify for the Meet of Champions. Courtesy of Bob Berliner

Monitor staff
Published: 2/14/2022 10:48:15 PM

The Kearsarge girls’ Alpine team is a smaller group than its been in the past, but that didn’t stop the Cougars from making a big impact at Monday’s Division III championship.

Junior Maya Spiegel finished second in both the giant slalom and the slalom at Mount Sunapee, leading Kearsarge to the runner-up position, just 12 points behind the champions from Plymouth and an improvement over last year’s third-place finish.

The Bobcats (750 points) took an early lead through the morning GS runs and held on in the afternoon slalom to top the Cougars (738).

Gilford (708), St. Thomas (687), Hopkinton (650) and Bishop Brady (612) took third through sixth place, respectively, while Belmont took 11th and Hillsboro-Deering finished 14th.

Plymouth led the Cougars, 375-363 after the GS, but tied the slalom event at 375 points each.

“Today (the course) was very firm and pretty cold,” said Kearsarge co-head coach Bob Underhill, who coaches alongside his wife, Jill Firstbrook. “It was a very fair race. The conditions didn’t change from first to last. The course didn’t break down at all."

Plymouth’s Aura Weiser, Spiegel and Hopkinton junior Clara Locke went 1-2-3 in both the GS and slalom, in that same order.

Weiser had a combined time of 1:00.42 over her two GS runs to top Spiegel (1:02.66) and Locke (1:02.90), and won by an even greater margin the slalom, clocking 59.68 seconds over Spiegel (1:03.29) and Locke (1:04.08).

“Maya is a really good athlete,” said Underhill. “She is very talented. She’s come back after missing some time due to health and she’s really come along.”

Sophomores Arden Rossi (sixth slalom, 12th GS) and Anna Cook (13th GS), senior Devin Phyllides (10th slalom, 14th GS) and Maya’s freshman sister Nadia Spiegel (11th slalom) were the other scoring skiers, while senior Grace Bemis (21st GS) also skied well and provided depth to the roster. 

As opposed to most top NHIAA skiers who also ski competitively privately on weekends, all members of the Kearsarge girls’ squad train and compete exclusively for their high school. 

“The girls worked really hard,” Underhill said. “We do a lot of fundamental drills, which a lot of places don’t do. We’re very lucky that every other day we had a couple extra hours to build skills and work on stuff. The girls’ progress really came along this season.”

Spiegel, Locke, Rossi and Phyllides will all compete in the Meet of Champions on Feb. 24 at Cannon Mountain thanks to top 10 finishes.

In addition to Locke, Ally Duval (24th slalom, 28th GS), Izzy Holmes (23rd slalom, 30th GS), Greta Baker (36th slalom) and Steph Elrick (39th GS) were the other scoring skiers for fifth-place Hopkinton.

Anna Beauchesne (20th GS, 21st slalom), Rhea Ganchi (24th GS), Grace Tauscher (25th GS, 25th slalom), Gwendolyn O’Keefe (29th GS), Mieke Rentsch (38th slalom) and Luiza Detwiller (44th slalom) scored for sixth-place Bishop Brady.

Cate McDonald (33rd slalom, 38th GS) and Trinity Yale (43rd GS) competed for Belmont, and Courtney Ford (34th GS) competed for Hillsboro-Deering.

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