Oh, So Close: North Salem Skiers Fall Second Short of Another Title

Christian Kappes competes at the Section 1 skiing championships. Credits: Vic McGee

HUNTER, N.Y.— The North Salem/John Jay boys ski team was hoping to make it a four-peat as it traveled to Hunter Mountain to compete in the Section 1 championships on Feb 15.

Both the boys and girls teams were the defending team champions, and the boys were in good position with seven skiers qualified to compete in the sectional races against a field of the top 53 skiers from the section.

However, even though the North Salem/John Jay squad would have six racers in the top 11 overall, the team score is based on the top three finishers for each team and Horace Greeley pulled out the title.

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North Salem/John Jay had won three-straight Section 1 crowns, but this time it was Horace Greeley in first at 85.59, with North Salem/John Jay in second at 86.71.

Despite coming up short in the final team standings, it was another impressive day on the slopes for the squad as six racers qualified to compete in the state championships as part of the Section 1 team.

“They left it on the hill—the boys went for it all out,” boys coach Tom Adamec said. “We had a lot of fun, great camaraderie, guys pulling together. A good thing to see as a coach. They put it all out there on the hill, did their best, that’s what I was hoping for and that’s what they did and I’m proud of them.”

The girls team was also the defending champions, but this year they would finish in third place with a combined time of 113.38 behind champion Mamaroneck with a time of 109.28 and second-place Brewster.

For the boys team, the day started off well in the giant slalom as John Emerson took the lead in the first run and held on with two impressive runs to take first place. Emerson had the fastest time in the first run at 27.51, and his second run was not far behind at 27.74 to finish with a combined time of 55.25 to win the giant slalom.

“John Emerson got a gold medal in the giant slalom and that kind of came out of nowhere,” Adamec said. “For him it was a big day. Usually it’s Tyler (Reinke), Nils (Carlson) and Christian (Keppes) battling for first. Today, all of a sudden John gets it. He gets off that first giant slalom run and he’s in first place, and second run he goes out and does it again.”

His teammates were not far behind as the team had seven of the top 13 place finishers in giant slalom. Tyler Reinke was fourth at 56.71, Christian Kappes was fifth at 57.08, Nils Carlson seventh at 57.28, Jake Leicht 10th at 57.76, Thor Adamec 11th at 57.89 and Luke Devey 13th at 58.27.

Next up was the slalom race and this time the boys team would have six of the top 12 place finishers.

Reinke led the way in third place with a two-run combined time of 58.08. Kappes was sixth at 58.64, Emerson eighth at 59.01, Leicht was ninth at 60.76, Adamec 10th at 61.26 and Devey was 12th at 61.45.

In the boys skimeister overall standings, Emerson finished second with a combined total of 114.26 for his four runs. Reinke was third, Kappes fifth, Leicht ninth, Adamec 10th and Devey 11th.

“Overall, we had a great season, seven years undefeated in the regular season,” Adamec said. “We had a blast this year. We have a strong group coming back for next year. We’re losing Nils, Jake Leicht and Connor Brady, but we’ll have a good bunch of guys back. They had a great year and will go on to states. We had a lot of fun, a great group of kids and I’m proud of them.”

The girls team had three skiers among the 50 girls who qualified for the Section 1 championships.

Acadia Thielking, Kristen Wolfe and Samantha Spieler each earned a chance to compete in the races on Hunter Mountain and made the most of the opportunity.

Leading the way was Thielking as she once again qualified for the Section 1 team that will compete in the state championships.

Thielking started the day on the slalom course where a number of top skiers had trouble with a gate near the end of the course. Thielking was one of those who made it through both runs and she finished second overall in the slalom. She raced through on her first run with a time of 35.9, and her second run she crossed the line at 36.24 for a combined time of 72.14.

Wolfe was 12th overall in the slalom as she clocked a time of 38.14 on her first run and 39.32 on her second. Spieler was not far behind in 15th place with runs of 39.34 and 40.19.

In the giant slalom, Spieler finished sixth overall as she raced to the finish in 31.51 on her first run and 31.2 on her second for a combined time of 62.71. Wolfe was right behind in seventh place with runs of 31.44 and 31.32. Thielking was 13th overall with times of 32.13 and 31.68.

In the girls skimeister standings for the best times on all four runs combined, Thielking finished third with a time of 135.95 as she earned one of the 11 spots on the Section 1 team heading up to the state championships.

Thielking and the six boys who qualified from North Salem/John Jay will compete in the New York State championships at Bristol Mountain on Feb. 27-28.

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