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Joyce Endee

Teamwork paves the way to title

Torin LaLiberte wins Division II Skimeister crown

by Joshua Spaulding
Sports Editor - Granite State News, Carroll County Independent, Meredith News, Gilford Steamer, Winnisquam Echo, Plymouth Record-Enterprise and Baysider

MATT HALUPOWSKI rips through the giant slalom course at Waterville Valley on Feb. 16. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
February 20, 2012
WATERVILLE VALLEY — Much like their female teammates had done two days earlier, the Kennett alpine boys made things a little interesting in the Division II State Meet on Thursday, Feb. 16.

The Eagles had a comfortable lead after the morning giant slalom but a number of falls and bobbles in the slalom allowed other teams to hang around, but in the end, Kennett picked up another title.

"It was totally the team thing," said coach Laurel Zengilowski. "They did the same thing the girls did on Tuesday.

"It was a little bit scarier today, but they all did what they had to do."

Just like when the girls competed in their State Meet, Kennett had three skiers have trouble in the slalom. However, just like the girls, two of those skiers hiked and it turned out to be the difference in the end.

The day got off to a solid start for Kennett, as senior Jake Van Deursen won the giant slalom at Waterville Valley on Thursday morning, finishing with a time of 60.07, just edging out Plymouth's Mike Bancroft.

Matt Halupowski skied to third place overall with a time of 60.91 and Kurt Niiler straightened out what appeared to be a coming crash on his second run and finished sixth with a time of 61.8 seconds.

Ben Garner rounded out the scoring for Kennett with an eighth place finish in a time of 62.72 seconds.

Kennett put another skier in the top 10, as Danny Nash finished 10th overall in 31.93 seconds. Lucas Tinkham fell on his second run, but still finished strong and took 42nd place in 72.07 seconds.

Torin LaLiberte, skiing for Skimeister points, finished 52nd overall in 75 seconds.

Kennett won the morning giant slalom by 30 points over Hanover, with Plymouth two points behind.

Halupowski was the first Eagle skier out of the gate for the afternoon slalom and he put together two solid runs and finished second overall in 58.67 seconds.

Van Deursen was the second skier out of the gate and he missed a gate near the bottom of the course and couldn't stop himself in time to hike.

Niiler came out next and put together two very good runs to finish fourth overall in a time of 60.74 to score second for the Eagles.

Garner had to hike in his first run, but recovered with a good second run to finish 27th in 72.01 seconds and ended up being the fourth scorer for Kennett.

Jake Remick had a great first run but had to hike in his second run, dropping him to 32nd overall in 74.11.

Danny MacDonald was the final skier for the Eagles and with three skiers already having fell, he put together two clean runs, finishing 11th overall in a time of 66.02 seconds to score in third for Kennett.

LaLiberte finished 36th in 76.59 seconds. He used the two alpine finishes to close out his Division II Skimeister win over Niiler, who finished in second.

"They make our job easy, except for choosing the state team," Zengilowski said. "They were there working hard all weekend.

"It makes everyone envious of us," she added.

The Eagles bested Bedford by seven points in the slalom and finished with a 38.5-point win over runner-up Plymouth.

For their efforts, Halupowski, Niiler, Van Deursen, Nash and Garner earned the chance to ski at the Meet of Champions on March 7 at Cannon.

Joshua Spaulding can be reached at sportsgsn@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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