Winter prep previews: Battle Mountain Alpine and Nordic skiing
Huskies return everyone from 2022 girls state ski championship team
It’s not very often a title-winning team brings everyone back the following season. For the defending girls state ski champions at Battle Mountain, it’s at least half-true coming into the 2022-23 season.
“Our goal is to continue to be at the top of the podium and have another successful season for both the boys and girls teams,” said Jeff Apps, head Nordic coach. Apps returns his entire girls team, including state skimeister champion Lindsey Whitton as well as Haley McKenzie, Presley Smith, all-state classic skier Addison Beuche, Molly Reeder and Bella Willliams.
Whitton’s fall fitness jump, demonstrated by her 18:17, 25th-place finish at the Nike Southwest Regional cross-country championships last weekend, should stoke plenty of fear in Colorado prep skiers hoping to unseat the current Alpine-Nordic-combined queen.
While the Nordic team was left intact, it’s a little bit different story on the Alpine side, where head coach Erik Gilbert must move forward without program stalwarts Kamryn Brausch and Robin Pavelich. Pavelich was all-state in both slalom and giant slalom.
“This is a growing year as we lost a few key players to graduation and experience is growing within our team,” Gilbert said. “We will work hard to compete across the disciplines and with the full horsepower of our Nordic team, we will strive to defend our girl’s state title.”
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Gilbert expects perennial power Summit to be strong again, as well as Aspen and Grand on the Alpine side specifically. Gilbert is hoping the team’s process-driven goals will foster accountability and ownership.
“This year is about culture and commitment,” the coach said. “Ski racing is a fun sport with a lot of joy, while at the same time it challenges our personal limits. We are focusing on a team that supports, commits and grows together.”
Girls (School, titles, most recent)
Summit – 21 (2015)
Aspen – 10 (2021)
Battle Mountain – 6 (2022)
Middle Park – 6 (2010)
Lake County – 4 (1996)
Durango – 1 (1976)
Vail Mountain – 1 (2017)
Boys (School, titles, most recent)
Summit – 20 (2022)
Aspen – 11 (2021)
Durango – 9 (1976)
Battle Mountain – 8 (2016)
Lake County – 5 (1984)
Middle Park – 4 (1999)
Vail Mountain – 2 (2017)
The boys have also graduated a few key athletes in Will Bettenhausen, state skimeister champion Seamus Farrell and Zander Armistead. Gilbert plans to lean on Jakub Pecinka, Henry Regrut, Andrew Conley, Theo Kreuger, Maddy Brown, Ruby Randall and Whitton in 2022-23.
The team’s home slalom race on BearTrap at Beaver Creek is Feb. 10. For the Feb. 16-17 state championships, the Huskies travel to Copper Mountain. The Nordic team won’t host a race this season, but on Jan. 28, VMS hosts a wave start classic race at Maloit Park. The state championships are set for Feb. 16-17 at Frisco Nordic Center.
- Jan. 13, Snow Mountain Ranch – wave start classic and individual start skate
- Jan. 21, Steamboat Touring Center – individual start skate
- Jan. 28, Maloit Park, wave start classic
- Feb. 4, CMC Leadville campus, CHSSL Relay Championships
- Feb. 9, Gold Run Nordic Center – individual start skate
- Feb. 16-17 – CHSAA State Championships, Frisco Nordic Center
The boy’s Nordic team took a bit of a hit with the loss of Sullivan Middaugh, who placed second in the state skate race and third in the state classic race last year, but still returns seven state skiers — Jacob and Zach Lindall, Kyle Ross, Theo Krueger, Luca Isom, Sawyer Blair and Miles McKenzie.
“We also will have a very strong and deep team that has many athletes that have yet to reach their top-performing goals,” stated Apps.
With races beginning the first week of January but wrapping up mid-February, the competition portion of the calendar is relatively short.
“We have six weeks of training and then it’s game on,” said Apps, who is pleased to have Innes and Lisa Isom and his son Christian Apps on his coaching staff. “This coaching team is a “dream team” as I have the opportunity to coach alongside my friends and my son!”
Jan. 6, GS, Loveland
Jan. 12, SL, Beaver Creek
Jan. 19, SL, Howelsen Hill
Jan. 27, GS, Keystone
Feb. 3, GS, Aspen
Feb. 10, SL, Beaver Creek
Feb. 16 – State GS, Copper Mountain
Feb. 17 – State SL, Copper Mountain
“Each year there are always some surprises and some expected returning strong skiers,” Apps said regarding the statewide outlook. “Some schools have a rebuilding year and some will continue to be strong. Looking forward to another awesome ski season.”