Alpine skiing: Hopkinton girls defend D-III title, Belmont’s Ella Stevens sweeps slalom and GS

Belmont’s Ella Stevens competes in the giant slalom at the NHIAA Division III Alpine ski championships at Gunstock on Wednesday. Stevens, a freshman, was crowned the individual champion in both the GS and slalom.

Belmont’s Ella Stevens competes in the giant slalom at the NHIAA Division III Alpine ski championships at Gunstock on Wednesday. Stevens, a freshman, was crowned the individual champion in both the GS and slalom. JOSHUA SPAULDING / Salmon Press

Belmont’s Ella Stevens competes in the giant slalom at the NHIAA Division III Alpine ski championships at Gunstock on Wednesday. Stevens, a freshman, was crowned the individual champion in both the GS and slalom.

Belmont’s Ella Stevens competes in the giant slalom at the NHIAA Division III Alpine ski championships at Gunstock on Wednesday. Stevens, a freshman, was crowned the individual champion in both the GS and slalom. JOSHUA SPAULDING / Salmon Press

Hopkinton’s Marcella Guadagno competes in the giant slalom at the NHIAA Division III Alpine ski championships at Gunstock on Wednesday. Guadagno finished second in both the GS and slalom to help the Hawks successfully defend their team title.

Hopkinton’s Marcella Guadagno competes in the giant slalom at the NHIAA Division III Alpine ski championships at Gunstock on Wednesday. Guadagno finished second in both the GS and slalom to help the Hawks successfully defend their team title. JOSHUA SPAULDING / Salmon Press

Hopkinton’s Marcella Guadagno competes in the slalom at the NHIAA Division III Alpine ski championships at Gunstock on Wednesday. Guadagno finished second in both the giant slalom and slalom to help the Hawks successfully defend their team title.

Hopkinton’s Marcella Guadagno competes in the slalom at the NHIAA Division III Alpine ski championships at Gunstock on Wednesday. Guadagno finished second in both the giant slalom and slalom to help the Hawks successfully defend their team title. JOSHUA SPAULDING / Salmon Press

Hopkinton’s Avery Loew competes in the slalom at the NHIAA Division III Alpine skiing championships on Wednesday at Gunstock. Loew finished sixth in both the slalom and giant slalom to help the Hawks defend their D-III team title.

Hopkinton’s Avery Loew competes in the slalom at the NHIAA Division III Alpine skiing championships on Wednesday at Gunstock. Loew finished sixth in both the slalom and giant slalom to help the Hawks defend their D-III team title. JOSHUA SPAULDING / Salmon Press

Bishop Brady’s Tess Lavoie competes in the giant slalom at the NHIAA Division III Alpine skiing championships at Gunstock on Wednesday. Lavoie finished seventh in the GS and 10th in the slalom to advance to the Meet of Champions in both disciplines. Joshua Spaulding / Salmon Press

Bishop Brady’s Tess Lavoie competes in the giant slalom at the NHIAA Division III Alpine skiing championships at Gunstock on Wednesday. Lavoie finished seventh in the GS and 10th in the slalom to advance to the Meet of Champions in both disciplines. Joshua Spaulding / Salmon Press JOSHUA SPAULDING / Salmon Press

By DAN ATTORRI

Monitor staff

Published: 02-14-2024 11:48 PM

The Hopkinton girls’ Alpine ski team has been consistent all season and that wasn’t about to change on Wednesday. Hawk sophomore Marcella Guadagno finished second in both the slalom and giant slalom, and sophomore Avery Loew and freshman Lia Chapin also qualified for the Meet of Champions in both events as Hopkinton successfully defended its Division III state title at Gunstock.

Belmont freshman Ella Stevens took home both individual titles.

Just like last winter, the Hawks won by a comfortable margin, tallying 749 points, 50 more than runner-up Gilford (699).

Plymouth (695), Newfound (647), St. Thomas (640), Belmont (635), Lebanon (616), Laconia (491), White Mountains (468), Bishop Brady (415), Kearsarge (304), John Stark (242), Fall Mountain (135) and Hillsboro-Deering (115) rounded out the team standings.

“We knew that if our girls skied clean and did what they could do, we had a good chance of winning today,” Hopkinton head coach Scott Zipke said. “The girls all did what they needed to do. It was a good margin today. We haven’t had a lot of great skiing days, but today was cold and the snow was good. Our girls couldn’t have skied much cleaner. Kudos to them, they skied very well when it mattered most.”

Stevens and Guadagno stood out over the rest of the field in both disciplines, with Stevens winning the giant slalom in 1 minute, 18.17 seconds (combined time of two runs) and Guadagno right behind in 1:18.70, nearly two seconds ahead of the rest of the pack. 

The same was true in the slalom where Stevens (1:13.56) and Guadagno (1:14.44) finished four seconds ahead of the next closest competitors.

“Ella has been consistently fast throughout the season and it was great to see it pay off today at the state championships,” Belmont head coach Kevin Charleston said. “Ella is a team player and watching her celebrate with her teammates was awesome. She needed to ski aggressively and take chances as Marcella was right on her heels all day long. Both girls performed great today and they should be in the mix at MOCs next week.”

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“Marcella, she stepped right up,” Zipke said. “For her to do that as a sophomore is impressive. Those two girls at the top really distanced themselves, especially in the slalom. It was a good performance.”

Chapin (third GS, seventh slalom) and Loew (sixth GS, sixth slalom) both qualified for the MOC by finishing in the top 10. The top 10 in both disciplines from all four NHIAA divisions will compete on Feb. 22 at Cannon Mountain.

Sophomore Maddie Dwyer (15th GS, 18th slalom) also scored for the Hawks in both races.

In addition to tremendous consistency, the Hawks’ depth beyond the four scoring skiers contributes to the program’s success.

“Our girls are really good about standing up with consistent results, but they also work hard at practice,” Zipke said, highlighting seniors Steph Elrick (25th GS), Izzy Afflerbach (27th slalom), Ally Duval (30th slalom, 48th GS). “Those three push the top four. There’s a competitive, but friendly side of the team. It’s cool that for our little school we have that many girls who can be competitive and push each other. It paid off today.”

Bishop Brady’s Tess Lavoie (seventh GS, 10th slalom) also qualified for MOC.

Belmont’s Riley Degange (19th slalom, 26th GS), Meg Soucie (32nd GS, 36th slalom) and Cate McDonald (38th GS, 38th slalom) also scored for the sixth-place Raiders.

Bishop Brady finished 10th behind Lavoie, Anna Beauchesne (18th GS, 20th slalom) and Elise Barnard (40th GS)

Kearsarge’s Natalie Sherman (20th GS, 31st slalom) and Savannah Caswell (27th GS, 33rd slalom), John Stark’s Sophie Gray (47th GS, 47th slalom) and Emily Taylor (50th slalom, 52nd GS), and Hillsboro-Deering’s Carys Guillou (54th GS, 54th slalom) scored for their respective schools.

The Division III boys’ championship will be held on Thursday at Gunstock.