Will Horan sails high above the crowd during State Meet action on Feb. 17 in Albany. Joshua Spaulding. (click for larger version)
February 20, 2012ALBANY — There was no doubt that the Plymouth Bobcats were the team to beat in the ski jumping state championships. After all, the Plymouth jumpers were the defending champions and had won all but one meet in the regular season.
The Bobcats proved that notion correct on Friday, Feb. 17, at the state championships, as they easily outdistanced Hanover to capture their second consecutive ski jumping state title.
And being as New Hampshire is the lone state in the country to recognize ski jumping at the high school level, the Bobcats are also the national high school champions.
"I couldn't be more proud of them," coach Dan LeBlanc said. "These guys are all about the team."
While the Bobcats outscored Hanover by 33 points for the team title, senior Corbin Boucher just missed out on the individual title, as he came up just one point behind freshman Matt Doyle of Merrimack Valley.
LeBlanc had nothing but praise for his senior leader.
"He's really done a good job getting everybody fired up and bringing that experience," LeBlanc said.
Boucher had the longest jumps of the night, reaching 35.5 and 35 meters and finished with 163.5 points, just one point behind Doyle.
Fellow senior Will Horan, who was hurt in a practice accident and didn't jump at the final regular season meet, was back on the jump and leaped to fourth place overall with 156.5 points. He had two jumps of 32 meters and also reached 33.5 meters on his final jump.
"It's going to be tough to see those two go," LeBlanc said of the senior duo. "They did a lot."
Hugh Kelly came home third for the Bobcats, finishing in ninth place with 142.5 points and long jumps of 30.5 and 31 meters.
Andrew Buttolph, who also missed the final regular season meet, returned in fine fashion to finish as the fourth scorer for Plymouth with a total of 141.5 points, placing him 10th overall. He had long jumps of 29 and 29.5 meters.
Jake Ross provided solid insurance with a 15th place finish with 135 points and long jumps of 26 and 28.5 meters. Andrew Gabeit leaped to 26th place with 116 points and had long jumps of 24.5 and 25 meters.
Plymouth also had two girls jumping in the girls' competition. Carolyn Ebner finished in a tie for seventh with 95.5 points and long jumps of 21 and 21.5 meters and Cate Huynen was 10th with 88.5 points and long jumps of 20 meters (two).
LeBlanc also praised the Kennett group for hosting the state meet, the first time the meet wasn't held at Proctor Academy.
"They did an awesome job," he said, noting the many improvements made at the jump site. "It's always nice to have it at Proctor, but it felt like this was someone's home venue."
After the many, many miles the team put on this year in search of snowy jumps to practice on, LeBlanc was pleased with the end results.
"These guys did great," he said. "They stepped it up so much."
Joshua Spaulding can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 569-3126