Mooney podiums

MANCHESTER - The State Championships have come and gone, but some Burr and Burton Academy athletes are continuing to turn in impressive performances.

Nordic skiers Scott Mooney, Helena Bigelow and Anders Proft all competed in the J2 State Championships coming away with good results. Of the three though it was Mooney who had the best finish, reaching the podium not only in the J2 Championships - which are for student athletes who are 14- to 15-years-old - but in the Eastern High School Championships as well.

In the J2 Championships Mooney took second place overall; finishing in 3rd place in freestyle, 7th place in classic and 2nd place in sprint. He was also part of the sprint team that won the gold medal for Vermont at the championships.

While the finishes were unexpected, Mooney said that he was pleased with the result.

"It felt great to be able to finish this season on such a strong note," Mooney said. "Going into J2 championships I knew I had a good chance of doing well. Skiing for Vermont is such fun and an exciting opportunity. With this sport being so individualized the element of team is a huge aspect in success. This is what makes the relays so much fun."

The following weekend - March 14-16 - Mooney followed his performance at J2s up with another impressive showing at the Eastern High School Championships by taking 3rd place overall behind Zane Fields (1st) of Woodstock, Vt. and Kamran Husain (2nd) of Fort Kent, Maine. Mooney took 8th place in the freestyle 5K (3rd Vermonter), 5th place in the classic 7.5 K (2nd Vermonter) and 3rd place in the sprint (1st Vermonter).

"Scott skied really well at the J2s, but [he was] just unbelievable at the Eastern High Schools," said BBA coach Ian Black. "At the J2s they're basically freshmen and sophomores. At the Eastern High Schools [they're] skiers from all four grades, freshmen through senior. So, for him to have a weekend like that as a sophomore is phenomenal."

Mooney also skied the last leg on the Vermont relay team, which won the silver medal at the Eastern High School Championships - a finish that coupled with his contribution to the J2 relay team pleased Black.

"It's just a really good feeling. There's only four kids in the state that get to be on that top relay team," said Black. "It's just a really cool feeling to have one of Burr and Burton's athletes skiing at that level and being on one of those top teams."

Along with Mooney, Bigelow and Proft also had good showings at the J2 Championships.

Bigelow took 34th place in freestyle, 26th place in classic and 41st place in the sprint out of a field of 95 girls from Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York.

Black said that he saw steady improvement in Bigelow throughout the season and while there were some standout races, he felt her best performance was at the J2 Championships.

"Helena's just a solid skier. She's been skiing a long time and she's not really racing at the same level of committment now as she once was. She's doing it more now for fun instead of really making it her life," said Black. "So, it's good for her to be able to go out and have a good time, race for fun and still have some good results."

Proft took 41st place in freestyle, 45th in classic and 40th in sprint at the J2 Championships - a finish that Black was not only pleased with, but indicated was encouraging.

"I was thrilled with his performance," said Black. "This is really only his second year skiing, also his second year racing. He had a good season last year with a lot of improvement and he just jumped right on it again this year and had just as much if not even more improvement. It was just great to see him have a result like that."

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