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Globe North Sports

Marblehead skiers are down for more

High school girls seeking 3d title

Marblehead juniors Alex Maulden (left) and Alli Hanratty. Marblehead juniors Alex Maulden (left) and Alli Hanratty.
By Sapna Pathak
Globe Correspondent / January 13, 2011

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Alex Maulden admits that her younger brother, Kyle, is a better skier. Kyle agrees, but says he has excelled in large part thanks to the influence of his sister.

Humble to the core, the Mauldens are a prime reason why the Marblehead High alpine ski teams are geared up for another successful run on the slopes this winter.

A junior, Alex is one of the top downhillers for a Magicians’ girls’ squad that is the two-time defending state champion. Teaming up with senior captains Hayley Braun and Maika Phillips, Marblehead is in a strong position for a three-peat.

Kyle, who competed with the boys’ team last year as an eighth-grader, is one of the top three skiers for a squad that placed fifth at the state meet.

Alex “had a great run in the giant slalom at states last year, and her [eighth-place] finish put us over the top to win the championship,’’ said Marblehead coach Matt Dawson. “Kyle’s been training extremely well and you can see he looks to his sister to learn from, and [he] should turn some heads this year.’’

Alex first hit the slopes at age 3, learning from her father, Robert, who grew up skiing in Washington state. By the time she was 8, every weekend was spent on the slopes, alternating between Attitash Mountain and Wildcat. Now she spends her weekends as a coach at Sunday River, where Kyle competes on the race team.

“I’m the better skier, but that’s because she now coaches us at Sunday River,’’ said Kyle. “It’s nice having an older sister on the [high school] team because I can definitely learn from her and have someone to pay attention to. And she pays attention to me, too, so it helps me even more.’’

Alex has enjoyed watching her brother’s development on the slopes.

“We’re still pretty similar when it comes to our mental preparation before a big race,’’ she said. “I usually get very nervous and my stomach’s a mess, and he’s somewhat the same way, but it’s great being on the same team with him.’’

A full-time ski coach at Attitash, Dawson coached Braun, along with sisters Maggie and Katie Corbett, when they were in middle school. Braun anchors the team as its top skier, while Maggie returns to the No. 3 slot, behind Phillips.

With the graduation of Katie Corbett and Sarah Kalafa, the expectations for Dawson’s top five are that much higher.

“It’s a new year, new team, so we really can’t look back, especially because we lost two strong scorers,’’ said Dawson. “It’s not like we lost all our athletes, but the ones coming back have their own expectations and things they want to prove, and I’m trying to keep everyone even-keeled right now.’’

Last winter, the Magicians had only one day a week to practice as a team: Tuesday afternoons for dry training. This year, they add Wednesdays to their team-practice schedule as they train at Bradford Mountain.

“It’s definitely helping us to be able to be on the mountain together,’’ said Braun. “Matt’s not with us on Tuesdays, because he doesn’t live close to Marblehead. On Wednesdays, we’re actually skiing, and he’s there so he really gets to coach us and see what we’re doing right and what to improve on. It’s a really good thing for him to get to know us as people, too.’’

Sapna Pathak can be reached at sportsgalsp@gmail.com.