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Eagles can't stay with Kennett in Lakes Region championship meet

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Gilford’s Emily Hanf powers through a slalom gate during action at Gunstock on Feb. 1. The Golden Eagles finished in second place in the event at the annual Lakes Region Championship. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
February 04, 2013
GILFORD – While no team was a match for powerful Kennett, the Gilford High School alpine ski teams were as close as the local sides could get on Feb. 1. The Golden Eagles took second place in three of the four events on the day, as Gunstock hosted the annual Lakes Region Championship meet with cold and icy conditions following a big rainstorm just 24 hours earlier.

Kennett, a Division II power that was a late addition to the lineup, swept all four races at Gunstock, showing its considerable depth to place large numbers in the top 10.

The Gilford girls' team finished in second place in both the morning slalom and afternoon giant slalom races, as the Eagles took 377 points in the GS and 374 points in the slalom. Kennett had 389 in the GS and 391 in the slalom to breeze to victory.

Despite the large packs of Kennett skiers at the top of the standings, Gilford's Grace McLaughlin and Caitlin Houston more than held their own on the day. McLaughlin, a senior, finished in second place overall in the GS with a combined time of 56.38 seconds. That put her behind only Elyse Clancy of Kennett (56.02). McLaughlin was fifth overall in the morning slalom (1:02.08).

Houston also had a pair of top five finishes for the Eagles, as the sophomore was third overall in the slalom (1:00.89) and fourth in the GS (57.09).

Emily Hanf was the third scorer for Gilford in both races, as she cracked the top 20 in both disciplines. Hanf was 12th overall in the morning slalom with a combined time of 1:10.87, and she was 19th in the GS (1:04.18).

Stratton Coleman rounded out the scorers for the Eagles, as she grabbed 20th in the GS (1:05.67) and 22nd in the slalom (1:19.10). Kelly Gallant also competed for Gilford on the day, and she took 42nd in both races at Gunstock.

The boys' team also ran into a dominating performance from Kennett, as the North Conway school had 16 skiers compete en route to a sweep of the two events. Kennett finished first in the slalom (382 points) and GS (390).

The Golden Eagles took second place in the morning slalom behind Kennett, as the club finished with 367 points. Sophomore Beck Stecher posted an outstanding second run to claim first place overall in the slalom, as he crossed with a combined time of 54.45 seconds.

Brother Gunnar Stecher was the next Gilford skier across the line, and he overcame a stumble in his second run to grabbed 10th place in 1:00.94.

Spencer McEvoy was the third scorer for the Eagles, as he was 15th in the slalom (1:05.83) while Collin Hildreth claimed 26th place in 1:14.25. Bradley Bergman also competed and took 41st place.

The boys' team closed out its day with a fourth-place finish in the GS, as the Eagles amassed 357.5 points.

Gunnar Stecher made it a clean sweep for Gilford at the top of the podium however, as the senior won the GS with a time of 52.00 seconds. Beck Stecher was eighth overall in 54.74 while Hildreth (28th) and McEvoy (29th) also figured into the scoring. Bergman took 50th place to close out the day.

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