It seems simple. Going fast leads to a better finish, which leads to more points for the team.
But it’s not always so simple. Sometimes gunning for speed and the best finish possible is the wrong strategy when team points are on the line.
The way Bow coach Mike Sampo sees it, his skiers put the team ahead of themselves with a conservative approach to Monday’s Division III championships at Mount Sunapee.
“You can go as hard as you possibly can for a result and hurt the team,” he said. “If you get disqualified or don’t finish, then you don’t earn any points.”
The Falcons were careful on the slopes and ended up making quick runs anyway, placing four skiers in the top 10 in slalom and four in the top 15 in giant slalom for a total of 744 points to capture the Division III crown.
It is the first state title in Alpine for the Bow boys since 2013.
“The kids skied very well,” Sampo said. “They skied as a team. One boy was disqualified, but other than that all the boys had four good runs each.”
Alexander Mangini (12th GS) had the best finish for Bow as he took second place in slalom. Freshman Connor Wachsmuth (fifth slalom) led the Falcons in GS with his eighth-place finish. Benjamin Wachsmuth (seventh slalom, 13th GS) and Jonathan Cook (eighth slalom, ninth GS) rounded out the top skiers for Bow.
Laconia’s Thomas Turpin was the individual champion. He placed first in both slalom and GS. The Sachems (462) finished ninth overall out of 12 teams.
Turpin, a senior, swept both GS and slalom in last year’s D-III meet as well. This season, Turpin was kept of the slopes for a short stretch while dealing with frostbite on his toe. When he returned, he didn’t seem to miss a step.
“He’s shown throughout the year he is the best skier in the division, so I was happy to see him win both,” said Kevin Charleston, who coaches both the Laconia and Belmont teams.
Conditions presented their own challenge on the slopes due to rain in recent days. The GS course got a little bumpy as skiers raced through.
“The kids really had to focus and not let that psych them out,” Sampo said. “Mount Sunapee did a great job on the slalom course and it held up very nicely.”
Charleston enjoyed a nice day for his skiers. In addition Turpin’s sweep for Laconia, Charleston’s skiers on the Belmont squad combined to finish second overall.
The Raiders (717) were led by Nolan Gagnon’s runner-up finish in GS and Lars Major’s fourth-place run in slalom. Gagnon also placed 15th in slalom and Major was 10th in GS. Jake Deware (13th slalom, 20th GS) and Mitchell Berry (17th slalom, 16th GS) also scored points for Belmont.
Those were the only four skiers Belmont had on their boys’ roster, so it was crucial for each skier to run a clean race and not risk losing points. Berry is an eighth-grader that the team petitioned to include so they could compete, Charleston said.
“We had a small team this year,” he said. “I’m proud of my guys for skiing fast and being consistent and just being mentally tough all day long. We were going to be either first, second or last today.”
The Kearsarge boys came up short of their quest for a third consecutive state title. The Cougars finished fourth, 44 points behind the champions and two points behind third-place Gilford.
The Cougars (700 points) were led by Aiden Markoff, who placed fifth in GS, and Seth Davis Rutledge’s ninth-place finish in slalom.
Gilford (702) earned a podium finish in third. They placed second overall in GS and fourth in slalom. Tyler Hanf headlined the Golden Eagles with a third-place finish in slalom, while Christian Workman placed third in GS. Colton Workman also earned a top-10 finish with his run for seventh in GS.
Bishop Brady (601) finished seventh overall, led by Mark Marinace’s 20th-place finish in slalom.
Newfound (568) placed eighth as a team and Hillsboro-Deering (268) was 12th.