Boys Ski Team wins fourth straight

MIDDLEBURY/EAST BURKE - For five members of the Burr and Burton Academy boys alpine ski team, Wednesday was the culmination of what they had worked four years to achieve.

Over a three year span, seniors Ben Alexopoulos, Skylar Clark, Tanner McGrath, Andrew Sherras and Tim Swinarton had played an integral role in helping the team win three consecutive State Championships and on Wednesday they helped the team pick up its fourth - achieving what has been a collective goal of theirs.

"They were over the moon. They were totally over the moon. And then it all came down to needing that last run from Ben," said BBA coach Trey Spencer. "He did a phenomenal job getting it down the hill. He got piled on when he came through the finish."

The boys came into the slalom event on Wednesday with a 15 point cushion despite finding a little bit of trouble in the giant slalom event on Monday at Middlebury Snow Bowl.

"It was kind of a nail biter because you have to score four to get a team result and we lost two guys in the first run so we had four guys left coming down the hill," said Spencer. "It was a real nail biter as I said watching them come through and getting them all down the hill but they skied solid." Richard Sherras took eighth place for the Bulldogs, Andrew Sherras was 11th and Tom Morgantini was 13th, in the giant slalom Spencer said.

"Not only did they ski smart solid runs on a very demanding hill, but there was a lot of pressure that they each had to finish," said Spencer on Tuesday after the giant slalom. "If one of them went down in that second round we would have taken the penalty and [only] had three finishers and we would not be leading by 15 points right now."

Two of the team's more consistent skiers throughout the season - Tanner McGrath and Tim Swinarton - went out early in the giant slalom event. McGrath led the way for the boys team in the slalom event on Wednesday at Burke Mountain finishing with a two-run combined time of 1:22. 39 to take first place. He was followed by teammates Andrew Sherras - who took third place - and Tom Morgantini (4th) who finished with combined times of 1:23.43 and 1:24.62 respectively.

The boys team also found some trouble in the slalom event though and in the end it came down to Alexopoulos who finished seventh. The girls team also had a good showing at the State Championships - taking their first second place finish since 2008.

The girls came into the slalom event 40 points behind Mount Mansfield Union High School on Wednesday after taking second in the giant slalom. "They skied a great first run," said Spencer after the giant slalom. "That is an incredibly demanding hill and it comes at you all the way down from the start right to the finish line and it took its toll on a number of athletes."

Sanderson Kemp led the way for the Bulldogs in the slalom event, finishing in eighth place with a combined time of 1:33.81. Olivia Maeder was the number two scorer for the girls team, finishing in 14th place with a combined time of 1:38.30 - her best finish of the season, Spencer said.

Sarah Alpert and Megan Knight were BBA's other two scorers, finishing in 16th and 20th place, respectively, with times of 1:39.03 and 1:40.48. "[The girls] definitely had a shot at the podium," said Spencer. "To have it come out that way with the women as runners up, I mean, we were seventh last year, we were sixth the year before. It was a lot of fun to see those guys [on the podium]."

Senior Katie Bourque was the first athlete down the hill and ran into some trouble and ended up having to hike to finish the run. However, some of the other athletes such as Maeder, Alpert and Kemp came up big for the Bulldogs to get the second place finish.

"They knew they were chasing MMU and they know how MMU skis," Spencer said. "To have them stand up, step up and ski that well. I think they were all pretty proud of themselves when they walked off the hill."

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