Doyle turns tables on Warrior nemesis
Sean Doyle of Frontier on slalom
Bryan Schwartz of Mohawk on slalom
Bryan Schwartz of Mohawk on slalom
John White of Mohawk in hte slalom
Luke Looman of Mohawk on slalom
Alex Rice of Mohawk on slalom
Liam Datresdelablotier of Mohawk on slalom
CHARLEMONT — Sean Doyle has been staring up at Bryan Schwartz in the standings all season. Then, on Tuesday in the biggest race of the season, he savored a reversal.
The Frontier Regional School skier was the quickest skier down the hill in the slalom and posted the third-best time in the giant slalom to win the PVIAC Individual Ski Championships at Berkshire East.
Mohawk Trail Regional High School’s Schwartz was a perfect 7-for-7 in winning during the regular season and he entered the day as the top seed. Schwartz wound up posting the second fastest time in both events for a combined score 61.45 seconds. Unfortunately for him, Doyle, who placed second at the PVIACs last season, was a bit quicker overall and won the event with a time of 61.07 seconds.
Doyle said the biggest difference for him came at the starting gate, where he said he needed to get off to a better start to best Schwartz.
“I’ve really been focusing on my starts,” Doyle said after the win. “He’s usually faster out of the gate, which gives him a big lead after the first couple gates. I’ve put in a lot of work in practice to improve my starts.”
The hard work paid off and Doyle won the first event of the day, the slalom, by .41 seconds over Schwartz at 34.02 seconds. He said the nearly half-second lead he had going into the giant slalom gave him confidence that he could win the overall event as long as he had a clean run. Doyle did just that, clocking in third overall in the giant slalom, just .03 seconds back of Schwartz, to secure first place on the day. Doyle now moves on to the state meet, where he hopes to finish in the top 15 after finishing 27th last year.
Schwartz will also be a force in the state meet. After winning all seven-regular season runs, he failed to win either event on Tuesday, finishing second in the slalom to Doyle and finishing second in the giant slalom to Warrior teammate John White.
For White, the win in the giant slalom helped him to a third-place finish. Having never being able to beat Schwartz during the regular season, the sophomore said he was pleased to take the fastest time in the giant slalom on the day. He was the lone skier to break 27 seconds in the event, with a time of 26.65 seconds.
“I’ve been pushing to get that to spot and it’s eluded me all year,” said White, acknowledging the fact that he wanted to top his teammate at least once this season. “My goal this season was to beat Bryan. It’s really been a driving force and he’s helped push me.”
Luke Looman became the third Mohawk skier to crack the top 10 with his eighth-place time of 64.61. He was far from the final Warriors to ski well, though, as 10 Mohawk skiers finished among the top 30. Alex Rice (66.19) came in 14th, and Liam Datres de la Blotier (66.29) took 15th. Jameson Rice (67.85) came in 17th, Leroy Page (68.04) took 18th, Ben White (70.29) came in 24th, Dane Amstien (70.55) placed 25th, and Dan Burke (71.16) came in 28th.
“It stemmed from the top three guys and carried all the way down to our 10th guy,” Mohawk coach Sean Loomis said. “The kids all had good runs today.”
Jacob Conroy was the second Red Hawk boy to qualify for the state meet with a 21st-place time of 69.15.
On the girls’ side, Mohawk’s Caitlyn Wilkins continued her strong end-of-season run with a ninth-place showing. Wilkins began this winter playing basketball but decided to go out for skiing, something she has not done competitively since she was 8 years old. After finishing 21st overall in her first race this season, Wilkins set a goal to crack the top 10 before season’s end. She did just that in the final regular-season meet by finishing 10th overall. The sophomore bettered herself on Tuesday with a ninth-place showing at 70.49.
“I’m actually really surprised,” she said. “I’ve been steadily climbing since the first race of the season. I didn’t really think I would get a top-10 finish this season, but I keep setting little goals for myself.”
Frontier’s Ally Zera also had a strong day, finishing 13th overall, but becoming the second skier from the South Division to cross the line with a time of 72.13.
“She’s been skiing really well lately,” Frontier coach Brett Saharceski said. “She had a strong finish today. She’s been skiing a lot lately and it’s paid off.”
Mohawk’s Olivia Dubrule was the only other girl to crack the top 30 with her 24th-place finish in 79.8.