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Benson wins twice; KHS boys sweep podium at Meet of Champions

CONWAY — The Cross Country Skiing Meet of Champions was held last week at Gunstock Ski Area in Gilford, and skiers from Kennett High once again stole the show.

"We were greeted with about 12 inches of fresh powder snow and clearing skies," Steve Vosburgh, Eagles' head coach, said. "Sun was out for a few hours, and things warmed fast, changing the fresh snow to sticky, glazing clumpy snow. Conditions were excellent late winter though and a great day was had by all."

Hannah Benson won both the skate (freestyle) and classic races for the girls while Torin LaLiberte won the classic for the boys and was joined on the podium by two teammates. He was also second in the freestyle skate race.

"Consistently strong results from Hannah Benson and Torin Laliberte in both races," Vosburgh said. "An amazing sweep of the podium in the morning's classic boys race, with all four Kennett boys placing in the top six.

The meet brings together the top 10 finishers in classic and freestyle from the recently completed four division State Meets for a day of top notch ski racing hosted by the Gunstock Ski Club.

In a field of 34 skiers, Benson topped the field in the classic race, winning by 80 seconds. Benson, who will attend Williams College in the fall, covered the course in 20:29.

She was joined on the podium by Hopkinton's Sarah Nadeau, second, 21:49; and Jessa Fogel, of Derryfield, third, 22:04.

In the skate race, Benson beat 30 other girls with a winning time of 17:30. She was followed by Fogel, second, 17:42; and Nadeau, third, 18:48.

For the boys, Kennett became the first school to ever sweep the podium at the Meet of Champions in cross country by taking the top three spots in the classic race. LaLiberte won the event in 18:21, but teammates PJ Benson and Donovan Spaulding were right behind him in second and third place, respectively, in 19:42 and 19:56.

Fellow Eagle Ian Lubkin finished sixth overall, crossing the line in 20:26.

In the skate race, Joe Smith, of Moultonborough, took the top spot, winning in 15:07. LaLiberte was second overall in 15:15 while Blaine Ayotte, of Concord, rounded out the top three in 15:22.

Other KHS finishers were Spaulding, sixth, 16:46; Benson, 11th, 17:30; and Lubkin, 15th, 18:01.

Next up: Eastern J2 championships in Holderness this Friday through Sunday, followed by Eastern High School Championships in Presque Isle, Maine, Mar 15-17.

This Wednesday, Kennett will have 12 skiers compete in the 2013 Alpine Meet of Champions at Cannon Mountain.

The meet brings together the top 10 finishers in slalom and giant slalom from the recently completed four division State Meets for a day of top notch ski racing hosted by the Franconia Ski Club.

Racers will ski two runs of GS beginning at 10 a.m. followed by a pair of slalom runs, starting at 1 p.m.

Skiing in GS for the boys will be Danny Nash, Tyler Eldridge, Jake Remick, Kurt Niiler and Ben Garner. For the girls, it'll be Maddie Glavin, Elyse Clancy, Brooke Lemerise, Molly Van Deursen and Emma Niiler.

Skiing in slalom for the girls will be Lemerise, Glavin, Clancy, Van Deursen and Kayla Morin. For the boys it's Remick, Nash and Danny Macdonald.
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