Girls second, boys ninth at State Open championships

The Ridgefield girls ski team finished second at the State Open championship on Monday at Mount Southington.

The Ridgefield girls ski team finished second at the State Open championship on Monday at Mount Southington.

RHS ski team / Contributed photo

Nearing the end of a winter that wasn’t, it was fitting that the final race of Connecticut’s high school ski season took place under brilliant sunshine Monday afternoon with temperatures in the 50s at Mount Southington.

It was also fitting that the State Open girls championship came down to the regular season’s best teams, Fairfield and Ridgefield.

In the end, 1.7 seconds separated the two. Fairfield opened a slim lead after the opening run and finished with a team time of 281.42 seconds to edge Ridgefield, which was second with a time of 283.12 seconds.

The Tigers were almost 17 seconds faster than third-place finisher Daniel Hand (300.24).

The title extended Fairfield’s dominance this decade: The Mustangs have now won the last eight State Open girls championships.

Ridgefield’s Lauren Tsai, Isabel Redrup, Riley Peters, and Julia Bragg nailed solid first-run times, but after the first four racers for each team Fairfield led by one one-hundredth of a second: 95.40 to 95.41. Skiing from the fifth slot, Ridgefield’s Jillian Pastore laid down an excellent first-run time of 24.01 seconds to put Ridgefield ahead before Fairfield’s depth soon came into play.

Lurking deep in the start order was Fairfield’s Emilia Dejounge, who clocked a time of 24.59 seconds to help Fairfield end the first run ahead by just over a half second.

In the second run, Fairfield continued to stay in front despite valiant and courageous skiing by the Tigers on a fast course. Led by second-place overall finisher Erin McHugh, Fairfield was able to fend off Ridgefield and add another title to its dynasty.

Isabel Redrup paced the Tigers with a two-run combined time of 46.19 seconds, good for sixth place overall. Teammates Julia Bragg (10th, 46.74), Riley Peters (11th, 46.84), Jillian Pastore (15th, 47.22), and Lauren Tsai (18th, 47.66) added top-20 overall finishes, and Hadley Drever was 24th (48.47) to round out Ridgefield’s six scoring times.

Also competing for the Tigers were Grace Bucci (29th, 49.61), Echo Neilsen (40th, 50.65), Sophia Pomposello (56th, 51.99), and Chelsea Schwartz (68th, 53.20).

In the boys State Open, a tricky fifth gate gave numerous racers fits, causing some spectacular recoveries and wipe-outs.

The Pomperaug/Newtown combined team managed the course best, putting together a time of 273.63 seconds to finish first ahead of Fairfield Prep (280.62) and Wilton (284.29). Ridgefield was ninth with a team time of 293.95 seconds.

Ridgefield junior Declan McNamara was second overall (out of 138 racers) with a two-run combined time of 43.34 seconds. Edging McNamara was Darien’s Chase Gulick, who finished first in 43.27.

Also contributing to Ridgefield’s team time were Steffan Labuschagne (40th, 48.75), Gabe Guter (52nd, 49.52), Jonathan Green (60th, 49.89), Brad Alexander (71st, 51.07), and Logan Holder (74th, 51.38).

Matthew Gallagher (80th, 51.92), Charles Bragg (84th, 52.59), Ivan Gupta (92nd, 53.12), and Luke D’Antonio (disqualified after falling in his first run) also skied for the Tigers.