Thursday January 10, 2013

BRANDON CANEVARI

Manchester Journal

MANCHESTER -- In a contest that went down to the wire, the Burr and Burton Academy girls snowboarding team edged Black River in the giant slalom race on Tuesday at Bromley Mountain.

On the strength of three top-10 finishes, BBA scored 12 points, topping Black River's 14, Bellows Free Academy and Leland & Gray, who scored 33 and 35 points, respectively.

Giant slalom in snowboarding is similar to skiing, where the best times are the winners after two runs.

Caroline Kepler was the top snowboarder for the Bulldogs, winning the girls race. Teammate Cali Wadsworth was close behind in third.

The BBA boys team -- the defending state champions -- also won the giant slalom, scoring 36 points and topping runner-up South Burlington's 49. BFA, Leland & Gray and Springfield finished with 59, 80 and 99 points, respectively.

On the boys side, independent Logan Farmer from Randolph won the race, but Will Helmetag and Sam Eisenhauer were second and third as the Bulldogs outpointed South Burlington.

While the giant slalom event is not a favorite of her riders, BBA snowboarding coach Amy Herrmann said she has always stressed its importance to them.

"The issue that we run into is that giant slalom is part of the state program and in order to be eligible for a state title and go to the state championships and have a run at it we have to do GS as a team," Herrmann said. I tell them ‘I know you don't like it. It's two runs. Just focus, do it, and get it done.'"

Herrmann said the majority of the students would much rather be "in the park or in the [half]pipe," which she understands. However, she said that the team does not have access to halfpipe in order to train whereas they do have access to the equipment necessary to set a GS course through the Bromley Outing Club.

"I always tell them since we don't really have access to a halfpipe we need to be good at one event, whether it's slopestyle or GS, we need to be really good at one of them," Herrmann said. "So, why don't we just focus a little bit on GS let's get comfortable with the race course and lets do well at states. This way we have that buffer zone we need when we go into halfpipe because we're not strong in halfpipe.

The boys team has won the State Championship the last four years in a row and last year BBA had all but locked up the state title heading into the last event -- slopestyle -- due to a dominant win in the giant slalom event and also taking the team win in the halfpipe event.