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Eagles celebrate 45 years on the Kanc

Kennett ski jumping team hosting home meet on Friday at 6 p.m.

January 18, 2010
ALBANY — If you're driving by and don't look carefully, you can easily miss the sliver of open space just off the Kancamagus Highway a little more than a mile from the intersection of Route 16.

But for the past 45 years, the Kennett ski jumping team has called that little sliver of land home, and on Friday night, the lights will come on again as the Eagles host their annual home meet at 6 p.m.

With the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the jump, Kennett ski coach Chuck Broomhall noted that it will be a special night at the home of the flying Eagles.

"It's going to be a pretty special night," he said. "To celebrate 45 years of jumping in one place, there's not many going on that long in New Hampshire."

With jumping stopped at the famous Nansen Ski Jump in Berlin, as well as at the Gunstock jumps and others around the state, the fact that the Eagles still use the same jump is a testament to the people who built it and to those who continue to maintain it year after year.

"We've rebuilt it, changed the tower, the landing, the stopping area," Broomhall said. "I think we have a pretty good jump now."

In actuality, the Eagles have two jumps, a smaller jump, located on the right looking up at the hill, and the larger jump on the left side.

On Friday night, competitors will be using both jumps as they compete in the Eagles' lone home meet of the year.

"We only have one a year, but I wish we could do it more," Broomhall said, noting that all the schools in the state that have jumping teams have the opportunity to host a meet, leaving each school with one chance.

"Jumping has diminished quite a bit, but we've managed to hang on to it," Broomhall said. "It's good we have as many people around as we do, though we always wish we had more."

The current ski jump area was cleared in the summer of 1965 by a group that included Broomhall's father Charles, who also served as the high school ski coach. Tom Currier and Sonny Lynch were among a couple of other names that the Eagle mentor remembers taking part in the work. The Eastern Slope Ski Club was the main financers of the venture.

"There was a lot of people that helped excavate," said Broomhall.

The school district finally took ownership of the jump this summer. For the past 44 years, the jumping team had been competing on land owned by the Kennett Corporation.

In addition to the celebration of 45 years of jumping on the current location, Broomhall mentioned that the evening would also include a tribute to Eleanor Henry, who he referred to as the "mother of Kennett ski jumping." Henry, the mother of current jumping coach Chip Henry, passed away in August.

Broomhall credits the late Henry with starting the tradition of the bonfire at the base of the hill during each Eagle meet, something unique to the Kennett home meet.

"You can't see it from the car, you can't see it from the road, so you have to come in and watch," said Broomhall. "And it's fun to watch. The fire helps to keep people nice and warm."

While the Eagles have been jumping off the Kanc for the past 45 years, Broomhall notes that the team jumped at the former Intervale Ski Area prior to moving south, and also at one point earlier in history, at Cranmore.

"I remember the Intervale jump," the Eagle coach said. "That looked awful big for a little kid."

The Eagles will join the rest of the jumpers in kicking off the meet on Friday, Jan. 22, at 6 p.m. The Eagles also head to the Newport ski jump for a meet hosted by Sunapee on Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 6 p.m.

Recent results

The Eagles traveled to Hanover for a meet on Friday, Jan. 15, and the defending state champions came out on top, besting Plymouth by a mere 1.5 points.

Michael Larson won the event, finishing with best jumps of 27.5 and 28.5 meters and racking up a total of 108 points.

Hunter Haynes was second among the Eagles, grabbing 99.5 points for fifth place. He had long jumps of 25 and 26 meters.

Max Brennick finished 10th overall with 95 points and leaped to distances of 24.5 and 24 meters on his two longest jumps.

Jeff Sires was the final Kennett scoring jumper, placing 15th overall with 90.5 points and long jumps of 23 and 22 meters.

Duncan Cromwell was 16th overall with 85.5 points and long jumps of 21.5 and 22 meters. Torin Laliberte and Vincent Patch finished tied for 26th with 75.5 points each. Laliberte had long jumps of 19 and 18 meters, while Patch had long jumps of 19 and 18.5 meters. Zach Cromwell was 34th with 68 points and had long jumps of 15 and 16.5 meters. Travis Rockett placed 36th with 67.5 points and long jumps of 14 and 16 meters. Pete Grzesik was 39th with 63.5 points and long jumps of 14 and 14.5 meters and Marissa Anderson placed 47th with 44.5 points and long jumps of 7.5 meters.

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