Staples and the Fairfield co-op team will be the favorites Wednesday at the girls' state open ski championship at Mount Southington.
Fairfield barely edged the Lady Wreckers last season at the Connecticut Interscholastic Ski League State Open Championship, and the neighbors again are expected to be at the top of a multi-team field next week in Southington.
Last year, the Mustangs took the team title by finishing a scant 0.86 second ahead of Staples. This year, the two teams have dominated rivals, consistently finishing at or near the top in their meets.
In the one official head-to-head contest this year, Fairfield won.
In an unofficial matchup on Feb. 8 -- the teams were on the mountain on the same day but competing against different teams -- Fairfield also logged the better time, 323.48 to 329.19. Those were the two best times of the day on a rutted course.
The Lady Wreckers that day were missing freshman Alex Collins, who has either been their top, or No. 2 skier this year.
Freshman Jacqueline Chappo (52.05) led Staples and took eighth overall among the 90 racers. Finishing close behind Chappo was freshman Liz Cooperstone (12th, 53.80).
Junior Caroline Corbally (17th, 54.51), senior captains Caroline Howe (23rd, 55.30) and Kate Collins (55.49, 25th) and sophomore Caitlyn Hartmann (57.91, 34th) rounded out the field for the Lady Wreckers.
Wreckers take 2nd
The Staples boys will also compete at State Open. The Wreckers (311.83) placed second in a 10-team field Feb. 8.
Freshmen Trevor Harker (52.01) and Matt Bateman (52.53) placed 16th and 19th, respectively. Junior Henry Dumke (21st, 52.77) and freshman Ryan Skinner (26th, 53.26) rounded out the scoring for Staples.
Staples squads split with Weston
The Weston boys and girls ski teams will also compete at the State Open, and they officially raced Staples Feb. 2.
Fairfield wasn't at the Feb. 2 race, and the Lady Wreckers (328.47) ruled the mountain. They defeated Weston (334.76), which took second overall in the 10-team field. The Lady Trojans can take solace that they were relatively close to the top. Staples trounced the other eight teams by at least 20 seconds.
Chappo (52.46) led the Lady Wreckers, and finished tied for third with Weston's Shelby Merberg in the 90-girl field. Corbally (53.90), Cooperstone (54.12) and Kate Collins (54.98) took ninth, 12th and 16th, while Weston's Anna Dickstein (55.16) and Katherine Marra (55.50) placed 17th and 18th. Hartmann (55.67) was not far behind Marra in 19th-place. Lady Trojan seniors Ava Van Daalen (56.23) and Kelly Quinn (55.33) kept it relatively close, taking 22nd and 23rd, respectively. with Staples senior captain Misha Strage (57.34) and Weston's Alex Fontaine (59.04) rounded out the top six qualifiers for their teams, placing 29th and 33rd, respectively.
The Weston boys (315.49) were second overall, and they defeated Staples (319.58), which was third overall in the 10-team field.
Thomson (51.60) took eighth, but the Trojans began closing the gap with the Wreckers, thanks to Jon Buddenhagen (52.07) and Peter Robbins (52.15) taking 11th and 12th, respectively. Ruggiano (52.34) kept Staples .28 ahead of Weston with a 14th-place finish.
That changed with Weston's Andrew Braveman (52.42), Chase Pomerantz (52.43).and David Gardell (52.72) took 14th, 16th and 18th, respectively. Skinner (52.49) was sandwiched in between Pomerantz and Gardell in 17th-place, but the Trojans edged ahead with their depth. Bateman (53.23) was 22nd and Weston's Eric Schanzer (53.70, 30th) rounded out the field for the Trojans. Harker (54.23) and Wrecker freshman Trevor Penwell (55.69) rounded out the field for Staples in 35th and 41st, respectively.
Collins and Merberg
make Team Connecticut
Alex Collins and Merberg both earned berths on Team Connecticut, which will compete at the Northeast Regional championships March 18.
Thomson is the first alternate for the boys team.