Turpin reigns as top D-III skier for second straight year

By Roger Amsden, The Laconia Daily Sun

LACONIA — Thomas Turpin has been skiing since he was 2 years old old but says he never thought that it would turn out to be his top sport.
“Skiing is all about having a good time. And that’s what I do when I’m on the ski slopes,” says Turpin, a Laconia High School senior who two weeks ago won his second straight Division III individual championship with victories in both the slalom and giant slalom at Mount Sunapee.
An all-around athlete who has been captain of the Laconia High School soccer team for the last two years, earning All-State honors as midfielder twice, Turpin also plays baseball for the Sachems, primarily as second baseman and shortstop.
But it is when he’s skiing that he feels like he’s at the top of his game and doing what he likes best.
“I’ve always liked the slalom,” says Turpin, who says that he has music from the 1980s playing through his mind when he’s waiting at the starting gate before heading down the hill.
He said that it’s a thrill to be skiing fast and then controlling his body so that he can make the turns around the slalom gates without losing speed.
He says that he learned that competitive skiing should be fun when he was only eight or nine years old from his Gunstock Ski Club coach Dan Wheeler, who always emphasized enjoyment of the sport.
“He always said that if you’re not having fun then this isn’t the sport for you,” says Turpin.
He said that at one time he considered going to a prep school which emphasized skiing but decided to stay at Laconia High School for what he considered to be a broader educational experience.
And he says that he owes his chance to compete in skiing at Laconia High School to his mother, Liz Nixon, who stepped up to the challenge of finding support for high school skiing after LHS dropped its ski program two years ago.
“We had no money and no coach but she and Kim Weeks were able to put together funding so we could travel to meets.
He credits Allan Bishop, head coach of the Gunstock Ski Club in the u16-u21 group, for helping him to develop into a good all-around skier.
“He’s pretty tough on us but really helps us improve,” says Turpin.
Bishop says that he enjoys working with Turpin and says that he admires the way Turpin put in extra time this year in order to get even better.
Turpin says there are only four skiers on the LHS team, just enough to enable them to qualify in meets. The girls’ team has only three skiers and can’t qualify for team honors.
His strong performance at Sunapee put Laconia in third place with 702 points. Bow was first with 744 and Belmont second with 717.
Turpin will race Thursday in the Meet of Champions at the Mittersill Ski Area, which is located next to Cannon Mountain in Franconia Notch. The event brings together a dozen of the top skiers from all four high school divisions in giant slalom and slalom races.
Turpin says that he would like to continue skiing when he attends college next year. He is looking at Clarkson University in upstate New York as well as the University of Vermont and the University of New Hampshire.
He says that Clarkson is a Division III school and he might compete on its ski team. Both UVM and UNH are Division I schools in skiing and Turpin said he would most likely take part in club skiing rather than on their ski teams.
He says that he is looking at a future as a civil engineer and is taking AP calculus as a senior in order to prepare for that career.
He says that his father is an architect but that he is looking for something that is a little more hands on for himself.
Math is his favorite subject in high school and old school 1980s music is his favorite, although he also likes some of the newer sounds as well as hip hop.

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Laconia High School Senior Thomas Turpin won his second straight Division III individual skiing championship and will compete in the Meet of Champions Thursday at Mittersill Ski Area in Franconia. (Courtesy Photo)

B/G Bulldogs will face familiar foe Saturday

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Laconia-Winnisquam junior Christian Vaughn (18) and Belmont-Gilford freshman Zack Gilbert clash during a match at the Merrill Fay Arena in Laconia on Saturday. The Bulldogs beat the Sachems 9-2 and will face Berlin-Gorham this Saturday in Division III.  See story page 39. (Alan MacRae/for The Laconia Daily Sun)


LACONIA — The Belmont-Gilford Bulldogs will face a familiar foe Saturday when they travel to Berlin to face a team they’ve tangled with in championship games in the past.
The fifth-ranked Bulldogs (10-7-1) will skate against fourth-ranked Berlin-Gorham (13-4-1), a team that’s beaten them twice  this year, both times by 5-3 scores.
The two teams have met twice in the Division III championship game in recent years, with the Bulldogs winning 3-2 in 2015  and losing 2-1 in overtime the following year.
Belmont-Gilford coach David Saball said it’s been a  rebuilding year for his team but he sees the Bulldogs playing their best hockey of the season as the playoffs open.
“We’re starting to score more consistently and we’re making the big plays on defense. We’re peaking at the right time,” said Saball.
He said that the experience of playing two Division II games, even though they were losses to Goffstown and Merrimack, has been good for the team.
“We got used to a  faster-paced game and that should help us,” said Saball.
He said that the Bulldogs offense is built around senior forward Harrison Parent, who was the top scorer in Division III with 26 goals and 25 assists this year, good for 51 points.
Troy Gallagher has been a “rock on defense” for the Bulldogs, said Saball. “He’s played an unbelievable amount of minutes and is hardly ever off the ice.”
All three goalies, led by senior Cody Hodgins, have played solid, with backups Colin McGreevy and Bobby Brodeur  chipping in.
Brodeur, a freshman, is the only female goalie playing on  a boys team in the state.
She got her second start in goal Saturday and recorded her second win as  the Bulldogs defeated Laconia-Winnisquam 9-2.
The winner of the game at Berlin Saturday will likely face defending Division III champion Kennett next Wednesday at Plymouth State.
Kennett (17-1) will play the winner of this Wednesday’s  Somersworth/-Coe-Brown/Pembroke-Campbell game at home Saturday night.
Another Lakes Region team, seventh-ranked Moultonborough-Inter-Lakes, (8-9-1), plays Saturday at second-ranked John Stark-Hopkinton (13-3-2) at 3 p.m. at the New England College arena in Henniker.

