Ski season sputters; skiers excel

CHARLEMONT – There has been so much stop and start to the 2016-17 high school ski season, that it is no wonder that local skiers know which way is up and down.
On Monday night, Matt Masciadrelli continued his win streak on the Giant Slalom, taking another overall victory by three-tenths of a second over the entire field of Western Mass skiers in the latest Pioneer Valley Interscholastic Athletic Conference race at Berkshire East.
Masciadrelli completed the course in 22.73 seconds. Longmeadow’s John Burger was second (23.02 overall).
“He is really dialed in with Giant Slalom right now and keeps finding speed,” St. Mary ski coach Andy Lussier said about his star athlete. “Tonight’s GS win was really something in that the course set would typically favor heavy athletes as it was so straight.”
It was a great night of runs as Jack Masciadrelli (14th, 24.42), Nate Bonini (16th, 24.62) and Hayden Lussier (tied 21st, 25.18) contributed consistent runs, feeding off of each other’s success.
East Longmeadow eclipsed St. Mary in the team standings by less than a second to widen its gap in the standings.
“There are two races left before the Western Mass individuals and anything can happen – just look at the Patriots,” coach Lussier said. “We will not give up and we will ski strong.”
Other local top 30 finishers included: Westfield’s Jacob Stephens (15th, 24.57), Gateway’s Jake Thayer (23rd, 25.19), Bombers’ Daniel O’Connor (27th, 25.42), and Southwick’s Cameron Brockbank (30th, 25.72).
For the fifth time this season, a PVIAC race has been bumped. Tuesday’s event was postponed due to inclement weather. It will be made up Mon., Feb. 13.
BOMBERS SOAR: Westfield’s Grace O’Connor and Rebecca Stephens dominated the top spots for the umpteenth time this season.
O’Connor won the slalom race in 32.16, nudging past Minnechaug’s Grace Crochiere (32.81). Stephens finished third (32.9).
Lauren O’Connor (11th overall, 36.64) and Madelyn Jemiolo (37th, 44.99) rounded out the Westfield girls’ counting ski scores.
Gateway’s Jessica Garriepy (35.69) and St. Mary’s Chloe Lussier (36.54) claimed seventh and 10th, respectively.
Lussier shook off an injury suffered over the weekend to claim the top 10 finish (4th Division).
“She’s having a great season,” coach Lussier said of his eighth-grade phenom. “It’s great that she wanted to race today, given the fall she had in a race yesterday that I’m pretty sure would have sidelined most.”
Ally Rougemont cracked the overall top 50, finishing 26th in the Division.
Said coach Lussier: “She improves with every race and has come a long way with her skiing this season.”

CORRECTION – Westfield’s Olivia Hadla scored 20 points in Monday night’s girls’ basketball win over visiting Ludlow.

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