WOODFORD -- On a rainy, slush-filled day at Prospect Mountain, Mount Anthony Union High School's Luke Keenan battled the opposition, and the elements, to spearhead a 1-2-3 finish for the Patriots to give the team a win in its home race.
Keenan finished the course in 14 minutes, 8 seconds with Andy Barlow finishing second a minute behind and Nick Altland finishing in third (15:52).
The trio helped pace the Patriots in a team win, with MAU finishing with 20 points while second-place Brattleboro finished with 27. Rutland was third with 42 points, and Burr and Burton Academy was fourth with 57.
"It was really sloppy, really thick, and just really messy," Keenan said of the race conditions. "But I knew everyone had the same conditions, so you just have to fight through it and do the best you can. I just tried to push it as hard as I could go. It was a struggle to get a glide going."
The fourth placer for MAU was Avery Peck, who finished 15th overall, 14th in team placing, with a time of 18:12. Martin Ftacek was right behind Peck with a time of 18:13.
"[Keenan] did what I thought he would do," coach Bruce Smith said. "[Barlow] and [Altland] were right there, and then there was a gap. We are trying to work to bring those newer skiers in. What we want to do this season is get them closer to the top."
Mount Anthony was without its second-place skier Will Buckley, who sat out the meet on Saturday.
For Burr and Burton, Anders Proft was the first across the line in fifth place, finishing the course in 16:22. Owen Pollio finished 11th overall in a time of 17:44, Simon Aborn finished in a time of 18:18, and Paton Marion finished in 20:58.
"It was pretty sloppy out there, kids were struggling," BBA coach Ian Black said. "It's just not easy conditions to ski in. I felt pretty good about how they finished and how they skied. I think they had fun, they all came back in and said it wasn't as bad as they thought it would be."
On the girls side, MAU's Abby Malmborg raced past her competition, finishing in the middle of the boys pack with a time of 17:46 as a part of a 1-2-3-6 finish for the Patriots.
Erica Hale was second in 18:39, Molly O'Callaghan was right behind Hale in a time of 18:42, and Allie Boudreau finished in sixth place overall with a time of 18:57. Three other Patriot skiers behind Boudreau within a minute of each other to help the Patriots dominate the girls' race.
Skiing as a team against only Rutland, the MAU girls finished with 11 points, one off a perfect score, while Rutland had 37 points.
"As a team we have had a really hard week with hard workouts, but I think we went out and skied well," Malmborg said. "I felt good going in. With the boys [who started a minute before the girls] there I could pace myself off them. When I saw them, I pretended it was a workout."
For Smith, the girls race was indicative of what he expects from his team all season.
"[Malmborg] has been there on her own," Smith said. "And then, it is anyone's guess. All those girls ski competitively together, and they have good grouping. That is critical in team scoring."
Burr and Burton had one girl racer in the varsity race, with Raili Utiger finishing in a time of 20:18.
And while the conditions were not ideal, with Smith even shortening the course due to slush in what is usually the home stretch, Marble Valley League teams did get a second race under their belts heading into the winter break.
"It is great, it lets us hit the ground running after the new year," Black said. "A lot of my skiers are new, so these are the only two races they have ever done. it feels good to get it under our belt."