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Wednesday, April 25 Sports

Staples ski teams place second at State Open

The Staples High School boys alpine skiing team didn't get the trophy that went to Mount Southington for on Wednesday afternoon at the Connecticut Interscholastic Ski League State Open. However, the consolation prize was well worth the trip.

The Wreckers, who finished second in the State Open to Greenwich, won the Class L title by defeating Ridgefield and Fairfield Prep. The three schools were tied heading into the final meet of the season, and the tiebreaker was broken Wednesday.

"We were happy we were able to win the Class L championship," Staples coach Courtney Ruggiero said. "Greenwich winning (the State Open) came out of nowhere; we beat them during the regular season and they weren't one of the favorites."

The margin of victory was thin: Greenwich clocked in at 298.63 while the Wreckers finished in 298.76. Each team's top six skiers, who each took two runs down the course, counted in the final time. Ridgefield (300.70) and Prep (301.73) were close behind.

"I was pleased with how they competed," Ruggiero said of her team. "There were some tough conditions and we had some falls, but overall I was happy."

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Sophomore standout Campbell Ashman (48.34) finished seventh overall for Staples, earning All-State honors. Ashman trains at Okemo Mountain in Vermont. Trevor Harker (49.57) finished 20th (49.57) while Trevor Penwell finished 24th (49.88) and Ben Friedman 25th (50.03).

The Class L win put a stamp on a successful season for Staples, which placed 10th of 11 teams in the State Open two seasons ago.

"I thought we had a great season," Ruggiero said. "We hadn't been in contention in the past couple of years; this was our first title in four years that I have been coach."

The girls team (306.92) also enjoyed success at Mount. Southington, placing second to Fairfield co-op (303.11) for the second straight season. The Wreckers' final score is not official, as Suzie Martin she got a provisional rerun on her first time. The change doesn't affect Staples' placing.

Staples defeated Fairfield in the last meet of the regular season, but Fairfield rebounded to claim first in the State Open.

"I'm not going to lie, I was disappointed," girls coach Tom Owen said. "I felt we had a great last race where we were first on the course. Our practice following that was really good. That's ski racing and the Fairfield girls were better than us. I'm really proud of the girls, there wasn't a lack of effort."

Junior Liz Cooperstone finished 11th overall (49.36) while Caitlyn Hartmann (49.88) and Jacqueline Chappo (49.99) came home 13th and 14th, respectively.

"(Cooperstone) has been consistent all season long," Owen said. "She deserves a lot of credit because she brought her best to the race that counted. It shows a lot of heart on her part."

Athletes from 27 schools compete in the CISL, according to its website.