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Belmont-Gilford sophomore Hayden Parent collected a charging penalty after checking Laconia-Winnisquam senior Devon Miles into the boards during the final regular season game at the Merrill Fay Arena in Laconia on Saturday. (Alan MacRae/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Gilford, Newfound advance in Division III play

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Olivia Trindade gets a hug from teammate Abby O’Connor after their commanding win over Stevens.  (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

GILFORD — Second-ranked Gilford and third-ranked Newfound advanced to the quarterfinals of the Division III girls’ basketball tournament with wins Thursday night.

The other Lakes Region teams playing in the opening round — Inter-Lakes, Prospect Mountain, Franklin and Belmont — all lost.

Gilford 53, Stevens 25

The Golden Eagles (17-2) took a  29-11 lead in the first half over Stevens (6-13) and ran away with the game.

Brooke Beaudet had 22 points and six assists and Shelby Cole scored 14 points and had three steals.

Hannah Perkins had seven points and 12 rebounds, while Lauren Dean added four points and seven rebounds.

Gilford will play host to St. Thomas (14-5), which beat Prospect  Mountain, 61-37, at 7 p.m. today.

Newfound 73, Franklin 22

Ashlee Dukette led the Bears (17-2) with 25 points, 11 rebounds, five steals and four blocks. Savanna Bony scored 18 points and had six rebounds. Jasmine Peterson had 14 points, eight rebounds, six assists and three steals. Lauren Marsh had 13 points for the Golden Tornadoes, who finished with a 7-12 record.

Newfound will play host to Hopkinton (15-4) at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Hopkinton 45, Inter-Lakes 25

The Lakers ended their season at 11-8.

Amelia Thomas scored 20 points for the victors (15-4) and Julia Gintoff led the Lakers with 17 points.

Sanborn 55, Belmont 42

Belmont (7-12) bowed out of the tournament with a loss to fourth-ranked Sanborn (16-3).


Division II Girls Basketball

Laconia 75, Plymouth 43

Sophie George led the Sachems (10-8) with 19 points and Hannah Dow had 16. Delia Cormier  scored nine points, and Sydney Stevens had eight.

Leah Brunt led Plymouth with 16 points, including four three-pointers in the second half.


Boys Basketball

Belmont 59, Newfound 33

The Raiders (11-7) used a full-court press in the second quarter to outscore winless Newfound (0-18) by a 25-10 count.

Matt Pluskis had 13 points for Belmont. Matt Thurber scored 12 points, and Nate Sottak had 10 points, four steals and three  assists.

Mason Dalphonse had 12 points for Newfound.

The victory came after the Raiders lost earlier in the week to top-ranked Somersworth (15-2) by a score of 54-69.

Matt Pluskis scored 26 points for Belmont and had five rebounds and four assists. Dylan Gansert  had 12 points, and Matt Thurber scored 10 points and had 10 rebounds.

Hillsboro-Deering 55, Franklin 43

Hillsboro-Deering (1-17) got its first win in more than three years with a victory Thursday night over the Golden Tornadoes (3-15).

Jayden Torres, the leading scorer in Division III, led Franklin with 23 points.

Torres scored his 1,000th point for Franklin in a  90-54 loss to Winnisquam on Monday night.

Torres had 25 points for the night.

Winnisquam lost, 29-67, to third-ranked Berlin (14-3) Thursday night.

Inter-Lakes 67, Newport 43

The Lakers improved to 12-5 for the season with Tuesday night’s win over Newport.

They closed out their season Friday night as host to Laconia (9-8), which assured itself of at least a .500 season with a 49-46 win Monday night at White Mountains.

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Gilford’s Shelby Cole and Steven’s Grenier/4 charge down court during NHIAA Divison III opening round of tournament play Thursday evening.  (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)

Golden Eagles seniors lead team to sixth straight win

GILFORD — Led by five seniors, all of whom started Monday night, Gilford romped to a 76-40 victory over winless Newfound.

All five seniors scored, with David Hart leading the way with 21 points, five assists and four steals. Nate Hudson had 11 points, four assists and four steals, and Jonathan Nelson scored nine pints. Chris Remick had four points, and Logan Bell scored two while pulling down four rebounds.

Greg Madore, a junior, contributed 17 points to the  cause.

Gilford is on a hot streak recently, winning its last six games while outscoring opponents by an average of more than 20 points per game. In mid-January the Golden Eagles ended top-ranked Somersworth’s eight-game winning streak with a 62-53 victory.

The  Monday night win put Gilford in sixth place in the Division III standings, with a 13-4 record. They close out their regular season Friday with a game at White Mountains Regional (10-6) in Whitefield.

Somersworth 69, Belmont 54

Top-ranked Somersworth (15-2) outlasted the Red Raiders (10-7). The winners took a 12-point lead at the end of the first half and fended off a Raiders comeback which saw Belmont close the gap to five several times.

Matt Pluskis had 26 points, five rebounds and four  assists for Belmont. Dylan Gansert had 12 points, while Matt Thurber picked up 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Evan Gray led Somersworth with 26 points, and Bryton Early added 19.

Belmont closes out its regular season Wednesday with a 6:30 game at Newfound (0-17).

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Gilford High School seniors Nate Hudson, Jonathan Nelson, David Hart, Chris Remick and Logan Bell all started and scored points in Monday’s 76-40 win over Newfound. (Courtesy photo)