WILMINGTON - Patrick Burke returned to Whiteface Mountain in style Wednesday, winning the boys public high school giant slalom championship and the overall alpine combined title.
Burke, who grew up in Goshen, skied for the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid for the past four years. But this year, Burke returned to public high school in order to graduate with his childhood friends. Because of that, this was his first state championship race.
That he won the competition and did so at Whiteface Mountain, where he skied regularly for the past four years, made these past two days memorable.
"This hill is special to me," Burke said. "I know everything about it. It's pretty special."
The giant slalom title also came a day after he placed second in the slalom. He led after the first run, but had equipment problems in the second.
"I was having a really good run and my pole snapped, so it kind of threw me off on the pitch when I use my poles for balance and stability," Burke said. "But I fought through to finish, so finishing yesterday helped me win overall. So I'm pretty psyched."
Goshen’s Patrick Burke, a former National Sports Academy student, skis Draper’s Drop Wednesday in the giant slalom event of the public high school state championships at Whiteface Mountain. Burke took first in the giant slalom and won the alpine combined title.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
In the giant slalom race, Burke finished the first run in 54.12, putting him one-hundredth of a second behind the leader, Sam Golini of Brighton. Then in the second run, Burke passed Golini when he had the top time of 53.03 to finish with a total time of 1:46.15.
Golini clocked a 54.06 for a combined time of 1:48.17 for second place. Mike Williams of Lyons claimed third with a combined time of 1:48.22.
In the girls' competition, Honeoye Falls-Lima senior Taylor Burgart won the combined championship after winning both the slalom on Tuesday and the giant slalom on Wednesday. It was the second consecutive year she has won all three titles. This was her last high school race.
"It's just a nice way to end it," she said. "I wouldn't have wanted to end it any other way. It's sad, but I'm excited, too."
Burgart had times of 57.81 and 55.29 in her two runs to finish with a combined time of 1:53.10.
Irondequoit's Lauren Gerrie came in second with a time of 1:54.89 and Pittsford Mendon's Cat Gorman took third in 1:55.86.
Gerrie started 18th, Gorman 11th and Burgart was fourth in the first heat. The first roughly 10 skiers in the girls' race, including Burgart, had to battle fog and heavy snow. It cleared up for a while after that in the morning. Despite the low visibility, Burgart still posted the best time of the run. She credited the course workers and her knowledge of the course with helping her.
"You could only see a couple of gates, so it was really difficult," Burgart said.
In the second run, the course was completely different. The temperature dropped and the course got skied off a bit.
"It got extremely icy because they didn't change the course," she said. "It was really chattery, especially at the bottom when your legs are tired. You just kind of had to hang on for dear life."
In the boys' races, Lake Placid's Will Tennant was the top finisher on his team, coming in 34th with a combined time of 1:57.70. He was followed by Will Eaton (45th, 2:03.44), Martin Gaspar (54th, 2:28.46) and Dean Ridenour (55th, 2:33.46).
In the girls' races, Lake Placid's Maris Van Slyke came in 26th with a combined time of 2:05.24. She started first in the first run when conditions were extremely difficult. Lake Placid's Erin Skufca finished 57th in 2:25.69 and Kate Gallagher came in 64th in 3:07.44.
"They skied well," Lake Placid coach Christian Wissler said. "There was great competition. It was difficult to do as well as they did at sectionals. But I was proud, and they did very well."
In the girls' races, Saranac Lake's Erin Ryan came in 52nd with a time of 2:20.13. Her teammates Zoe Tyler finished 57th in 2:22.97 and Molly Burgess took 62nd in 2:36.30.
In the boys' races, Saranac Lake's Sean Madden took 20th in 1:54.22. His teammate Max Calderone was 49th in 2:09.65.
Tennant was awarded the Section VII boys sportsmen's award while Saranac Lake's Kendra Leonidas won the girls version.