They have the hang of this: Marauders repeat as NHIAA ski jump champs

  • Hanover's Sabin Mitchell takes one of her three jumps during the NHIAA state ski jumping meet in Hanover, N.H., on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020.(Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover ski jumping coach Tom Dodds sticks bits of Christmas trees on the end of the ramp before the start of the NHIAA state ski jumping at Oak Hill in Hanover, N.H., on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. The greenery helps the skiers with depth perception and their timing when they hit the end of the ramp. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hanover's Tristan Meyer takes one of his three jumps during the NHIAA state ski jumping meet in Hanover, N.H., on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Members of the Hanover ski jumping team sing the national anthem before the start of the NHIAA state ski jumping meet in Hanover, N.H., on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 2/13/2020 10:00:45 PM
Modified: 2/13/2020 10:00:34 PM

HANOVER — The Hanover High ski jumping team hit the right pitch on Thursday night.

After singing a rendition of the national anthem to open the NHIAA ski jumping championships at Oak Hill’s Roger Burt Memorial Jump, the Marauders promptly won their second consecutive state title, edging out Kennett, 389-379.5, in front of a crowd of nearly 250. Sunapee finished with 359.5 points to claim third place.

With weather ranging from snow flurries to a steady shower throughout the event, Hanover prevailed by placing six jumpers in the top 10. Only four of each team’s six jumpers contributed to its overall score.

“It wasn’t necessarily a unanimous decision (to sing the national anthem),” Teddy Ruth said with a grin.

Singing wasn’t the only thing the junior did, though. He won the overall competition with his two best jumps of 31.5 and 32.5 meters contributing to a total score of 121 points. He received 60.5 points from the judges on both attempts.

Two judges give each a competitor a score from 3 to 20 points based on technique. Jumpers’ two best jumps count for their final score.

Ruth’s 32.5-meter leap was the evening’s longest jump. Last year’s state champion — Zach Grzesik of Kennett — placed second with 121 points, two points shy of Ruth.

Ruth didn’t compete in last year’s state meet due to an injury, but he finished in second place as a freshman.

“It’s great to be back; I missed it so much,” he said. “I love this team; I love this whole sport. You go to the top of the jump and everyone is cheering for one another. It’s not just your teammates; it’s everyone. It’s something different. You don’t get it in any other sport.”

Hanover freshman Cam Forbush grabbed bronze honors with 117 points. He had jumps of 29.5 and 30 meters; both times he finished with a score of 58.5 points from the judges.

His teammate, Felix Estes, was close behind in fifth place thanks to jumps of 29 meters on his second and third tries.

The final Marauder who contributed to the overall team scoring was Tage Colberg. He had three consecutive jumps of 27.5 meters, but his first earned him 54.5 points from the judges, his best of the night.

Ruth, Forbush, Grzesik and Sunapee’s Cameron Summerton will be jumping at the USA Nordic Junior Championships in Steamboat Springs, Colo., in March.

“I’m just really happy with how tonight turned out,” said Hanover coach Tom Dodds, who has been coaching the program since 2009. He did take two years off, but has been steady since then.

One of the reasons why the night ended so well was because Sabin Mitchell won the girls individual championship for the fourth consecutive year. With jumps of 25.5 and 24.5 meters, she cracked the top 10 with a ninth-place finish.

Her goal entering the event was to do just that. Mitchell admitted that she shed a few tears before every jump because she knew her high school career was coming to a close.

“I can’t describe the feeling,” said Mitchell, who will continue to have jumping be part of her life. “I’m just really proud and happy for our team. I’m grateful for winning overall again in the girls, but I’m so ecstatic I placed overall.

“My first jump (of 25.5 meters) was my best jump because I wasn’t crying as much.”

Notes: Dodds’ son, Cooper, is an assistant coach for Hanover. He packed down the snow in between jump cycles with a pair of alpine skis. … Mitchell’s bib number was 19, but the Marauders didn’t have one. Wearing a No. 9, she took a piece of duct tap to her bib to fashion the correct number. … Mitchell’s twin sister, Sophie, jumped for Kimball Union on Thursday night. The senior transferred to Meriden for her senior year but has continued to practice with Hanover. … One spot above Mitchell in eighth place was Tristan Meyer. The Hanover senior had jumps of 27.5 and 27 meters. … Sunapee’s Andrew Claus was named the Gene Ross rookie of the year. The award is given out in memory of the former Plymouth coach who was well-known for developing first-year jumpers. … After the meet, jumpers who had crossed the 25-meter threshold were allowed to continue jumping past the bar.

Team scores: Hanover 389, Kennett 379.5, Sunapee 359.5, Plymouth 343, Concord 258.

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Pete Nakos can be reached at pnakos@vnews.com.




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