Battle Mountain girls take opener |

Battle Mountain girls take opener

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Eric Drummond

COPPER, Colorado ” Much like in the World Cup, high school racing has a big team element. Unlike in the World Cup, however, where everyone’s points add up ” and the Austrians always seem to dominate ” only the top three racers count in high school events.

Subsequently, small schools can hang with the big schools. But the Battle Mountain girls proved at this year’s opening high school race ” a giant slalom at Copper on Friday ” that the big schools still can put on a show.

The Battle Mountain girls had three in the top 10 and edged Summit for first place.

Leading the way for the Huskies was freshman Abby Ghent in second. Jamie Lee Roberts, who is competing in Skimeister, took eighth for the Huskies, tops among all Skimeister racers. Freshman Celine Guilmineau rounded out the point scorers for the Huskies in ninth, while teammate Kelly VanHee was only three spots behind in 12th.

“Considering two racers didn’t make it, and Mary Sackbauer had a crash and would have placed in the top 10 as well, that was awesome,” Battle Mountain coach Simon Marsh said. “The girls team has gotten stronger each year, not just from club kids but kids like Jana Weiss, who we expect will be breaking into the top 10.”

Weiss was 25th, followed by two more girls in the top 40: Anna Schmitt, 35th, and Rachel L’Heureux, 40th.

Vail Mountain took sixth, with Lucy Sackbauer leading the way in 13th. Joely Denkinger took 24th for the Gore Rangers, while Taylor Campbell rounded out the scoring in 36th.

Eagle Valley placed eighth and saw Nicole Luczkow in 30th, Rachel Landin in 37th and Rachel Nagel in 45th.

The Huskies had 12 racers in the top 60, including Trisha Bruen in 46th, Alison Edwards in 51st, Carrie Wild in 53rd, Piper McMillin in 56th and Rebecca Bosworth in 57th.

Most teams just started training gates this week.

“Skiing on flat terrain has helped out,” Marsh said. “We took advantage of the hill, which was steeper than the one we trained on at Beaver Creek.”

Vail Mountain gave its usual high production per skier, with Sara Stookey in 43rd, Axie Navas in 49th and Kathleen Moore in 71st. Eagle Valley saw four racers in the 60s, including Hilary Henry in 61st, Krista Boni in 62nd, Kelsey Elwood in 63rd and Pearl Nanin in 86th. Megan McQueeney (86th) and Jessica Tilton (92nd) also finished for the Devils, while Battle Mountain closed things out with Julia Forslundberg in 76th, Maryanne Marcum in 77th, Nicole Frye in 83rd, Alexandra Feeney in 87th and Jesse Stern in 94th. Vail Christian’s McKenzie Curran was 95th.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Vail Mountain boys showed that smaller schools have got plenty of bite, tying for fourth with Battle Mountain. The Huskies started 15 racers and saw 13 finish, while the Gore Rangers started six and had five finish, all in the top 30.

Vail Mountain’s John McKenna was the top local finisher, taking eighth at 1 minute, 13.70 seconds, while Battle Mountain’s Charlie Barry was ninth, only 0.03 seconds behind McKenna. The Huskies’ Christoph Neiderhauser was 14th while teammate Elliott Brenner rounded out the scoring in 21st, just 0.03 seconds behind Vail Mountain’s Charlie Grant, who took 20th. And only 0.02 seconds behind Brenner was teammate Zachary Zilcowski.

Jens Kjesbo was 17th for the Gore Rangers while teammate and Skimeister contender Sean Woods was 24th and second among Skimesiters. Axel Spaeh rounded things out for Vail Mountain in 29th, while Battle Mountain’s Davey DeChant grabbed 25th.

Eagle Valley, led by Cody Coulter in 33rd, was ninth. Zach Bailey (43rd) and Jamison Bair (55th) were the other point getters for the Devils. Vail Christian’s Ian Hamina, another Skimeister racer, was 61st.

Battle Mountain saw Colby Childers (40th), Luke Rasmussen (42nd) and Jake Bishop (44nd) came within 0.60 seconds of each other. Meanwhile, an Eagle Valley gridder, Nick Whitehead (57th) finished just ahead of an Eagle Valley golfer, Weston Blevins (59th), with Battle Mountain gridder Donnie Cuomo (58th) sandwiched in between.

Other Battle Mountain finishers include Jaryd Meenach (64th), Walter Dandy (67th), David Shearon (79th) and Wesley Allen (93rd). Eagle Valley closed things out as such: Andrew Darrough (70th), Matt Lucas (82nd), Ian Bailey (83rd) and Griffin Turnipseed (92nd).

Saturday, high school skiing continues with a classical Nordic race at the Vail Nordic Center starting at 10 a.m.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or

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