Ali Williamson, Brecken Burke win opening Alpine ski races
PITTSFIELD — Ali Williamson didn't go so far as to say that she needed a victory to celebrate her 18th birthday.
"It wasn't the winning necessarily," the Pittsfield senior said of the slalom race. "It was more of the fact that I wanted to do well for myself. Doing okay is just not something that was an option today."
Last year's slalom state champion did get the win in this year's opener, though, registering a time of 43.07 to outlast second-place finisher Ella King of Lenox (44.73) and third-place finisher Micaela Bartlett of Monument Mountain (45.37).
"Honestly, I put more pressure on myself," Williamson said about coming off a state championship. "My mom and my coaches kept saying 'what pressure?' I knew, for me, I felt pressure definitely. So there was a little bit."
After a warm December pushed the start of the season back by about three weeks, Berkshire County Alpine skiers finally got out to Bousquet Ski Area to open the campaign. In addition to Williamson, Monument Mountain (57 points) held off Lenox for the girls team title.
The Spartans had three of the top seven finishers, with Carly Terranova (fifth) and Sophia Smith (seventh) joining Bartlett in the top 10.
"Everyone that finished put a decent time in," Monument Mountain coach Keller Dinan said. "Every time makes a difference. If one goes down, it could pull the team down from finishing in that top spot."
On the boys side, senior Brecken Burke claimed the first victory of his career with a time of 42.92.
"This is my first win, but I've been close in previous years," Burke said. "I wasn't really expecting to win at all, but I just tried my best.
"At first I was a little worried. But once I started going, I felt pretty good."
Tanner Hill of Wahconah was second (43.76) while David Mansfield of Pittsfield was third (44.77). Burke, Hill, Drew Dunham (fifth place) and Kyle Brogan (sixth place) helped Wahconah easily secure the team title, as the squad recorded 70 total points. That was 29 ahead of second-place Lenox.
"I knew that we had a pretty strong team because we have strong racers on the team," Wahconah coach Jill Johnson said. "I think everybody gave it 100 percent. Nobody seemed to be stressed out, everybody seemed to be generally relaxed. They gave it their best shot."
The two winning teams to open this Alpine season were different than last season's champions. The Wahconah boys were fourth as a team in 2015 while the Monument girls were second. Monument's boys and Pittsfield's girls won the team league titles in 2015.
Alpine continues its condensed season Monday with another slalom event. There will be a final slalom event on Wednesday before three grand slalom races on Feb. 1, 3 and 8.
Team results — 1. Monument Mountain 57. 2. Lenox 51. 3. Pittsfield 39. 4. Wahconah 24. 5. Taconic 23.
Top 10 finishers — 1. Ali Williamson (Pittsfield) 43:07. 2. Ella King (Lenox) 44.73. 3. Micaela Bartlett (Monument Mountain) 45.37. 4. Alexa Daigle (Lenox) 49.53. 5. Carly Terranova (Monument Mountain) 50.94. 6. Taylor Knight (Lenox) 52.14. 7. Sophia Smith (Monument Mountain) 55.46. 8. Morgan Schnauber (Taconic) 57.76. 9. Mackenzie Sullivan (Wahconah) 59.83. 10. Emma Mazzeo (Pittsfield) 61.35.
Team results — 1. Wahconah 70. 2. Lenox 41. 3. Pittsfield 37. 4. Taconic 18. 5. Monument Mountain 17. 6. St. Joseph 14.
Top 10 finishers — 1. Brecken Burke (Wahconah) 42.92. 2. Tanner Hill (Wahconah) 43.76. 3. David Mansfield (Pittsfield) 44.77. 4. Reilly Lynch (Taconic) 44.79. 5. Drew Dunham (Wahconah) 44.91. 6. Kyle Brogan (Wahconah) 45.43. 7. Conner McNinch (Lenox) 46.62. 8. Ben Schmitt (Wahconah) 47.22. 9. Andrew King (Lenox) 47.82. 10. Brighton Sawyer (Monument Mountain) 48.36.
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