BURKE — Familiarity.
It helps a skier as much as technique if he or she knows the course by heart, and St. J Academy showed it on Warren’s Way, its training hill Friday at the second of the two-day NVAC districts championships at Burke Mountain.
The Hilltoppers boys took first place in Friday’s giant slalom and, as a result, the best two-day combined slalom/GS score, 59 points.
St. J senior Tommy Zschau added to his speedy resume with his winning two-run time of 1:45.80. He was the lone racer to break 53 seconds, in the second of his two runs (52.73 seconds). Overall, five teammates finished top 20 among the 54 skiers on the day. St. J had 26 points in winning the GS, outscoring CVU (40).
The Hilltoppers were second to Champlain Valley after Thursday’s slalom race, just as Zschau was second individually.
“You generally think of skiing as independent, but they’ve gelled well together as a team,” Hilltoppers coach Patrick Anderson said. “They really support and push each other, more than other teams in the last four years I’ve been here. It’s a great group.”
Familiarity? “Some have been training and skiing at Burke since they were 10 years old,” he noted. “But, they’re also good skiers. They’re athletic, and they can make adjustments on the fly.”
SJA coach Dave Eckhardt had mentioned the team’s GS speed after Thursday’s slalom race, and SJA collectively bombed to that effect on Friday.
“It’s the second year in a row we won it, and we won it from behind today,” he said. “We had to make up points, we did that, and what a great thing for Tommy to win his last race here at Burke.”
The Redhawks were overall two-day winners in girls GS racing. “They have some depth; one of their skiers, Olivia [Zubarik], caught the third gate, and it made no difference,” Eckhardt noted.
LI independent skier Alicia Socia took third place among the 64 skiers, with SJA’s Maggie Anderson fourth. “Maggie had a good second run. It was the second-fastest” of the day, her dad, coach Anderson noted.
Next for St. J is the state meet. They’re set for the slalom Monday at Smugglers’ Notch and the GS the following Monday, March 15 at Cochran’s (Richmond).
Unable to participate, Lyndon Institute, co-host of the NVACs, was given a waiver to compete at the state meet, Vikings AD Eric Berry said earlier this week.
UPDATE: Monday’s Vermont state high school giant slalom championships at Smugglers’ Notch is postponed to Friday due to a broken lift (only lift that provides access to the race hill/start area).
BOYS (2-day total)
St. J 59, Champlain Valley 70, SB 94, Mt. Mansfield, 147 Stowe 194, Colchester 199, Rice 204, Harwood 219, Essex 282, Lamoille 292, U-32 367.
1. Tommy Zschau, SJ 1:45.80; 2. Rex Jewell, SB 1:46.60; 3. Sean Gilliam, CV 1:48.59; 4. Michael Mansfield-Allesio, Colch 1:49.87; 5. Ebbe Longstreth, MMU 1:51.01.
SJA: 6. Cody Van Dine 1:51.14; 9. Cameron Clark 1:53.44; 10. David Kantor 1:53.87; 16. Wyatt Knauss 1:59.72; 19. Forster Goodrich 2:00.96.
GIRLS (2-day total)
CV 75, MM 121, Rice 121, Harwood 126, SJ 140, Stowe 141.
1. Gretchen Kogut, Harwood 1:57.41; 2. Deena Jacunski, Rice 1:57.91; 3. Alicia Socia, IND 1:59.98; 4. Maggie Anderson, SJ 2:00.00; 5. Charlotte Stevens, Stowe 2:00.60.
Local: 13. Annika Socia, IND 2:09.4; 20. Ruby Rolfe, SJ 2:12.14.
— BY STEPHEN GARFIELD
VT. GIRLS HOOPS
LAKE REGION 44, RICE 37: In Orleans, Rangers seniors Robin Nelson (14) and Tia Martinez combined for 25 points on senior night as Lake Region kept its record perfect going into its final week of regular-season play Wednesday at Richford and Saturday at U-32.
Trailing 24-15 at halftime, the Green Knights made a big third-quarter push, cutting it to 33-31 going into the fourth. But Nelson scored six of her 14 points and the Rangers rebuilt the lead.
“We had nice composure and locked down on defense down the stretch,” LR coach Joe Houston said. “It was a good, high-intensity team win.”
Martinez, Nelson and Emily Rogers were celebrated in their final regular-season home game.
RICE (0-6): MacDonough 2-0-5, Carstenon 2-2-6, Waite 2-0-4, Ceplicki 5-1-12, Land 5-0-10. Totals: 16-FG 3-5-FT 37.
LAKE REGION (7-0): Sakoya Sweeney 1-3-5, Robin Nelson 4-4-14, Danyelle Pion 2-0-4, Erica Thaler 2-1-5, Maya Auger 1-0-2, Alyssa Butler 0-1-1, Tia Martinez 5-0-11, Kaylee Sargent 1-0-2. Totals: 16-FG 9-12-FT 44.
RM 7 8 16 6 — 37
LR 15 9 9 11 — 44
3-Point FG : R 2 (MacDonough, Ceplicki); L 3 (Nelson 2, Martinez); Team Fouls: R 12, L 4.
SPAULDING 45, ST. J 26: In Barre, Natalie Folland scored 18 points as the host Tide avenged an earlier loss to the Hilltoppers.
Hayden Wilkins scored seven to pace St. J, which was held to four points total in the middle two quarters. Spaulding attempted 20 free throws to the Hilltoppers’ four.
The St. J junior varsity, meanwhile, beat the Tide 48-33.
St. J closes the regular season with a visit to Rice Memorial on Monday at 6:30.
ST. J (2-5): Kylee LaPete 1-0-2, Kaia Anderson 3-0-5, Kaylee Weaver 0-4-4, Maren Nitsche 2-0-6, Hayden Wilkins 3-0-7. Totals: 9-FG 4-4-FT 26.
SHS (3-4): Folland 8-2-18, Poulin 1-2-4, Davison 0-3-3, MacAuley 6-1-13, Diego 1-3-5. Totals: 16-FG 11-20-FT 45.
SJ 15 2 2 7 — 26
SHS 12 7 12 14 — 45
3-Point FG: SJ 4 (Anderson, Nitsche, Wilkins). Team Fouls: SJ 21, S 7. Fouled Out: SJ, Weaver.
HAZEN 49, WILLIAMSTOWN 44: In Hardwick, Alleigh Gabaree delivered 15 points and Natalie Geoffroy added 12 as the Wildcats knocked off Division III foe Williamstown.
Hazen (2-5) led 28-17 at the break and went on to snap a two-game slide.
Brianna McLaughlin led Williamstown (3-4) with 13 points.
The Cats host Spaulding on Monday at 6.