One of these years, the Wellesley girls’ ski team might dominate the MIAA Alpine state championship and take the drama out of the announcement of the winner. But as long as coach Cory Tusler is eventually handed a trophy, a little suspense isn’t such a bad thing.
Wellesley won its second straight state championship Tuesday at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, surviving a challenging course and an announcement that, like last season’s, left a few stomachs in knots. The Raiders finished with 543 points. Lunenburg was second (537) with Notre Dame of Hingham third (479).
“I was told by the tournament director that we were at best second or third,” said Tusler. “They went through the top five and Lunenburg was second. Then, all of a sudden, we won it.
“We just didn’t think that with Lunenburg placing in top five that we had a chance at winning the whole thing, but we did. I’m speechless. I can’t believe we pulled it off.”
Last year at Berkshire East, officials initially announced that Wellesley was the runner-up, but that was quickly changed and the Raiders earned a co-championship with Lunenburg. Tuesday, the emotions were repeated.
“We were like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ ” said Tusler. “Then they said, ‘Wellesley wins.’ Every time I talk about it, I feel like crying.”
Wellesley, which finished an unbeaten regular season in Mass. Bay Ski League East, was again led by Sami Rubin, a sophomore who finished second in the giant slalom and third in the slalom.
“She skied great,” said Tusler. “She takes great lines, very clean. To be honest with you, she looks like the Shiffrin girl from the Olympics. The girl has a knack for the snow. She knows how to go.”
Also contributing in Wellesley’s scoring was freshman Nell Solomon (15th GS, 24th slalom) and senior captain Maggie McKenna (18th in GS, slalom). Belmont’s Michelle Martin won the slalom in 37.61 seconds, followed by Lunenburg's Rachel Bateman (37.69). Bateman also won the GS in 56.05 with teammate Hannah Buckley third.
One year after not finishing in the top 25, St. Peter-Marian won the boys’ title with 566 points. Seven Worcester schools form a co-op with St. Peter-Marian serving as the host school. St. John’s Prep was second (489) and Winchester third (487).
The slalom was won by Luke Hanlon (34.97), a freshman at Worcester Tech but skiing for St. Peter-Marian. BC High’s Peter Sugar was second in the slalom followed by Winchester’s Clay Soper. The GS went to Wellesley’s Matt Piispanen (53.84) with Sugar in second and Hanlon third.
For St. Peter-Marian skiers, Wachusett was a short drive. It was a longer trek for the winning girls team. Wellesley left school at 6 a.m. and returned in the same yellow school bus that afternoon. Scattered about the bus were coaches, skiers, and their equipment. And an MIAA trophy.
“It’s amazing,” said Tusler. “I’m looking at the trophy now and it looks pretty good.”
Bob Holmes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .