Armstrong wins classic in Winter Park
The Vail Mountain School’s Haleigh Armstrong tore her right anterior cruciate ligament playing club soccer last fall.
“Playing soccer, that silly sport,” joked VMS Nordic coach Dan Weiland, who it should be noted still holds Battle Mountain soccer’s single-season scoring record and was an assistant coach for the Huskies for many years after that.
Well, it’s safe to say that Armstrong’s on the mend. The junior won in her first formal outing of the season last weekend at a high school classic state-qualifier last weekend at Snow Mountain Ranch.
“She skied pretty well at the 5@5 last week, especially for not getting much time in because of the injury,” Weiland said. “On Saturday (in the high school race), she told me that she got in the lead and backed it down. It makes me wonder a little bit about her talent.
“She’s one of those kids. She’s gifted, a rarity. You don’t see kids who come back from an injury like that so quickly. She’s like the old Haleigh we know.”
And that should scare the state as the season winds down toward the state meet at Steamboat Springs in February.
Armstrong, who won the race with a time of 17 minutes, 19.1 seconds, a full second ahead of her nearest competitor, will have company in the classic. Z Warren, in her first year of Nordic, finished 15th to make the state cut. And, make way for Janelle Kibler-Silengo. The freshman captured the second-to-last state spot in 26th.
On the boys’ side, Bobby LeGaye finished 13th, capturing a state berth.
Robinsons lead VMS alpine
Welcome to VMS alpine – Swiss Family Robinson-style.
Duncan won last weekend’s slalom at Winter Park. Sister Courtney led all locals in fourth place on the girls’ side.
Duncan blew away the field by 1.3 seconds in a time of 1 minute, 21.4 seconds.
“He’s just really having fun,” VMS alpine coach Liev Pierce said. “He’s cool, calm and collected. He’s really able to execute what he wants to do.”
And Courtney’s right there, too, taking fourth in 1:33.12.
“She’s been racing in every race and doing a good job,” Pierce said. “She been in the top-five just about every race. She has equal potential.”
Blake Higgins also qualified for state.
Devils Nordic logs historic day
If anybody thought that last year’s Eagle Valley Nordic team was an aberration from the norm, think again.
The Devils are the real deal. Eagle Valley had a history-making day Saturday at Snow Mountain:
n Highest team finish – the girls finished second just three points behind Middle Park.
n Highest individual finishes – Jill Ewing and Katie Wick went three-four for the girls team, while James Ewing logged the best individual finish by Eagle Valley male Nordic skier in seventh.
“We have never had a race like that before,” Devils coach James Ewing said. “We’ve never gotten second. Jill and Katie finish third and fourth, that’s as high as we’ve ever gotten. We had the right wax. The day was right. We had a bad mass start in Aspen. So, we trained on the mass start and were a little more familiar with it. Everybody really wanted it.”
In addition to Ewing and Wick, Haley Didier punched her ticket for state, finishing 23rd. There’ll be plenty more red and black in Steamboat after this race. Wes Minett (15th) and Alex Gamble (22nd) also qualified for state.
On the alpine side, Kyle Green is Steamboat-bound.
Huskies Nordic qualifies eight
VMS alpine has its Robinsons. Battle Mountain Nordic has its Marvelous M’s – Maddie McCaulley, Meghan Meehan, the McGees – and a Stevenson thrown in for good measure.
And this is just part of the Nordic octet of Huskies, who qualified Saturday at Snow Mountain. This is big for the Huskies, who will have a full contingent for the state meet in February in classic.
For the girls, McCaully took seventh, the top finisher for the Huskies. Meghan Meehan was right behind her in 12th. Kendall Wilson took 20th and Molly McGee, via Vail Christian, grabbed the 25th of 27 state spots.
Speaking of McGees, John is also state-bound. The Vail Christian senior, now in black and gold, took 17th, behind teammates, Grant Stevenson (10th) and Andy Given (14th). Taylor Roach also has a ticket to ride after a 25th-place finish. The Battle Mountain boys team finished second, 22 points behind Middle Park.
More qualifiers flowed from the alpine race for Battle Mountain. Your state-bound Huskies in slalom are Robert Gosiewski, Taylor Roach, Chad Shoulders, Mitch Hendrix, Stevenson, Clay McRory, Lauren Arnold, Heidi Moore, Rolena Richardson and Heidi Lauterbach.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.