Led by a winning performance from freshman Annike Nielsen in the giant slalom, the South Burlington High School girls alpine ski team edged Harwood for the NVAC District Championship at Sugarbush’s Mount Ellen on Tuesday.
The SBHS amassed 119 team points to earn a four-point team victory over Harwood (123). Champlain Valley Union (138), Mount Mansfield (161) and Stowe (166) rounded out the girls Top 5.
On the boys side, Mount Mansfield claimed the district crown with a score of 105, followed by Stowe (125), South Burlington (138), Harwood (202) and BFA-St. Albans (242).
Nielsen’s two-run time of 1:33.90 in the GS gave her first place ahead of CVU’s Emma Putre (1:34.93). South Burlington head coach Al Dworshak said Nielsen looked comfortable on the Inverness course due to her experience on that trail from club skiing, and that her result in Tuesday’s GS was largely a culmination of progress for the first-year varsity racer.
“She has been steadily improving all season,” Dworshak said. “She is peaking at the right time, doing the best skiing of her season right now.”
Nielsen was followed in the GS by Rebel teammates Ava Hultgren (ninth, 1:39.78), Madi Grabowski (12th, 1:40.83) and Ali Barron (26th, 1:45.07). Dworshak credited the consistency of his four girls racers, saying Hultgren and Grabowski in particular have been “exteremely steady, fast and dependable” this season.
Mount Mansfield made a strong run in the girls GS as well, with Karin Rand (third, 1:37.17), Ali Chivers (fourth, 1:37.42) and Darcy Patode (sixth, 1:38.82) forming a tight group near the top of the finishers’ list.
The boys GS saw Michael Hladky of Essex finish first with a combined time of 1:30.51. Mount Mansfield claimed the boys team crown thanks to the triple threat of Hayden Russell (third, 1:33.14), Kyle Polson (fourth, 1:34.44) and Tom Chivers (eighth, 1:39.81).
Districts kicked off with slalom races at Stowe on Monday. The boys individual winner was Mount Mansfield’s Poulson (1:10.80), with teammate Russell (1:11.00) finishing second.
In the girls slalom, Stowe’s Ali Leach won with a two-run time of 1:14.89, followed by MMU’s Amelia Frederick (second, 1:15.41), Harwood’s Megan O’Shea (third, 1:15.43) and SBHS’s Nielsen (fourth, 1:15.50).
This year’s state championships are set for Monday (GS at Middlebury) and Wednesday (slalom at Burke) of next week.