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Pinkham reflects on successful GHS winter season


by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

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Chip Veazey and his Gilford boys’ hoop team went 11-7 in the regular season and nearly knocked off Stevens in a road playoff game. File Photo. (click for larger version)
March 19, 2012
GILFORD — Dave Pinkham's seen some pretty impressive seasons at Gilford High School. Two team state titles and great individual performances across the board this winter compare nicely to some of the best in recent memory.

The alpine ski teams did the bulk of the damage for GHS, as both teams captured Division III state titles under first-year coach Peter Colbath.

"Certainly with alpine skiing, they had a phenomenal year boys and girls," Pinkham said. "To win both titles, that's a tremendous accomplishment for the athletes on those teams and the job that they did. We're fortunate because living right here in the backdoor of ski areas has advantages and these kids are skiing a lot. So it was great for the seniors on the teams to go out with a state title.

"The thing about ski racing at the state meets is, you fall, you're in trouble," he continued. "There's a lot of pressure on you. That's why when you look at the girls' team with only four skiers…if one had fallen, that's it. So it was a wonderful accomplishment that they all made it down and won the title."

The boys' basketball team overcame some adversity to put together an impressive 11-7 regular season record, and the Golden Eagles nearly pulled off the road upset over Stevens High School in the preliminary round of the D-III tournament.

"They played so much better in that game once they got acclimated to the travel and small court," recalled Pinkham of the Stevens loss. "They were really able to compete with Stevens in that game after the first quarter. But to turn around and have the year they did is a great accomplishment. And with the JV kids, it's not the record you're looking at but the improvement you're looking for. I think they improved tremendously towards becoming varsity players."

The girls' basketball team finished 8-11, recording a big play-in win over Raymond before watching their season come to a close with a loss at eventual semifinalist Newfound.

"They gave Newfound a run for their money up there," said Pinkham. "And they graduate one senior so looking at them being a force next year."

The Belmont-Gilford hockey team reached the semifinals of the Division III postseason, falling to Alvirne in overtime to watch their season come to an end.

"They were one of four teams that could've won the whole thing," Pinkham stated. "They just didn't get the break when they needed it. But they were an outstanding team and we had some great players here graduating off it. Riley Tebbetts was recognized as the Gilford MVP for that team. Mike Lembo was honorable mention all–state."

Senior Courtney Leach made it a perfect four championship appearances in four years to lead the swim team, and she once again qualified for the Meet of Champions during her final campaign.

"We've had swimming for a number of years and it's only getting stronger," Pinkham said. "But for her to do that all four years is a tremendous accomplishment."

The Nordic ski team was paced by freshman Matt Young, who won the state championship in both the skate and classic races for Division III.

"He's a dedicated athlete who puts a lot of time into that sport," said Pinkham. "And Rachael Colbath finished third on the girls' side and she's an outstanding athlete as well. Both the girls' and boys' teams finished third so that's really, really positive."

Pinkham pointed out the outstanding academic successes his athletes enjoyed as well, as 59 out of the 90 winter athletes at the school qualified for the Scholar-Athlete Award, an impressive 66 percent. Students need a 3.25 GPA at the conclusion of the first trimester to even qualify.

"If you look at the overall season, it was fantastic," Pinkham said. "And looking at the academics, that to me is outstanding. It's something we're really, really proud of. We not only have athletes here but really good students. And from a sportsmanship standpoint, we were very good as well."

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