Skiers head to Winter Park for state
Look out Winter Park, here come the Eagle County skiers. Four schools will bring a total of 63 skiers to the state meet this weekend in Winter Park.
After a year of podiums and top-10 finishes, local skiers hope to have similar showings.
Today alpine skiers will compete in the giant slalom and Nordic skiers will compete in an individual start classic race. The slalom and massive start skate races will be held on Saturday.
With one of the larger alpine teams in the state, the Huskies look to earn a top team spot, as well as some high individual finishes.
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“We have a good shot. Getting a title is a hopeful goal,” said Battle Mountain coach Simon Marsh. “Top-10 finishes shouldn’t be a worry. A big thing is getting two or three, and the kids have shown they can do it.”
Leading the way for the Huskies this season have been Jamie Lee Roberts, Kelly Van Hee, Kate Van Hee and Kelly Scholl on the girls’ side and Wilder Heuga, Petey Moore and Mitch Hendrix on the guys’ side, all of whom have qualified in both events.
“We have strong skiers on both sides,” Marsh said.
Other girls’ qualifiers for both giant slalom and slalom are: Rebecca Richardson, Jane Lettovska, Josie John and Jordan L’Heureux.
On the boys’ side, Bart Cuomo, Jamie Hijmans, Charlie Coats and Freddy Wickes will be skiing in both events, while Colby Lefebvre will be racing slalom.
For the Nordic squad, Battle Mountain qualified eight skiers. Kendra Wilson, Michelle Hiland, Morgan Wallace and Whitney Allard will race in both classic and skate, while Lydia Houghton and Sammy McCoy will race in skate. Tyler Cole will race in classical, and Coats, who is competing for the Skimeister title, will race in both.
The Gore Rangers have more skiers per capita than just about any school in the state. Alpine coach Liv Pierce thinks both of her alpine teams may crack into the top five.
“We’ve finished in sixth for women and sixth and seventh for men a few times this year,” Pierce said. “I’m expecting a lot from Mick (Seeman) and Chris (Woods). Lucy (Sackbauer) could surprise us and Joely (Denkinger) could pull something off in giant slalom.”
Boys’ qualifiers include Seeman, Woods and Jens Kjesbo in both events, and Nick Wilhelm, Drew Riley and Blake Armstrong in giant slalom.
Along with Sackbauer and Denkinger, Kenzie Grant qualified for both races on the girls’ side.
Pierce thinks her team can do well in the giant slalom.
“My kids have a good amount of experience on that hill from their younger racing days,” Pierce said.
Vail Mountain’s Nordic team also has lofty expectations, and for good reason.
“After this kind of season, our expectations are high,” said Vail Mountain coach Karl Hochtl. “Our girls have a shot at being in the top-three teams.”
Lani Bruntz, Janelle Kibler-Silengo, Karlie Moore, Elsie Macsata and Kaitlin Zdechlik will compete in both races. Christiana White was set to compete in the classical race, but recently broke several ribs.
For the boys, Seeman, Armstrong, Bobby LeGay, Rob Fitz, Wes Batts and Tony Ryerson qualified for both events.
Seeman currently holds the lead for the Skimeister title, and took some time off this week to recover from surgery to repair a torn ligament in this left thumb.
The Devils are coming off a great slalom and skate race this past weekend and hope to bring that momentum into the state meet.
“I’d like to see Hannah (Nelson) and Nicole (Luczkow) in the top 10, and Bryonny (Hiland) could be in the top 15 or 20,” said Eagle Valley alpine coach Cappie Green.
Nelson Luczkow and Kerstin Leary will compete in both events, while Hiland will race in slalom.
The boys’ side features three freshman who qualified for giant slalom, Cody Coulter, Andre Lane and Griffen Turnipseed.
Eagle Valley Nordic coach Glen Ewing has been pleased with his team’s progress this season, and hopes for at least a top-ten finish for the boys’ team at state.
“If we can get fifth or sixth we’ll be doing well,” Ewing said. “There’s no way we’ll beat Aspen, Summit or Vail Mountain School, but if we can stay ahead of Battle Mountain, that’ll be great. For a bunch of kids who train for two-and-a-half months out of the year, they do great, and I’m real proud of them.”
For the classic race, Kyle Simonett, Ethan Smith, Sage Smith, Andy Wentzel, Ben Rogers, Nick Brink and James McGoodwin qualified on the boys’ side, while Ali Gulick qualified on the girls’ side.
In Saturday’s skate race, Simonett, Ethan and Sage Smith and Wentzel will be part of the field of 44 boys, while Gulick will be the sole representative for the girls.
Freshman Terrin Kinser will carry the torch for the Saints in both slalom and giant slalom.
And much like she did during the cross country season, Molly McGee has had a great year in Nordic, easily qualifying for both races. Freshman Jessica Linder will be racing in both Nordic events, also.
For Friday’s results, check out the Daily’s coverage in Saturday’s paper.
Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or email@example.com.