Tragert wins state giant slalom crown

By Wayne E. Rivet
Staff Writer

GREENWOOD — A half-hour before Jack Tragert was to compete in the Class B state alpine ski championships, he received a phone call.

His friend, Zach Tomkinson, offered the LR senior a few words of advice.

“Zach told me, ‘Jack, if you win today, you will always be a winner; you will always be a state champion. Not many people can call themselves winners, so go take what is yours,’” Tragert said.

With four of his best friends driving to Mt. Abrams to support him, Tragert delivered. Trailing two skiers — Alex Daigle of Maranacook who posted a 47.92

GS CHAMPION — Senior Jack Tragert from Lake Region placed first in the giant slalom last Tuesday and placed second in the slalom on Wednesday at Mt Abram Ski Resort in Greenwood. Jack has been named to the All-State ski team. (Photo courtesy of Tracy Hancock)

and Gary Kersbergen of Maine Central Institute who skied a 47.72 — after his first run, Tragert burned through his second try to win the state giant slalom crown last week.

“My goal as a high school skier was to win a state title. I remember hearing about Jenn Pike winning a state title when I was a very young racer and being so proud that a state champion went to my high school,” he said. “I hope that my state title has inspired a young racer as she inspired me. It was a dream come true.”

When his runs of 48.30 and 47.99 were combined, Tragert edged Daigle by a final count of 1:36.29 to 1:36.56. Kersbergen was third in 1:36.70.

“In ski racing, everything has to go right to win. With the help of my teammates, coaches and family, I was able to put everything together on that day,” Tragert said. “With the negativity surrounding Lake Region, I hope this made some people proud to be a Laker. It was the perfect way to end my skiing for Lake Region. I had won other big races such as Western Maine Conference, but this win was the most special.”

Entering the state championships, Tragert strived for focus and consistency. His strategy was to ski the first run “smart and strong,” and then “go for it” on his second try.

“My second run was much faster because I knew the course and skied the pitch much faster than the first run. The pitch is everything at Mt. Abrams. I really enjoyed skiing the course. It was fast and technical,” the LR senior said. “The most challenging part of any course is finishing clean. One little mistake and the race is out of your hands. With competition like Falmouth and Yarmouth, one mistake can cost you the race.”

To be a top skier, one must also possess a high degree of mental toughness — something Tragert feels he has improved upon as the season went along.

“Ski racing is as much mental as physical. I was never very strong mentally until this season. With the help of my coaches and my dad, I developed a routine and a mindset that was always right for a big race,” he said.

Tragert added a second place finish in the slalom event, posting runs of 35.73 and 38.95 for a total of 1:14.68. Sam Barber of Cape Elizabeth won the state title with a time of 1:12.67 (posting the fastest run of the day in 34.63 followed by a 38.04).

“Giant slalom has always been my strength. It has a lot to do with my mindset. I like going fast,” he said. “The key to winning any ski race is putting down two solid runs. Any racer can go all out and win one run, but being able to win overall is what matters. I usually don’t win both runs, but my combined time is usually the fastest.”

Last week, Jack Tragert’s focus and consistency delivered what his friends thought he could — a state championship.

Jack has been named to the All-State alpine ski team and will compete as a member of the Maine State Ski Team, which will take on 13 other states March 12-13 at Mt. Cannon in Franconia, N.H. Jack is the son of Kathleen and John Tragert of Naples.

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