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Castleberry Fairs

Plymouth Girls Alpine captures state title


February 21, 2010
CONWAY — A new champion has emerged in Division II skiing, as Plymouth Regional High School took advantage of key falls by Kennett to capture the Girls Alpine State Championship last Thursday at Cranmore.

The Bobcats and Eagles have dominated the slopes this season, but while the Eagles have triumphed in previous battles, it was the Bobcats on top by the end of the war between the D2 juggernauts. Plymouth scored three top ten finishes in both events and got a big break as Kennett endured trouble in the slalom, leaving too much ground for the seven-time defending champs to cover as Plymouth went on to capture its 13th state title, the first since 2001.

Kennett took control right off with the giant slalom, but Plymouth wouldn't be left too far behind. Annie D'Elia and Nika Mosenthal turned in near identical showings in the GS, including a tie of 42.35 on their second runs, but D'Elia got the edge with a 42.33 on her opening run, five-hundredths of a second better than Mosenthal as the duo took third and fourth, respectively. Micaela Wright notched seventh again, clocking in at 43.51 and 43.18, while Madeliene Hansen's opening run of 43.71 helped her to a 13th place finish, rounding out Plymouth's top four.

The Eagles top four dominated the GS, all placing in the top six as they collected a final score of 390. Plymouth claimed the rest of the top seven spots and finished with 377 points for an easy second, followed by Hanover (341), Oyster River (323), Souhegan (319), Kingswood (310), Bedford (291), St. Thomas (274), John Stark (268), Laconia (265), Con-Val (244), Hollis/Brookline (237) and Lebanon (185).

Down 13 points, Plymouth needed a perfect outing in the slalom. Mosenthal, the defending champion in the event, gave the Bobcats a strong start, besting all other skiers with runs of 33.57 and 33.82 seconds to capture the slalom title by more than a second. D'Elia plowed through the course with times of 35.09 and 35.39, good for fourth overall, while Wright averaged just over 36.6 seconds to claim seventh. Hansen rounded out the top four with times of 39.53 and 39.08, good for 12th overall, while Devon Clark was the last in a field of over 75 skiers to average under 40 seconds, placing right behind in 13th.

With all four scorers in the top 12, Plymouth led the way with 380 points in the event. Kennett claimed the second and third place spots, but lost a pair of potential top 12 finishes when falls knocked two skiers down the standings, including a 23rd place finish to leave them with 364 points. Hanover was the only other team still in contention, placing third with 354, while Oyster River (315), Souhegan (315), Kingswood (311), Bedford (302), Hollis/Brookline (290), St. Thomas (270), Con-Val (266), Laconia (243), John Stark (237), Lebanon (178) and Milford (49) made up the morning standings.

Even with a dominant showing in the giant slalom, it was not enough to cover their deficit from the slalom, finishing three points short as Plymouth took the title with a combined score of 757. Hanover finished a distance third at 695, with Oyster River even farther back at 638, four points ahead of fifth place Souhegan. Kingswood, Bedford, St. Thomas, Hollis/Brookline, Con-Val, Laconia, John Stark, Lebanon and Milford rounded out the overall standings.

Plymouth's title ends Kennett's seven-year stranglehold on Division II, having won every championship since realignment in 2003. The Bobcats have brought many talented skiers to the slopes under the tutelage of Head Coach Norm LeBlanc, now in his 40th season as Head Coach of the skiing program, and this year's squad was no exception, turning in a near-perfect effort to triumph over Kennett. It is the Bobcats' first title since 2001 and second since 1986, the final year of Plymouth's own skiing dynasty, which won ten consecutive titles in the 1970s and 80s.

In addition to their championship, three Bobcats have qualified to attend the NHIAA Meet of Champions, scheduled for Wednesday, March 3 at Cannon Mountain. Mosenthal, D'Elia and Wright have earned spots alongside the rest of Division II's top ten finishers, who will compete against the best skiers in all four high school divisions.

For additional information, including full results from the state championships, visit the Tournament Info page at nhiaa.org.

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