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Skiing: Weston moves up at State Open

Jon Buddenhagen, left, and Shelby Merberg led the Weston High boys and girls ski teams respectively at the State Open race last Monday, March 11. Both were also named All-State selections.—Richard Fanning photo

Jon Buddenhagen, left, and Shelby Merberg led the Weston High boys and girls ski teams respectively at the State Open race last Monday, March 11. Both were also named All-State selections.—Richard Fanning photo

The State Open race gave the Weston High boys ski team one last chance against one opponent in particular.

Early in the season the Trojans had lost to Wilton, which eventually went on to win the state Class S title. It turned out Weston would have the last word at Mount Southington on Monday, March 11.

A team time of 288.30 seconds not only put the Trojans ahead of this opponent (298.09), it was good enough to put them third overall in a field of 12 teams. Such was a big improvement from last year when they finished seventh.

Fairfield was the winner with 281.24, dethroning defending champ Staples. Besides winning the team title, Fairfield also had the top individual finish and three skiers total in the top 10.

The Trojans just missed having one in this group. Their best time came courtesy of Jon Buddenhagen. A combined time of exactly 47 seconds was good for 11th overall. He also qualified for team Connecticut at the Eastern Regional championships.

Weston’s top three skiers were grouped closely, all having times within a span of less than half a second. Two places later was Dave Gardell with a 47.29. Chase Pomerantz was also in the top 20, taking 16th in 47.40.

Next for Weston, will Coates posted a 48.59, good for 29th overall. A 48.98 got Chris Mac 36th, 0.03 second ahead of Wilton’s Wyatt Lillie.

It was a tie for 38th as Rick Ruiz completed the scoring for the Trojans, posting a 49.04, same as Glastonbbury’s Mike Conti. Just 0.01 second behind them was a 49.05 by Pete Gardell for 40th.

Two other Weston skiers also finished in succession. Travis Whitmore was 62nd in 50.26 and Benson Kane had a 50.29.

Harry Manning was also in the race and was 66th with a 50.44.

The Trojan girls also improved in the standing since last year. A 297.58 was good for fifth overall and third among Class S schools.

Fairfield was the winner with 297.65, dethroning defending champ Staples, which was runner-up with 288.73. Class S champ Joel Barlow was third with 289.35.

Once again Weston was led by Shelby Merberg, the only skier on her team in the top 20 and to make Team Connecticut. A 41.13 earned her sixth overall.

A small group of Weston skiers followed, all with times within a tenth of a second. Anna Dickstein was 28th overall in 49.56.

Right behind her was a 49.63 by Katherine Marra. Hayley Singer was also in this group, finishing in 49.66 for 30th.

It was a three-way tie for 38th. Moving up in Weston’s order, Ina Andresen had a 50.80 as did Natalie Schanzer, who completed the scoring for the team. Also in this group was Fairfield’s Lauren Craighhead with the same time.

Next was Emma Cook with a 51.07, good for 43rd. Alex Fontaine posted a 51.53, just 0.02 second behind Cheshire’s Jennifer Brown.

It was a close call for 59th. A 52.36 allowed Sarah Radisch to beat Greenwich’s Meg Robinson by 0.01 second. Emily Robbins was also in the race, taking 63rd in 52.84.

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