High schools: Kearsarge Nordic girls claim N.H. Coaches Series title

  • Concord’s Kyle McKinnon scores the game-winning goal for the Tide late in the third period during a 2-1 win over Bishop Brady on Saturday at Everett Arena in Concord. RICH WOODFIN / NH Sports Photography

Monitor staff
Published: 2/10/2019 12:16:32 AM

The Kearsarge Nordic ski teams are strong on an ordinary day, but the New Hampshire Coaches Series is no ordinary Nordic ski race. On a day with a true state championship, plus prestigious spots on New Hampshire’s Eastern and U16 teams up for grabs, the Kearsarge Cougars exceeded even their own expectations.

The Kearsarge girls placed four skiers in the top 28 of the 139-athlete field in part two of the New Hampshire Coaches Series at Whitaker Woods in North Conway to secure the team title.

The Division III Cougars also did well in the boys’ side, finishing third overall, trailing Division II powerhouses Kennett and Hanover and topping fourth-place Inter-Lakes.

“It was a great day of racing,” Kearsarge coach Kevin Lee said. “It was windy and cold to start, but we held up pretty well.”

Local teams were well-represented in the girls’ team standings, with Concord (third) and Hopkinton (fourth) trailing runner-up Kennett.

Belmont’s Zach Ennis was crowned the individual champion in Saturday’s 5K classic race at Whitaker Woods, clocking a 14:28, 39 seconds faster than the runner-up, while ConVal’s Schuyler Michalak won the girls’ race in 16:58, 1:03 ahead of the rest of the field.

Lili Baer (14th), Marliese Baer (23rd), Marlia Richer (25th) and Jenna Bears (28th) were the scoring skiers for the Kearsarge girls and all earned spots to represent New Hampshire at the Eastern championship held in Fort Kent, Maine, on March 15-17.

Ada Gardner finished 44th in the girls’ race to earn a U16 team spot with her teammate Lili Baer.

“I’m just so impressed with Lili’s performance,” Lee said. “Coming in 14th as a sophomore ahead of five kids that are in contention for Eastern Junior National Team, I’m so impressed.”

The regional U16 meet will be held on March 8-10 in Bethel, Maine.

Trevor Pauling and Ben Boulton finished 22nd and 23rd, respectively to lead the Kearsarge boys and also qualified for Easterns.

Tom Lick (45th) and Steve Williamson (50th) rounded out Kearsarge’s scoring skiers on the boys’ side, while Evan Pauling (75th) and Williamson earned spots on New Hampshire’s U16 team.

“They boys felt pretty good about that,” said Lee, referring to both the individual and team accolades earned by his boys’ squad. “They felt that they had a good day. We had our top four in the top 50 out of 145 skiers. Seven of the top 10 skiers were on private school or club teams, so if you take those out, that’s even better. They’ve been working really hard. I’m proud of them.”

For the Concord girls, Katie Watt was the first Tide skier to cross the line, coming in 16th place, while Johanne Nichols (31st), Abby Goulas (33rd) and Maggie Cooper (38th) also had solid finishes despite some technical difficulties.

“The waxing was rather tricky, and we whiffed it for some of our top skiers,” Concord coach Sam Evans-Brown said. “Katie had a bad race largely because I blew it on the waxing front. But going down the list there were some great results slightly lower down (our lineup).”

Evans-Brown pointed out that Nichols, Goulas and Copper all topped their 40th-, 58th- and 55th-place finishes in the skate race portion of the Coaches Series two weeks ago.

“While Katie Watt’s performance was not up to what she’s capable of, again, due to coaches’ error on waxing, those combined scores took the girls to third overall,” Evans-Brown said. “With a junior, a sophomore and two freshmen scoring, I’m feeling very good about the depth and future of this squad.”

Despite the waxing issues, Watt still earned a spot the New Hampshire Eastern team and will join teammates Goulas, Cooper, Katherine Kennedy (63rd) and Mathea Graham (65th) on the U16 team.

The same waxing error that hindered Watt also hurt Concord’s Cam Brochu in the boys’ race, but his 12th-place finish still put him on the Eastern team, alongside teammate Gavin Graham (18th).

“Graham had a great race,” Evans-Brown said. “He wound up 18th despite the fact that classic is not his forte.”

Aaron Russell (140th) and Rafe Pollack (143rd) were the Tide’s other scorers.

The Coaches Series also features a “B” race and strong finishes by Kearsarge’s Sam Boulton (second), James Brady (third) and Jacob Polpack (fifth), and Concord’s Brady Rice (10th) were all in the top 10 in the boys’ race and Concord’s Katie Martel was third in the girls’ race.

“That’s a good indicator for the future,” Lee said.

Emma Rothe (20th), Lily Sabol (22nd), Frances Trafton (48th) and Lillian Eckberg (51st) scored for the Hopkinton girls and Isabelle Dolcino (69th) was Bow’s top skier.

Bow’s London Warburton (27th) and Sam Berube (42nd), and Hopkinton’s Michael Eggers (34th) were the other top locals for the boys.

Boys’ Hockey

Concord 2, Bishop Brady 1

Key players: Concord – Devin Philbrick (G, A), Kyle McKinnon (G), Alex Forward (A), Shane Riley (A), Parker Taylor (10 saves); Bishop Brady – Nathaniel Pushee (32 saves), Peyton Vachon (G)

Highlights: Brady struck early, but Concord answered before intermission and the game remained deadlocked at one goal apiece until McKinnon scored with 1:58 remaining to provide the Tide with a game-winning goal.

Coach’s quote: “Brady played smart. Credit to them. They made it tough on us. We’re happy we came out with a win, but we want to be better.” – Concord’s Dunc Walsh

“We competed for a full 45 minutes and had a tremendous response after they scored to make it 2-1. We had chances to tie it, but could not get one to go in. I am extremely proud of our compete level and the way we played as a team. Nate Pushee had another outstanding game in the goal.” – Bishop Brady’s Ed Seney

Records: Concord 11-2-0; Bishop Brady 7-7-1

Girls’ Hockey

Hanover 3, Concord 1

Key players: Concord – Emily Forward (G), Abby Corbett (34 saves)

Highlights: The Tide gave the perennial powerhouse Marauders all they could handle, but fell a little short.

Coach’s quote: “We knew going into the game it wasn’t going to be easy, but our girls rose to the occasion and played our best game yet. Abby Corbett played phenomenal in net for us again, coming up big when we needed her most. We can only go up from here so we are looking forward to the next few games.” – Concord’s Patrick McDonough

Records: Hanover 8-4-1; Concord 12-2-0

Boys’ Alpine

Bow 2nd, Pembroke 7th

Key players: Bow – Connor Wachsmuth (5th), Anthony Sampo (10th), Eli Gadbois (13th), Teddy Pfeifle (25th); Pembroke – Jackson Frazier (2nd), Owen Thomas (30th), Ben Sporcic (33rd), Harry Army (40th)

Highlights: The Falcons finished second in a nine-team slalom meet on Thursday at Crotched Mountain. Hanover won the meet with 361.5 points and Bow followed with 352.5. The Spartans scored 317 to finish seventh.

Girls’ Alpine

Pembroke 6th, Bow 7th

Key players: Pembroke – Molly Keyes (27th), Jessica Boyajian (28th), Katherine Muise (31st), Alyssa Merrill (33rd); Bow – Megan Lavigne (10th), Madeline Soucy (45th), Madison Amann (55th), Abigail Hutcheson (61st)

Highlights: Hanover dominated a nine-team slalom meet at Crotched Mountain on Thursday, scoring 386 points, while the Spartans (314) and Falcons (310) finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

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