With a fresh snowfall and clear skies, Gunstock Mountain in Gilford was ready for Wednesday’s Division I girls’ Alpine ski championships.
“Pretty much everything about today was perfect,” Concord junior Savanah Shannon said. “The snow was a little soft at first, but it was good and the weather was great”
The perfection included Shannon herself, who won a third straight GS title and repeated as slalom champion (she was second in the slalom as a freshman). Not only that, Shannon had the fastest times in all four runs, just like she has had the best time in every run of Concord’s four regular-season races.
“This is my 21st year of coaching ski racing and she’s about as good as it gets,” Crimson Tide coach George Golden said.
Sophomore Hannah Golden, the coach’s daughter, finished 11th in both the GS and slalom to help the Tide to a fourth-place result in the 17-team field. Concord was runner-up last year and the girls wanted the same this year, or maybe more, so fourth wasn’t exactly in their plans.
“We were aiming for runner-up again, or trying to win, obviously, but I think we all worked hard and I’m happy with the way we skied today,” Shannon said.
Bedford finished with 711 points to win its fourth straight title. Portsmouth had 706 points for a close second followed by Bishop Guertin (695), Concord (676) and Pinkerton Academy (628).
“Every year Division I seems to get tougher and this year was no different,” coach Golden said. “I thought Bedford, Portsmouth, BG and Concord were four good teams, we were the best teams all year, and no one else was really close.”
Bedford’s Audrey Purnell was second to Shannon in both the GS and the slalom. Shannon clocked in with a combined time of 1:13.52 (36.49, 37.03) in the morning GS and Purnell recorded a 1:14.26 (36.81, 37.45) and had the second best times in both runs. The same thing happened in the afternoon slalom, but it was even closer.
Shannon came through her first slalom run in 28.05, and Purnell was right on her heels in 28.12. Knowing it that tight, Shannon attacked the second run and finished in 27.80, widening the gap between her and Purnell, who clocked a 28.68 in the second run.
“I was more aggressive in the second run, I went for it more, so I ended up skiing better because of that,” Shannon said.
The competition with Purnell made these wins a touch sweeter than the ones from last year and 2019.
“It was definitely my goal to win these races again,” Shannon said. “And today in the slalom because the first run was so close, I was worrying going into the second run, so then I was really happy when I won. So, I was maybe happier this year than last because it was closer.”
Next up for Shannon is the Meet of Champions at Cannon Mountain on Feb. 18. She was first in the GS at the MOC in 2020, but then saw her winning streak broken when she finished third in the slalom.
“I’m hoping maybe I can win the slalom this year, but we’ll see how it goes,” she said.
Along with Shannon and Golden, Emma Burbank also scored in both races for Concord, finishing 30th in the slalom and 32nd in the GS. Charlotte Summerlin capped a strong freshman season by placing 23rd in the GS. Abby Duffy scored the Tide’s other points in the slalom with her 26th place finish. Duffy is an adaptive skier who goes through the course with a guide and is legally blind.
Burbank is the lone senior on the roster for Concord, so Golden is excited for his team’s chances in the future.
“Emma skied with us for four years, but we’ve got everyone else coming back and maybe a few strong freshman coming up,” the coach said. “So, the outlook next year is pretty good.”
Bow’s Adeline Pfeifle finished fourth in the slalom to help the Falcons to a fifth-place team finish at the D-II girls’ Alpine championships at Crotched Mountain in Bennington.
Kennett repeated as team champion with 769 points and Hanover had 721 points to finish runner-up. Souhegan took third with 697 points and was followed by Souhegan (697), ConVal (676), Bow (632) and Oyster River (609) in the top six. Pembroke Academy was 10th with 514 points.
Pfeifle was also Bow’s top skier in the GS, finishing 11th. The top seven skiers in each D-II race qualify for the Meet of Champions, so Pfeifle will compete in the slalom race at the MOC but she missed out on qualifying for the GS.
Meredith Ryan (30th GS, 36th slalom) and Ava Gadbois (37th GS, 37th slalom) scored in both races for the Falcons. Bow also got points from Sarah Lavigne (17th GS) and Olivia Selleck (33rd slalom).
Pembroke’s Hannah Brown (35th GS, 49th slalom), Elyza Weingartner (37th GS, 43rd slalom) and Lindsay Hawkins (54th GS, 51st slalom) all scored in both races for the Spartans. Elizabeth Duchesene (42nd GS) and Maggie Bowes (45th slalom) also contributed points for PA.
Violet Webb was the only Merrimack Valley athlete competing and finished 15th in the GS and 32nd in the slalom.
The Concord girls’ Nordic team had four skiers in the top eight to pull out a 381-379 win against Gilford in a five-team race at Beaver Meadow on Wednesday. Derryfield was third with 358 points followed by Winnacunnet (347) and Memorial (345).
Gilford’s Catherine Stow finished first in 19:14.6 with Concord’s Katie Watt second in 19:30.2. The Crimson Tide’s other points came from Mathea Graham (sixth), Gracie McHugh (seventh) and Maggie Cooper (eighth). Katherine Martel didn’t score for Concord but finished ninth.
The Tide was fourth in the boys’ race with 358 points to finish ahead of Central (324), Belmont (94) and Memorial (81). Gilford ran away with fifth with 389 points. Winnacunnet and Derryfield both finished with 361.
Concord’s Tyler Watt was second overall in 17:10.1, finishing behind only Gilford’s Mitchell Townsend (16:55.2). The Tide’s other points came from Liam Gleason (13th), Sebastian Nichols (21st) and Kurt Van Fleet (24th).