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Joyce Endee

Eagles sweep Lakes Region Championship meet

Stecher, Pleeter double winners

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Gilford’s Bradley Bergman tears down the course at Gunstock in a banana suit during the Lakes Region Championship meet on Feb. 3. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
February 06, 2012
GILFORD – Lakes Region skiers were rewarded with a cold but bright day for racing on Feb. 3, as the annual Lakes Region Championship meet was held at Gunstock Mountain with over 100 student-athletes participating.

The race might as well have been called the Gilford Invitational, as the Golden Eagles captured the team victories in both the slalom and giant slalom in the girls' and boys' races thanks to a frontloaded final leaderboard that saw Gilford names well represented in the top 10.

The Eagles boys' team captured the top spot in the morning slalom with a dominating 394 points, 20 clear of runner-up Kingswood at 374. The margin grew even larger in the afternoon GS, as the 393 point total bested Kingswood's 369.

The Lady Eagles were just as dominant as the boys' squad, as they won the morning slalom with 391 points, 15 clear of Kingswood's 376. That winning margin also grew in the GS, as Gilford accumulated 393 points to best Kingswood's 363 points.

Gilford's Gunnar Stecher and Megan Pleeter were the big individual winners on the day, as both scored victories in the slalom and GS. Stecher's combined time of 1:07.81 was over two seconds faster than the rest of the field in the morning slalom and he followed that up with a one second win in the GS with a time of 1:01.89. Pleeter was first in the slalom at 1:18.80 before finishing off the two-event sweep in the GS with a time of 1:07.14.

The duo had plenty of company at the top of the final results however, as Gilford went 1-2-3 in three out of the four races. Gilford's Tanner Howe and Beck Stecher finished second and third in the slalom, with teammate Keaton Quigley right behind in fourth to make for a dominating victory. In the afternoon GS, Howe was second again and Garrett Workman claimed third place. Beck Stecher was fifth overall, with Chester Fox eighth, Michael Xiao ninth and Justin Reera 10th. Bryce Quigley was eighth overall in the slalom to give Gilford nine different skiers in the various top 10s.

Pleeter was joined closely by reliable teammates Caitlin Houston and Grace McLaughlin, as the duo went 2-3 behind her in the afternoon GS. McLaughlin was second in the slalom (1:19.34) while Houston was close behind with a fourth place finish in 1:25.08.

Teammate Emily Hauf also had two top 10 finishes to round out the scoring for Gilford, as she was fifth in the GS (1:15.50) and sixth in the slalom (1:38.04).

The Belmont boys' team was third overall in both races, led by junior Angelo Palmer's fourth place showing in the GS after a rough morning where he was disqualified in one of the slalom runs. Austin Wilder moved into the top Red Raider spot in Palmer's absence in the slalom, as the junior was 12th overall in an impressive 1:47.59. Jurell Guild (13th), Logan Malone (21st) and Al Nix (24th) were the other BHS scorers in the slalom.

Behind Palmer's performance in the GS (1:03.88), Belmont earned 361 points to finish behind Gilford and Kingswood. Guild was 13th again in a solid day on the slopes, while Taylor Cyr (18th) and Wilder (20th) also contributed points.

Sisters Calsey and Morgan Fontaine-Wilmot led the Belmont girls' team to a third place team finish in the slalom, as Calsey was eighth overall and Morgan was 13th. Kayla Robbins grabbed 16th place and Alex Heimlich also scored with a 20th overall finish. The Raiders accumulated 353 points in the morning race.

BHS dropped to fourth overall in the afternoon GS, as Calsey Fontaine-Wilmot was ninth overall once again (1:16.92). Kaitlyn Berry and Kayla Robbins were 14th and 15th respectively, while Heimlich jumped up to 17th to earn fourth-scorer honors as Belmont totaled 352 points.

The Moultonboro Academy girls' team had a third place finish in the giant slalom, as the Panthers put together 363 points after taking fourth place in the morning slalom with 350.

Juniors Carly Nelson and Mackenzie Graupner were steady once again for MA, as Nelson was seventh overall in the slalom (1:39.52) and eighth in the GS (1:16.59). Graupner was also in the top 10 for both races, as she grabbed sixth place in the GS (1:15.55) and 10th in the slalom (1:48.44).

Teammate Abbey Coppinger was 10th in the GS for MA, giving the Panthers three of the top 10 across the line, while Bridget Ireland was the fourth scorer in the event with a 19th place finish.

Dana Goss was the number three scorer for MA in the morning slalom, as she was 23rd across in 2:22.19. Amanda Hiittner was fourth for the Panthers in 25th place to round out the scoring.

The two-man team of Duncan McNaughton and Josh Blundo had a solid morning slalom for the Panthers, as McNaughton was 16th overall with a combined time of 2:05.72 and Blundo was 22nd in 2:16.02 to put together 176 points as a team.

In the afternoon GS, Blundo was 30th overall to lead the way while McNaughton was one spot below in 31st for a total of 163 points.

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