Edward Little’s Connor Jackson crests a knoll on the bottom part of the course on his way to a first-place finish in the boys’ giant slalom at the Class A Alpine championships at Mt. Abram in Greenwood. (Brewster Burns photo)
GREENWOOD — Edward Little’s Connor Jackson still had a look of disbelief on his face after he won the giant slalom portion of the Class A boys’ Alpine championships at Mt. Abram on Friday afternoon.
Jackson glanced at Mt. Abram as he spoke slowly about his astonishing victory with a combined winning time of 1:37.47
“It feels really good,” said Jackson, a senior who didn’t think a first-place finish was possible. “I did not. We have a lot of good skiers, especially, like, Maxs Bell.
“It means a lot. I really worked hard for it. I am just really happy. I think the second run was better. I felt like I was much earlier to the gate than my first run, where I was late a lot.”
“Connor Jackson — rock star coming through with a first,” Edward Little coach Jodd Bowles said with a wide grin. “The boys did what they did. We had some unfortunate things, and it happens, but we are in the hunt.
“Carnage ensued. We are going to wait until tomorrow to sort this thing out. I am disappointed for the seniors on all teams who didn’t perform like they are capable of. I would rather go in straight up with them.”
The second run of the giant slalom featured a few frustrating spills, chills and heroics.
Falmouth High School is sitting pretty for the moment after placing four skiers in the top-10 — AJ Noyes (fourth, 1:37.74), Nick Shapiro (fifth, 1:41.35), Ben Adey (sixth, 1:42.06) and Ben Keller (eighth, 1:43.16). Marshwood’s Sean Maguire (1:37.56) took second, Leavitt’s Brady Hathorne (1:42.73) grabbed seventh and Mt. Blue’s Eli Yeaton (1:43.31) and Greeley’s Alex Richard tied for ninth place with a time of 1:43.31.
“Second run was a lot better because I worked a lot harder at the top than the bottom and let it run,” Yeaton said.
Mt. Blue coach Mark Cyr also said his boys team took a cautious approach to the course.
“Making rounder turns than they needed to,” Cyr said. “They should have been going in a little more direct. We tried to get them to be a little cautious on the head wall, but then let them go, but I think they improved in the second run.
“I haven’t heard any numbers, yet, Again, it is going to be Edward Little, Falmouth and Mt. Blue, maybe Oxford Hills. Falmouth is in really good shape.”
Falmouth seized the lead after the first day.
Bell displayed fortitude after taking a small spill. But he collected himself and finished the course. He turned in a blistering first run with a time of :47.03 before his mishap that placed in 26th place.
Mt. Blue’s Sam Smith found himself in a similar situation when his ski came off during the second run.
“I didn’t fall or anything. My ski just came off,” Smith said. “It is pretty upsetting. I had a good run going.
“That’s racing. There is nothing you can do about that,” Cyr said.
But what was really impressive is that Smith also competed — and helped Mt. Blue win a state title — in the Class A Nordic championships in the morning at Black Mountain in Rumford and rushed back to compete in the Alpine competition in the afternoon.
“I had Nordic this morning. We were on the bus at 6 o’clock and raced at 9 a.m.,” Smith said. “As soon I finished, I had to come here and race, and we actually won that. I am pretty tired right now. And I am going to have another one tomorrow.”
Mt. Blue’s Hunter Bolduc (17th, 1:46.39) said the team took a conservative approach to the Mt. Abram course.
“It was little slow the first run,” Bolduc said. “We all skied pretty conservative but … my second run felt better. I wasn’t as conservative, but I don’t know about the time.”
Oxford Hills’ Cameron Bancroft (24th, 1:49.36) said he took it to the limit his second run.
“It went well,” Bancroft said. “I kind of played it safe the first run. The second run I took a little more risk and it almost cost me the race because I almost wiped out at the top, so I dialed it back a little bit.
“But I am very happy how that went. I think I maintained control the whole time. It might be my last year, so I went for it as much as I could.”
Girls’ giant slalom competition
Cheverus’s Annesley Black finished on top with a combined winning time of 1:46.94, and Fryeburg Academy’s Brooke Juneau (1:47.69) glided into second place.
Mt. Blue’s Marielle Pelletier (1:53.45) claimed third and Edward Little’s Jordan Cummings (1:54.82) finished fourth.
“The girls skied a little slow — especially the first run,” Cyr said. “A little tentative, a little cautious, so they got behind the eight ball a little bit.
“I think we are maybe seven points out of first right now. So the girls skied a little cautious. We are clearly a better slalom than a GS. We are looking for better things tomorrow.”
Fryeburg sits in firs place, two points ahead of Edward Little.
Despite taking a fall, Oxford Hills’ Caroline Burns still finished in 21st place with a time of 2:04.50.
“Well, the first one, I fell,” Burns said. “The second run, I was just trying to have fun and just hoping for the best. It was a good run up until I fell and I recovered and I feel good about the recovery.”
Edward Little’s Evelyn Bilodeau (17th, 2:01.31) said was the course was a challenge.
“The first run was little bit better. It wasn’t as choppy,” Bilodeau said. “I think the course got a little bit torn up after that.”
Mt. Blue’s Ashley Wiles (29th, 2:08.08) let loose her second run after taking cautious approach on the first run.
“The first run was a little conservative,” Wiles said. “(The course) is not bad. It is really holding up well. The snow is firm.”
The teams return to competiton on Day 2 of the Class A boys’ and girls’ Alpine championships, which will be held at Black Mountain in Rumford on Friday.
Mt. Blue’s Ellie Pelletier makes a left-footed turn on the lower part of the giant slalom course during her second run at the Class A Alpine championships at Mt. Abram in Greenwood. Pelletier finished third in the event.Leavitt’s Brady Hathorne rounds a gate at the bottom of the course at the Class A Alpine championships at Mt. Abram in Greenwood. Hathorne finished seventh overall.Falmouth’s Ben Adey carves a right-footed turn on the final gates of the second run in the giant slalom at the Class A Alpine championships at Mt. Abram in Greenwood. Adey finished sixth in the event, and three of his teammates also finished in the top 10.Edward Little’s Jordan Cummings navigates a red gate setting up her next turn during her second run at the Class A Alpine championships at Mt. Abram in Greenwood. Cummings finished fourth in the event.
Fryeburg Academy’s Brooke Juneau gets a bit off edge on the lower part of the giant slalom course on her second run at the Class A Alpine championships at Mt. Abram in Greenwood. Juneau finished second in the event.
Marshwood’s Sean Maguire gets low to navigate a red gate on the lower part of the course on his first run in the giant slalom at the Class A Alpine championships at Mt. Abram in Greenwood. Maguire finished second by nine one-hundredths of a second.Cheverus’ Annesley Black keeps her eyes ahead as she navigates a red gate mid way through her first run at the Class A Alpine championships at Mt. Abram in Greenwood. Black finished first in the giant slalom event.