Battle Mountain skiing in 2nd after Day 1
State ski meet
Battle Mountain 297.5
Steamboat Springs 294
Vail Mountain 250
Middle Park 245
Eagle Valley 235
Clear Creek 166
Lake County 110
Battle Mountain 287
Vail Mountain 269
Steamboat Springs 227
Middle Park 222
Eagle Valley 216
Lake County 191
Clear Creek 168
Platte Canyon 116
ASPEN — Battle Mountain’s ski teams have some work ahead of them after the first day of the state skiing championship in Aspen on Thursday.
The Huskies boys, the defending state champions, are in second place after Wednesday’s giant slalom and Nordic classic competitions with 297.5 points, trailing Aspen (312). Likewise, the hosts lead on the girls’ side over Battle Mountain, 309-287.
The Huskies’ Quintin Cook won Thursday’s GS for the second state title his career. He finished second in GS and won slalom last year.
“It’s awesome, especially in GS,” Cook said. “It hasn’t always been my strong point in skiing, but I’m getting a lot better. It was really cool to pull it off.”
As for team discipline titles, try not to be too surprised, but the Vail Mountain School girls waxed the competition, outpacing Aspen, 174-159.
Wax on, wax off
In the girls’ classic, Bridget Donovan, Maddie Donovan and Annie Blakslee went 2-3-4, and that was that. Emma Blakslee finished seventh and didn’t score for the Gore Rangers. That’s just how deep Vail Mountain School goes in Nordic.
Vail Mountain School boys were equally impressive on Thursday. They just ran into a buzz saw in Aspen, which scored 176 of a possible 177 points. Vail Mountain School’ Cameron Wolf finished third, followed by Peter Littman (sixth) and Eric Zdechlik (eighth). Three in the top 10 usually does it, but such is life.
In addition to being generally superb, Vail Mountain School also nailed the wax on Thursday, whereas Battle Mountain had troubles there. A racer’s wax always has to be good, but the effect is magnified in classic, especially on an uncharacteristically warm day in Aspen.
Huskies Nordic, as such, didn’t post the times and finishes it expected, but it’s a two-day meet so both the boys and girls ski teams are still in contention.
Battle Mountain’s Franklin Reilly was seventh on the classic loop, followed by Koby Simonton (21st) and Nick Apps (28th). Those placements are worse than the season average for those three, illustrating the wax issues the team had.
A tight course
Both the boys’ and girls’ giant slalom courses were quite challenging, a polite way of putting it. On the boys’ side, 20 out of 80 racers did not finish or were disqualified. The girls added nine more to that category.
“It was fairly tight,” Cook said tactfully. “It was definitely not an average course.”
Obviously, Cook did just fine, as did teammate Luke Vickermann, who was fourth.
“Luke is a great skier,” Huskies alpine coach Simon Marsh said of Vickermann, who used to race club skiing. “He can do really well but his big priority is the tea. He enjoys the team aspect of high school skiing.”
Bryce Runckel was Battle Mountain’s third in 20th. Vail Mountain School’ Caleb Chicoine was 17th and Eagle Valley’s Jakob Schwaiger took 19th.
The local headliner for the ladies on the hill was Vail Mountain’s Whitney Merriman, who took home bronze in the giant slalom.
“Her first run, that’s why she went on the podium,” Vail Mountain School alpine coach Francois Nanin said. “She had an almost perfect run, Usually, her first run, she goes slowly and pushes it on the second run. She got out of the gate right away from the get go today.”
Battle Mountain’s Haley Frischholz took fifth with Abby Davidson eighth and Chloe Young in 27th to round out the scoring.
Battle Mountain’s girls finished second as a team in the race with 149 points, behind Aspen and Nederland, both at 150, in a photo finish. On the boys’ side, Steamboat Springs ruled in GS with 166 points and Battle Mountain tied with Evergreen for second at 159.5.
The state meet continues today with slalom on the hill and freestyle in Nordic.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.
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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.