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Globe West Sports Notebook

Weston teen wins US snowboarding slalom title

Fighting off the flu, Weston’s Greg Fligor (center, above, and in action below) emerged victorious at the USA Snowboard Association’s national slalom championship. Fighting off the flu, Weston’s Greg Fligor (center, above, and in action below) emerged victorious at the USA Snowboard Association’s national slalom championship.
By Marvin Pave
April 17, 2011

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Fligor wins a gold on snowboard Greg Fligor arrived in Copper Mountain, Colo., battling the flu, then suffered from altitude sickness.

But the three-sport freshman athlete at Weston High persevered to win the USA Snowboard Association’s national slalom championship by the slimmest of margins April 7.

“We had two races in the finals and I was 1.8 seconds behind after the first,’’ said Fligor, a member of the football, wrestling, and lacrosse teams at Weston. “But in the final race, I had a good start and picked up enough speed as the course became steeper and I was able to hold off my opponent — by 1.8 seconds. Winning that last race was the tie-breaker.’’

The 15-year-old Fligor was introduced to competitive snowboarding eight years ago at Loon Mountain in Lincoln, N.H., a favorite family destination.

Fligor won his first snowboard race — a New Hampshire Series giant slalom at Loon Mountain — in his very first competition. In 2003 he qualified for the slalom nationals at Sunday River in Maine, where he won a bronze medal in the 7-and-under age bracket. “That was my one and only nationals until this year,’’ he said.

Fligor qualified this winter for the nationals in the youth men’s division (ages 14 and 15) by winning the slalom and giant slalom, and finishing second in the boardercross event at the New Hampshire USA Snowboard Association competition.

Last year, he was a member of the US National Optimist sailing team that competed in Italy. The Optimist is an 8-foot, one-person boat that Fligor sails in the summer in Edgartown.

“I reached the age limit for the Optimist team,’’ he said, “so I decided to refocus on snowboarding.’’

The slalom and giant slalom races utilize gates similar to skiing competitions. Boardercross, however, involves multiple snowboarders racing at the same time on a course that includes jumps, banked turns and rollers (knolls), and takes about a minute to navigate.

Fligor, this season’s top-ranked racer in the USA Snowboard Association’s New Hampshire Regional series, went up against 180 boarders in his age group at Copper Mountain, with an elevation of 10,000 feet. Altogether, the nationals attracted nearly 1,800 competitors from ages 4 through 64.

“I arrived in Colorado on April 1 and had a bad case of the flu and had to drop out of the giant slalom because the altitude affected my immune system,’’ he said. “I collapsed three times and had to wear an oxygen mask at night for the rest of the trip.’’

Five days later, after medical clearance, Fligor missed the boardercross cut by 0.19 of a second, then had to regroup for the slalom competition the following day.

“I was pretty excited to get back on the mountain,’’ said Fligor, who completed his first time trial on the 700-yard course in second place. He then raced head-to-head during two runs to advance to the final.

Fligor was presented with a gold medal and a commemorative wrist band and helmet for his comeback victory.

Mahoney doubles up for Worcester State Worcester State senior Michaella Mahoney of Shrewsbury, who began last week with a 6-2 record and 1.64 earned-run average while hitting .359, was named the Softball Player and Pitcher of the Week by the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference.

The former Shrewsbury High star showed her versatility by tossing a two-hit shutout and also belting a two-run homer in last weekend’s double-header sweep of Salem State.

For the season, she had 51 strikeouts in 52-plus innings, and was tied for the MASCAC lead with 22 RBIs (13 with two outs).

“What Michaella does for us as a captain is amazing, and her teammates feed off her leadership,’’ said head coach Jen Kapenas, whose team was 12-8 overall and 2-2 in the conference.

Mahoney’s teammates include sophomore Kylene Pease (Ashland High), who was leading the MASCAC with a .446 batting average and had 12- and 6-game hitting streaks; sophomore infielder Alex Kerr (Franklin High), who scored the lone run in one of the Salem State games; junior outfielder Lauren Besozzi (Milford High); and freshman reserve catcher Michelle Serrentino (Hudson High).

“Kylene, who is an infielder, has been huge for us because she can also play in the outfield. Whether it’s hitting or bunting, she’s done a great job,’’ added Kapenas.

“Alex and Lauren have stepped up when we’ve needed them, and Michelle has played errorless ball.’’

Here and there Bates College senior captain Dana Lindauer of Needham started the outdoor track season on a high note in a tri-meet against Colby and MIT on April 9, shaving .02 seconds off her own school record with a winning time of 57.94 seconds in the 400 meters. Then she broke a program record that had stood for 22 years with a 25.49 clocking at 200 meters, good for second place behind MIT’s Portia Jones (24.72).

Marvin Pave can be reached at 508-820-4223 or marvin.pave@rcn.com.