The Ridgefield High boys and girls ski teams ended their seasons with top-three finishes in the State Open championships Tuesday at Mount Southington.
The Ridgefield boys had a team time of 292.25 seconds to edge Fairfield Prep (292.93) for second place behind Southington (288.56). The Ridgefield girls had a team time of 324.74 seconds, placing third behind Farirfield (321.08) and Staples (323.39).
“We have a talented group of racers this year on both teams,” Ridgefield coach Adam Rapczynski said. “They push each other to be better, step up when needed, and they genuinely love skiing.”
The Ridgefield boys team entered the State Open with a 25-1 record. That lone defeat came against Southington in the final regular-season race.
“We knew going into the [State Open] they would be our toughest competition, and we also knew the competition was tight with other teams in the state, especially (two-time defending champ) Fairfield Prep,” Rapczynski said. “That being said, we did beat Southington at the first race (of the regular season) when we were on the mountain together, but not racing each other. Going into states, we really didn’t focus on how to beat Southington, or any other team; instead, the boys focused on skiing hard and skiing their best.”
Ridgefield had two of the top-10 overall skiers: Declan McNamara finished third with a two-run combined time of 46.98 seconds, and Jakob Robinson was seventh in a time of 47.37 seconds.
“Declan and Jake are just incredible racers and athletes. They both have experience skiing and racing at mountain schools in Vermont in the past, and they both work hard and love what they do,” Rapczynski said.
“At the top of the mountain, Jake and Declan were joking around before the race began and said to me: ‘We’re going one and two tonight, coach,’ ” Rapczynski added. “I then smiled and asked who would be one and who would be two. To which they both replied: ‘It doesn’t matter.’ That pretty much sums up their outlook — they both want to do well, and they both want each other to do well, also.”
Luke Faillaci (20th, 48.28), Joseph Pastore (30th, 48.91), Eliot Hynes (44th, 50.15), and Owen Cherner (49th, 50.56) also contributed to Ridgefield’s team score.
One of Ridgefield’s top skiers, Alex Bornstein, had an equipment malfunction on his first run and wound up finishing 121st overall.
“Alex, unfortunately, ejected from his binding on one ski as he was coming out of the starting gate,” Rapczynski said. “His second run (23.14 seconds) was outstanding, placing within the top 15 (of all second runs).”
The Ridgefield girls had three skiers finish in the top-20 overall. Isabel Redrup was 10th in a two-run time of 51.75 seconds, followed by teammates Riley Peters (11th, 51.96) and Lauren Tsai (15th, 52.84).
Also contributing to the Tigers’ team score were Julia Bragg (27th, 54.21), Grace Bucci (40th, 56.37), and Chelsea Schwartz (49th, 57.61).
“The Fairfield girls have won states for something like the past five or six years, so [they] were the favorites going in I think,” Rapczynski said. “We certainly had a shot, but with not everyone of our initial top six finishing, we just fell a bit short. The girls were just excited to take home a third-place trophy — a huge improvement from last year’s (ninth place) finish.”