PITTSFIELD -- There may not always be much of a margin in sports between winning and second place. In Alpine Skiing, that margin could be a fraction of a second.
"[The margin] is really close. We've all been so close the past few races. I know just little mistakes can mess you up," said Taconic's Maria Giacoletto, this week's Berkshire Eagle Player of the Week.
"I know we do a lot of work with your start," the Taconic junior said. "When you push out of the starting gate, that has a lot to do with it. That's really important to go as fast as you can."
How close can things be? In the season's first giant slalom a week ago, Giacoletto's time on the Bousquet Ski Area's race hill was 44.52 seconds. Monument Mountain's Emily Martin was second in 45.01, while Emma Peplowski of the Pittsfield/St. Joseph's co-op was third in 45.67.
Two nights later, Peplowski's time of 45.65 was good enough to win while Giacoletto was second in 45.82, .17 seconds behind.
Coincidentally, the margin of victory for Giacoletto was along the lines of her first two races. She finished with 354 votes and 43.11 percent while Monument Mountain wrestler Sebastian Zapata was second with 337 votes and 41.04 percent when voting officially closed at 6 p.m.
It has been a very good start of the season for Giacoletto and the Braves. Two giant slaloms have been run at Bousquet and the Braves have won twice. In both races, the Braves placed five skiers in the top 10.
"We have a lot of really good skiers on our team this year," Giacoletto said. "We have really good captains [in] Alyssa Latimer and Lauren Jones. We all practice together really hard."
It only takes 44 seconds or so to run a giant slalom down the Bousquet hill, so there isn't a lot of time to think. It's more like read and react. Some racers say they know if they're having a good run or a fast run.
"Actually, it's hard to tell," Giacoletto said. "I got to the bottom Monday night. I knew I'd done all right, but I didn't really know how good I'd done until someone told me."
The win in the opener was very nice for Giacoletto, who did say that while she thought she had run well down the mountain, her time was not expected.
"I was surprised the race that when I got down, and they told me I won, I was like ‘What?' " she said. "I worked really hard in the off-season, running a lot and being on the cross country team."
In addition, the Braves take spinning classes and core classes to get as fit as possible. Giacoletto said that helped give her the proper state of mind to expect more out of her performance.