TA News

Alpine Ski Team Competes at States, Wraps Season

Guest post from Alpine Ski Coach Paul Dixon

We had an action packed end of the season with virtually back to back races with the Southern District Championship at Bromley on Friday the 1st. The event carried a bit less weight and stress this year as all of the schools and independent athletes would automatically qualify for the State Championship in an attempt to expand the field of more teams competing at the state level. 

The Ladies team despite some athletes having to miss the event due to the winter break were firing on all cylinders with top performances from Maya Dixon, Sophia Harvey, Ella Harvey, Heidi Hewes and Willow Slayton. They all skied strong and confidently as a final preparation for the State Championship.

The Men’s team faltered a little bit in the Slalom with 4 of the 7 athletes not finishing the challenging course. The GS was a bit of a different story with Elijah Renner, Oliver Yukica, Hardy Payson and freshman Ben Nalette all skiing well. 

The State Championship was held at Burke again this year which is becoming the permanent  home to the Vermont Alpine State Championship. This would also be the first time in recent history that both the Ladies and Men’s teams would represent Thetford Academy at the State level. This would also be the most physically and mentally demanding courses of the season as Burke is known for long, steep, icy race hill. 

The GS kicked off on Day 1 with strong individual performances from Maya Dixon (25th), Bianca Pulaski (45th), Ella Harvey (48th), Mavis Downey (52nd)  and Willow Slayton (67th) out of a large field of 91 racers. Many of the schools and teams are much bigger than Thetford Academy and all teams are limited to 6 competitors by gender so schools generally bring their strongest skiers.

The Men also skied strongly in the GS with Hardy Payson (52nd) leading the way. He was supported by Oliver Yukica (61st), Connor Gaine (62nd) and Oliver Ransom (67th). Elijah Renner had a great first 34th place first run but faltered in his second run and did not finish.

Day 2 brought the Slalom and early start to beat the incoming rain storms. The Women all had great first runs including top performer Maya Dixon with a 25th place start to the day. Unfortunately she faltered on her second run but her Ladies teammates all stepped up in a big way to bring their second runs home. The top finishers for the Ladies were Bianca Pulaski (45th), Mavis Downey (50th), Ella Harvey (55th), Sophia Harvey (58th) and Willow Slayton (70th). The Ladies team also cracked into the top ten combined team scores beating several  other much larger schools with well established Alpine racing programs.

Senior and Captain Oliver Yukica had a great first 48th place Slalom in his final race of his high school career. Unfortunately the rain moved in and there was a full downpour during his second run that both limited his visibility and led to him straddling one of the final gates before the finish. It was hard to see but he should be extremely proud of how he led the team and skied this season.

Hardy Payson also faltered but Elijah Renner (49th), Connor Gaine (59th) and Oliver Ransom (63rd) finished out the day as the rain continued to move in. Despite the Men’s team score not being as strong as the Ladies, Thetford finished tied with South Burlington in 10th place for the overall team score beating Lamoille and Colchester. 

Overall it was an amazing year and the State Championship was a great way to end it for both teams bringing out their best and supporting each other when someone faltered. The team is excited to compete at the State level again and bring the program to new heights. It was an honor and a privilege for Amy and I to coach such a great team!



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