Dawson wins World Cup
Vail’s Toby Dawson and Olympic medalist Shannon Bahrke of Utah pulled off an American sweep of a World Cup moguls events Dec. 14 in Madonna Di Campiglio, Italy.Dawson, who said he was weary of finishing fourth after just missing the podium in the first two events of the new season, exploded out of the start, drilled his first air a heli-X and tore trough the rest of the course, clinching the win with his signature heli-daffy-cross off the bottom air. He had 27.98 points to 26.88 for Finn Mikko Ronkainen with Travis Mayer third at 26.81 and Luke Westerlund of Breckenridge with a breakthrough fifth-place finish at 26.45."Yeah, I was very tired of being fourth," Dawson said. "I’ve been training that air and going pretty big during training. I knew what I was gonna do for finals. I’d be damned if I’d be fourth again – I shot as hard as I could, didn’t make too many mistakes … and it worked out. The snow was pretty nice; so many people had slipped the course …"I was working hard all summer and fall in the gym, really focused on qualifying as one of the top skiers in every event. I’ve stayed pretty much true to my game plan, but when you’re working that hard, you definitely want to be on the podium. Fourth is really a great finish, but nobody knows – and it’s not what you want when you’re after the podium."So, I took all that frustration, built on it and really shot for the podium," said Dawson, who also won the final event of the 2001 season in Finland.Olympic medalist Mayer of Steamboat Springs grabbed his second straight podium as seven U.S. skiers made finals. Dawson and Bahrke now lead the World Cup points list after three events.In Ruka, Finland on Dec. 19, defending moguls champ and CU football star Jeremy Bloom of Loveland took a short break from Alamo Bowl preparations and returned to World Cup skiing with a boom Thursday, finishing fourth just .02 away from the podium in a meet under the lights. Mayer and Bahrke also made the podium.Puckett wins 24 hours of AspenFour-time Olympian Casey Puckett, who retired from World Cup racing and the U.S. Ski Team last spring, won his first 24 Hours of Aspen endurance ski race Dec. 16.Now a coach with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, he made 63 runs from the top of Aspen Mountain (Ajax), covering an estimated 169-plus miles as he edged defending champion Michael Brunner of Germany by 17 seconds. His winning time was two hours, 18 minutes and 46 seconds.Puckett said that it wasn’t as enjoyable as he thought it would be. He took the lead in the first lap but never could shake Brunner."I wanted to come out and enjoy this race," he said. "With his trailing me so closely the whole night, it made it a very miserable night for me."This is the first year the renowned endurance event has seen individual competitors. Previously, two-member teams have been the racing norm.Eagle’s Ortiz tops at BC snowshoe raceAtlas Snowshoe Team member Scott Gall of Manitou Springs, Colo., and Eagle’s mountain running queen, Anita Ortiz, claimed top honors Saturday, Dec. 14 in the opening 10K competition of the 2002-03 Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series under cloudless skies at Beaver Creek.Gall posted a time of 44 minutes, 23 seconds en route to the win, 34 seconds ahead of runner-up Sam Wilbur of Louisville, Colo., while Boulder’s Chris Valenti claimed the third place spot in a time of 45:51.Ortiz, who accepted USA Track and Field’s Mountain Runner of the Year Award last weekend, was clocked in 55:51, a mere two seconds ahead of Sylvia Corbett, while Helen Cospolich of Breckenridge placed third with a time of 57:51. Ortiz will represent her country this coming January as a member of the first U.S. Snowshoe Team at the World Championships in Italy.In addition to the 10K competition, the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series also featured the East-West 5K Quest, the Kid’s K trot and the Beaver Creek Resort Company “Dash For Cash.”In the 5K race, Micah Middaugh of Edwards took top honors for the men, while Lisa Goldsmith captured the victory in the ladies division. Middaugh triumphed over Avon’s Grant Houniet by two seconds, while Goldsmith posted a two and a half minute winning margin over runner-up Kim McConnell. Nick Alfino and Breanna Gunnarson captured the Kid’s 1K trot, while Brian Gunnarson and Lisa Jhung were “Dash For Cash” winners.The second event in the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series is slated for Saturday, Jan. 11. Call (970) 476-6797 or click on http://www.gohighline.com.Vail U-12 girls record first-ever winIt was long time coming for Vail to welcome girls under 12 years old to hockey, and now the team has had its first taste of victory.The team traveled to Summit County on Saturday, Dec. 14, to play two games against Steamboat Springs and Aspen. The match pitted the local girls against Steamboat Springs and resulted in a very evenly matched contest.Molly Etters found the net unassisted for Vail, scoring with two seconds left in the first period.The second period found Vail going on top 2-0 on another unassisted goal, this time by Kate Gray.Steamboat came back with two second-period goals of their own to even the match going into the third.Vail pressured the Steamboat goal in the third period forcing the opposing goaltender to make six saves.With 4:31 left in the contest Steamboat got the game winner on one of only two shots they could manage in the period.The afternoon contest found the Vail U-12’s squaring off against Aspen. In a turnaround from the earlier contest Vail spotted Aspen a two-goal lead in the first period before Maddie Stevens and Eva Spaeh answered for Vail.The second period found Aspen jumping out with a goal only to have Etters keep a hot hand with a tying score a minute later.The girls from Aspen went ahead for the final time with 6:17 left in the second period. Vail’s Stevens tied it with help from Emily Goodman. Etters buried her second score of the period to put Vail on top 5-4 at the end of two.Vail went ahead early in the third period with Molly Moffet scoring on a rebound in front. Just 16 seconds elapsed before Tasha Wyatt complemented her stellar defensive play by notching Vail’s seventh tally on a feed from Etters. With 7:41 to go in the contest Vail’s Maggie Sherman fired a wrist shot inside the left post to put our girls up 8-5.That goal would prove the game winner as Aspen stormed back with two goals late in the third period. With the Aspen net-minder on the bench for the last minute and a half the Vail girls played tough defense to prevail by a final of 8-7.The Vail girl U-12’s are coached by Nancy Stevens, Kris Wyatt, Brett Young and Steve Teien. Players for Vail include Kelly Lewis, Maddie Stevens, Riley McMillan, Molly Moffet, Emma Porter, Jeri Sheldon, Lane Sheldon, Eva Spaeh, Molly Etters, Kelsey Peck, Emily Goodman, Emily Young, Tasha Wyatt, Maggie Sherman, Keeley Graskamp and Kate Gray.