Alpine skiing: Hopkinton wins Capital Cup; Bow’s Wachsmuth, Concord’s Taylor top individual leaderboards


Monitor staff

Published: 02-03-2023 2:13 AM

If you look at the top of the standings of almost any Division I, II or III Alpine ski race you’ll see a Capital Area team at the top. If you look at the top of the Capital Area standings, you’ll see Hopkinton – at least for now.

Hopkinton won the 15th edition of the Capital Cup Alpine ski race – an event that combines both boys’ and girls’ scores – on Wednesday at Proctor Academy, giving the Division III Hawks local bragging rights.

Hopkinton tallied 773 points total, 388 from the boys and 385 from the girls. The Hawk boys easily topped their half of the standings, while the Hopkinton girls edged undefeated D-I Concord, 385-382.

Concord (746), Bow (722), Bishop Brady (569), Pembroke (536), John Stark (229) and Merrimack Valley (97) rounded out the overall team scores.

Bow senior Patrick Wachsmuth had the fastest combined score of two slalom runs (56.13 seconds), the only competitor to break one minute on the course. Hopkinton sophomore Merrick Chapin (1 minute, 0.59 seconds) finished second in the boys’ race.

Concord freshman Mika Taylor (1:04.63) topped the girls’ standings by 4.04 seconds over Hopkinton senior Clara Locke.

As with a typical NHIAA Alpine race, the top four finishers on each team count towards the team score. In this format, with eight skiers (four per gender) contributing to the team score, depth matters, and that is what Hopkinton credited the victory to.

A trio of freshmen – Anna Pearce (third), Marchella Guadagno (sixth) and Avery Loew (eighth) – all finished in the top 10 of the girls’ standings for Hopkinton, while juniors Harrison Wilson (third), Conrad Mollano (fifth) and Cam Bassett (sixth) were an even tighter top pack for the Hawk boys.

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“On the boys’ side one of our top skiers fell on the first run and had to hike, pushing him further back in the results than he would have hoped for,” said Hopkinton head coach Scott Zipke, who is in his first year at the head of the Alpine program after taking over for five-year head man Bob Berliner. “Our depth, however, really shined. Conrad Mollano and Cam Bassett, in particular, skied very steady and clean runs. Given the finicky nature of ski racing, where the snow surface, equipment, weather, etc., can all play a negative factor on any given run.”

As the defending D-III champions, the performance of the Hawk boys isn’t a surprise, but Hopkinton’s girls’ team finished sixth in 2022 and has a youthful look this year.

“There is a completely new coaching staff this year and we have a healthy contingent of freshmen skiers, so there has been a fair share of getting used to the rhythm of the team,” Zipke said. “But our entire team has been working hard as a group all year to stay focused and be supportive of all of our skiers. The girls’ team is led by senior Clara Locke, but our other three scoring skiers are frequently the freshman trio of Anne, Marcella and Avery. These girls are then being pushed by others such as Ava Burns, Maddie Dwyer, Ally Duval and Steph Elrick. The way these girls all push each other while also encouraging everyone’s success is a great dynamic to watch.”

It was always going to take a strong, team effort to defeat the Tide, whose girls team (fourth in D-I last year) entered Wednesday’s meet undefeated, a streak that includes a victory over defending D-I champs Bedford in the season opener.

The Concord boys (fifth in D-I in 2022) finished fourth in the Tide’s opener, but rattled off a pair of wins in big meets since then.

Juniors Brett McDonough (fourth) and Pablo Winn (10th) led the Tide boys, with sophomore Theo Scneible (12th) and senior Jacob Ryder (14th) also scoring.

Taylor, senior Hannah Golden (fifth), sophomore Lilly Merrill (seventh) and junior Charlotte Summerlin (10th) scored for the Concord girls.

“So far this year Taylor has been on the podium in every race,” said head coach George Golden, who is in his 23rd year as the Tide head coach. “Taylor seems to be getting faster each week and will certainly be a big contributor as the Alpine season moves into championship week. (Hannah) Golden and Taylor have been a 1-2 punch all season, both finishing in the top five in every race and both girls with at least one overall win to their name.”

Wachsmuth – last year’s D-II slalom champion and giant slalom runner-up finisher – led the Falcons with the individual title on Wednesday, while Seth Lowne (seventh), Carter Aubrey (eighth) and Braden Leclair (18th) were the Bow boys’ scorers, while Meredith Ryan (11th), Sophia Coombs (12th), Ava Gadbois (13th) and Sarah Lavigne (16th) contributed from the girls’ side.

Tess Lavoie (10th girls), Anna Beauchesne (17th), Margaret Sheehan (32nd), Max Brooks (13th boys), Jack Beauchesne (19th), Boden Gendron (22nd) and Alvaro Novo (23rd) scored for Bishop Brady.

Elizabeth Duchesne (15th girls), Mackenzie Hawkins (18th), Emma Parsons (25th), Leilani Belanger (34th), Samuel Nereson (28th boys) and Dylan Hawkins (29th) scored for Pembroke Academy.

Austin Freeman (11th boys), Stella Zampieri (26th girls) and Sophie Gray (37th girls) led John Stark, while Merrimack Valley’s Violet Webb (fourth girls) was the lone skier for the Pride. 

Alpine skiing is entering its final week of the regular season before all four NHIAA division championships are held on Feb. 13-14.