Alpine skiers headed to states
SARANAC LAKE — After finishing six regular season meets and two days of sectional championship racing, a dozen skiers from three area high schools can now look forward to their final event of the winter — the state competition at Bristol Mountain.
Skiers from Saranac Lake and Lake Placid, along with a single skier from AuSable Valley High School, participated in the Section VII championships Wednesday and Thursday at Mount Pisgah, where 12 of those skiers nailed down trips to the NYSPHSAA championships that will take place Feb. 26 and 27 at Bristol Mountain.
The first day of racing at Mount Pisgah featured the slalom. The event wrapped up with Thursday’s two-run giant slalom, which saw Saranac Lake’s Ryley Fischer put down the fastest times for the girls and Gunnar Anthony of Lake Placid top the boys field.
Fischer, a junior, was the quickest racer down the mountain in both of the girls runs. She completed her first trip in 31.98 seconds and followed with a 31.54 result to make a return trip to the state’s biggest public high school meet.
Fischer will make another return trip to the state championship with the Section VII girls squad that also includes fellow Saranac Lake racers Erica Swirsky, Mayah Land and Audrey Bartlett, Lake Placid’s Barrett Smith and Giselle Munson of AuSable Valley.
“The state championship are really exciting,” said Fischer, who also had the fastest slalom run for the girls Wednesday. “We’ve had two years at Whiteface, the states were at Bristol last year, and now we’re going back there. It will be a lot of fun spending time with the team at a different mountain.”
“I think we have a really, really strong team this year and we definitely have the potential to get results at states,” added Swirsky, a Red Storm junior who was runner-up Thursday with consistent runs of 32.66 and 32.64 seconds. “We’re really small. Literally, some of the schools we go up against have 20 kids on their teams. We have like four kids, but we have a lot of promise.”
Smith finished third in the GS with runs of 32.71 and 32.94 seconds.
Gunnar Anthony had the third-quickest opening GS run for the boys in the first heat, a 31.54 result, and followed with the fastest run of the race on his second trip down the course, finishing in 30.76 seconds.
In addition to Gunnar Anthony, Parker Anthony and Tim Kelleher will represent Lake Placid at the state championships, and brothers Sully and Andrew Fogarty, as well as Victtor Moraes, are Saranac Lake skiers heading to Bristol. Moraes is an exchange student from Brazil who has been on skis before but new to racing.
Saranac Lake alpine coach Linda Brousseau said since her school and Lake Placid have small contingents, they’ve trained and traveled together for the season, and that’s created a tight bond. She also said the group has a mix of experienced racers and newcomers.
“We definitely focus on fun. That’s our first goal, because it is high school and we have a broad range of abilities, so we want to make sure that everyone is having a good time,” she said. “The other thing is we want to help them improve as much as possible. For some skiers who are new to ski racing, we want to get them comfortable going through the gates. For the skiers who have been racing for a long time, we just want to tweak some little things and help them find ways to get a little faster.”
Brousseau said she’s looking forward to joining her skiers at Bristol.
“I’m fortunate to be taking such a great group of kids,” she said. “It’s a fun time to meet other kids from across the state and catch up with kids they see every now and then during the season.
“It’s hard to say how our skiers will do because we don’t see the other competition from across the state, so it’s tough to know how we’ll stack up,” she added. “I know we have some really strong skiers. We always do. It all depends on who’s at states and how you ski at states. We definitely have kids who can be top 10, certainly top 20.”