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Newfound sophomore Ashley Dukette division III player of the year (442 w/cut)

By Roger Amsden

BRISTOL — Ashlee Dukette, a sophomore at Newfound Regional High School who helped lead her team to an undefeated 18-0 regular season, has been named the Division III Player of the Year by the New Hampshire Basketball Coaches Association.
She was the leading scorer and rebounder for her team, averaging 18 points a game in both categories, and also led the team with an average of six steals per game. And, while she has the size at 5'10" to play down inside, she's actually the team's shooting guard where her size creates mismatch problems for other teams. Either she's in position to take smaller opponents into the post or uses her quickness to drive by defenders when teams bring taller players out to cover her.
When Newfound defeated Somersworth 56-30 to close out its undefeated regular season she had 26 points, 11 rebounds and 5 steals. During a Jan. 6 game against Inter-Lakes, which Newfound won 64-37, she scored 29 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and had nine steals, six blocks and three assists. A few days later against Berlin, she had a 25-point, 11-rebound, 12-steal triple-double in a game Newfound won 47-35.
She does all of this while playing with a facial expression that shows little emotion, whether she's just blocked a shot or drained a three-pointer, according to Newfound Athletic Director Pete Cofran, who says that Dukette has a reserved personality and doesn't like to draw attention to herself.
"She's a really good team player who is always into the game and alert to what's going on with the other players on the team. When other teams double up on her she knows how to get the ball to other players who are open for good shots," says Cofran.
Dukette says that her teammates "are the reason I was successful," and that she has two sisters who also play sports and enjoy support from their parents.
She also plays volleyball and softball and was a first team All-State Division III volleyball player last fall. In softball she's a catcher and first baseman and when she was only 11 years old hit three homers in three games for the New Hampshire Lightning in an AAU tournament in which she was selected as Most Valuable Player.
"She's very good at all three sports and has a good balance in her life," says Cofran.
Dukette still has two more years to continue to improve her game and has set a high goal for her future, setting her sights on playing college basketball at the University of Connecticut, which ran a 111-game winning streak before being upset in the NCAA women's semifinals last week.

Howes make U.S. biathlon history as 1st married couple to compete together



OTEPAA, Estonia — At the International Biathlon Union Cup finale last weekend, Alex Howe of Gilford and wife, Emily, accomplished a first — they were the first husband-and-wife team to compete in the single mixed relay for the U.S. team.
"Emily and I placed 11th after a rough start where she got caught up in a crash on the first lap with most of the field," Howe reported by email. "We made a good comeback, though, and had the best ever IBU single mixed relay finish."

Howe competes in biathlon, a winter Olympic sport combining cross-country skiing and rifle marksmanship.
The single mixed relay team finished 11th with a total of two penalties and eight spares, according to the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont, where the couple trains.
The final IBU Cup of the season took place in Otepaa, a city in the Baltics.
"Emily traveled to all of the same races I did this year. She often does better then I do, as well," Howe reported. "She and I had never done that type of relay race before so that was pretty exciting. It was the first time a husband and wife had raced that event for the U.S. team."
The races included a relay, sprint, sprint, relay. In the first relay, Howe was the third leg in the mixed relay, and the team placed 11th. In the second sprint, he charted a personal best, placing 31st with one miss.
Crowning the weekend was the single mixed relay, which Howe described as "a fast and furious race that is one of the best spectating races on the circuit."
Howe raced the previous weekend in Kontiolahti, Finland, where he charted a personal best in the individual race, a 20K race with four shootings. Howe reported that he missed four targets and skied well enough to place 33rd. Howe failed to qualify in the sprint race.
"It was very nice to get home again," Howe reported. "We have one more weekend of racing for the season."
U.S. biathlon national championships will be held in Jericho, Vermont, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
To follow Howe's progress, visit his team's website at http://greenracingproject.com.

Laconia kindergartener takes gold at national ski championships

LACONIA — Xavier Corbin, wearing his signature alligator ski helmet, flew down the Alpine course at the Liberty Mutual NASTAR national championship in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, on Thursday, March 23, earning a gold medal for his division – not bad for a five year-old.

Skylor Miller, Corbin's mother, said that he was ushered into the sport by his grandfather, Duane Derosier, who is a ski instructor at Ragged Mountain in Danbury.

"He's been skiing since he learned to walk," said Miller.

After winning the gold medal, Corbin was invited to ski in the race of champions on Sunday, which included 57 other gold medal winners from all age groups, many of whom were competing in racing suits and helmets. Corbin, wearing snow pants and his whimsical helmet, bested all but 14 of them.

"He had a fantastic time," Miller said. Now that the competition is over, Corbin will return to his kindergarten class at Pleasant Street School and continue training, building his skills for next year.


Xavier Corbin

Xavier Corbin, of Laconia, rounds a gate at the NASTAR championships in Colorado last week. Corbin won a gold medal, and beat many other gold medal winners in the ensuing race of champions. (Courtesy photo)

Gunstock Freestyle sending members to national competition


Gunstock Freestyle Academy announced that several of its members who have been invited to attend USASA national snowboarding and freeski competitions, to be held at Copper Mountain in Colorado beginning March 31. From left: Tegan Andrews qualified for skier cross and slopestyle; Lily Okker finished strong in her age bracket; Gavin Makely, pictured with sister Gracie, qualified for skier cross, slopestyle and rail jam; Joren Taylor qualified for boarder cross; Kaleb Shumway qualified for slopestyle, and; Nick Imhoof qualified for spoestyle. (Courtesy photo)