CAPE ELIZABETH — The secret sauce in the success of the Cape Elizabeth Alpine ski team can be found at the Lathrop family dinner table.

“I just don’t want to get chirped at home,” explained Killian Lathrop, a junior, about his mostly friendly sibling rivalry with Devon, a senior, and Tiernan, a freshman. “The first run, I’ll usually try to have a clean run, see where I finish. Then, depending on where I am, if I’m winning, I’ll probably stay on my feet. If I’m behind by a little bit, especially if one of my brothers is beating me, I’ll probably try to send it.”

For the past three years, a Lathrop has skied off with an individual state title. Devon won the Class A giant slalom as a freshman and a sophomore, but missed most of last season after undergoing surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Killian won the Class B slalom last winter and placed fourth in giant slalom as the Capers won the team title after dropping down from Class A, where they had finished second in 2017 and third in 2016.

“Pretty much every race, they’re in the top five,” Cape Alpine Coach Jeff Davis said of the Lathrop brothers. “They each have their own unique style. Devon has strength and power. Killian’s technique is picture perfect, and Tiernan is wiry and dynamic. He seems to have a little more risk in his approach.”

This year’s Class B Alpine championships are scheduled for next Wednesday (slalom) and Thursday (giant slalom) at Black Mountain in Rumford. In a change from tradition, the Maine Principals’ Association is holding the Class A Alpine meet this week, before school vacation, at Shawnee Peak in Bridgton. Giant slalom is Thursday and slalom is Friday, with the Falmouth boys and Fryeburg Academy girls attempting to defend their titles.

The Nordic state meets are Monday (classical) and Tuesday (freestyle pursuit) in Fryeburg (Class A) and Farmington (Class B/C).

Yarmouth and Fort Kent came closest to Cape Elizabeth in last year’s Class B boys’ Alpine meet. Those two schools also finished within three points of each other in the girls’ meet, with Fort Kent emerging victorious.

A week ago, Cape Elizabeth’s boys won the Western Maine Conference Alpine championship at Shawnee Peak. In giant slalom, Killian, Tiernan and Devon went 2-3-4 behind Logan Davis of Lake Region, and Cape Elizabeth freshman Cody Labonty was sixth. In slalom, Killian won, but Tiernan and Devon fell and didn’t score. The Capers are deep enough to absorb their absence, however, as Labonty took third, sophomore Gannon Stewart was fifth and senior Nicholas Martin placed 33rd.

In all, Cape Elizabeth beat runner-up Yarmouth by 44 points, with Greely third and Freeport fourth.

“I think we’re by far the best team in the state,” Devon said. “In all the classes, we’re the powerhouse of Maine.”

At 5-foot-11 and 203 pounds, Devon is the largest and oldest of four Lathrop brothers. He outweighs Killian by about 40 pounds and Tiernan – the tallest at close to six feet – by nearly 60. Keegan, the youngest, is in seventh grade.

Their father, Bill, skied for recreation while a student at the University of Maine and wanted his kids to embrace the outdoors. So nearly every winter weekend and vacation, the Lathrops would head to a family condominium at Sugarloaf and ski.

“He likes moguls a lot,” said 15-year-old Tiernan, who won a WMC giant slalom race in his second competition as a high school skier last month. “Him and my uncle always mogul ski. So we started off mogul skiing and I did, like, two competitions, but I liked racing more. I just like going fast.”

All three brothers honed their skills through Carrabassett Valley Academy’s weekend programs. Killian and Tiernan won national championships in skicross, in which rounds of four skiers race down a course concurrently.

All three also play lacrosse. Killian and Tiernan play soccer. Summer is reserved for surfing and mountain biking.

Devon and Tiernan, who have usually been bigger than their contemporaries, rely on strength and athleticism. Killian and Keegan learned to develop more finesse and are better technically.

“That’s in every sport we do,” Tiernan said.

As for chirping, Killian says he has the upper hand there as well.

“Tiernan is really bad at trash-talking,” he said. “So is Devon.”

A sharp needle, if used judiciously, can be an important tool in sewing up another banner.

Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or:

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Twitter: GlennJordanPPH


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