Taconic skiers sweep victories on first night of slalom
PITTSFIELD -- On the first night of slalom, less speed was more.
While 12 racers didn't finish or were disqualified, Taconic's Eamon Connor glided through the trickiest part of the course after slowing down early in his run. Connor's time was anything but slow, though. He won in 39.49 seconds, nearly three seconds ahead of second place Will Dyer-Kloman of Lenox.
"I felt like in the middle I kind of lost a little bit of speed. It kind of got a little squirrelly up there," Connor said. "It's almost a good thing that that happened because I wasn't traveling too fast through the flush. Once I got through that, you just let them ride from there on out."
Connor's victory helped Taconic to a sweep of both the team and individual wins. The Braves boys beat No. 2 Pittsfield by more than 20 seconds. Michaela Craft's first win in 46.04 led the Taconic girls to their fourth victory of the season. The Pittsfield/St. Joe's co-op was second led by a second-place finish from Emma Peplowski (46.12). Jennifer Evans was third for Monument Mountain in 46.77.
"I tried to take it slow, go around it and really make it nice and smooth," Craft said of the section that doomed other riders. "I didn't want to straddle any gates."
Her clean run showcased once again the Braves' depth. Taconic had three in the top 10, including Alyssa Latimer in fourth and Amanda Ely in eighth. Lindsay Curry was 11th, just a hundredth of a second out of 10th. Those were the only four Braves to finish.
The Pittsfield boys captured second even after a sluggish start when Sean Keenan did not finish. Top 10s from Garrett Dempsey and Erich Maynard put the Generals nearly 10 seconds ahead of Monument Mountain.
"Garrett Dempsey saved the day," said Pittsfield coach Bob Geller. "He's really come along. He's here all week. He teaches on the ski school quite a bit, and he's in great shape."
In even better shape were both Taconic teams. Connor was backed up by a fourth-place finish by Keegan Kelly (44.82) and a seventh place from Tim Schmidt (46.98).
"Eamon blew me away," said Braves coach Marc Latimer. "I didn't think he was going to go down that fast, and then he did. I was just in awe. Keegan needed a real good time tonight, and he said he could've gone faster. But that was a real respectable run for him and Timmy, his best run of the year.
"The boys have come a long way."
Racers will get two more shots at slalom in the next week. The second slalom will be Wednesday and the regular season wraps up Feb. 11. Expect more Braves to hover near the top. Connor has now won four straight slalom races while the Taconic girls have won two of the first four races this season.
"It could be any one of those top four girls that can win it," Marc Latimer said. "It's all up to who wants to bring it. They're all skiing well."
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