Battle Mountain sweeps Skimeister Awards
EDWARDS — Battle Mountain’s Skimeisters are nothing if not meticulous.
Haley Frischholz and Quintin Cook were checking out their aforementioned awards on Tuesday, trying to figure out when was the last time a pair of Huskies won titles in the same year.
Though there are some gaps in the award’s history, this winter would be the first time that a pair of Battle Mountain athletes have brought home both Skimeisters, the awards given to the best all-around female and male high school skiers in the state.
“It kind of set in at state once they handed it out,” said Cook, who repeated as Skimeister. “It was something that was pretty awesome.”
Tackling the challenge of being a Skimeister, much less winning it, requires discipline and, perhaps, a helpful touch of insanity. Athletes juggle two different sets of practices, races, a boatload of travel, and, oh, by the way, school work.
“It’s definitely a long eight weeks,” Frischholz said of the actual race reason. “But it went by fast in a way. I was always busy.”
Frischholz started thinking about taking a shot at Skimeister at the end of last season. Like most Huskies, she came at this from an alpine perspective. And like most who get on a pair of Nordic skis, the initial result was predictable.
Nordic skis don’t turn on their edges like alpine ones.
And down went Frischholz.
“It was a good first day,” she joked.
Frischholz said there was no “a-ha” moment when it came to Nordic, but just general improvement.
“The first race was a skate, and I was really proud of myself,” Frischholz said. “But them I was like, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to do that all over again.’”
Like most new to Nordic, skate came faster than classic. Technique has to be correct in classic and technique takes more time.
To her credit, she stuck with it and placed as high as 17th in a skate race early last month in Leadville.
Another challenge for Frischholz was staying sharp in alpine, her strength, while trying to pick up the Nordic side. She said her alpine suffered “a little.” That’s a relative term since she finished in the top 10 in all eight of her alpine starts.
Of course, Frischholz is used to be being pretty busy. She’s a three-sport letter person. After posing with her skis and her awards on Tuesday, she was off to lacrosse practice. (Both she and Cook got the weekend off before spring sports started. Both also happen to be middies who take faceoffs in the spring, too.)
In the fall, she’s already spent two years on the volleyball team, where her primary job is to get her body in front of a screaming spike from the opposition and start it the other way.
So what’s harder — taking a spike in your face in volleyball or Nordic?
“I think mentally it’s definitely the Nordic classic race because it’s very hard to get through a race knowing you just have to keep going and you can’t stop until you see the finish line,” she said. “When (Battle Mountain volleyball coach) Jason (Fitzgerald) hits the ball at your face from on top of a box, it’s a little scary as well.”
And, yes, even though the season has just ended, look for Frischholz, a junior, as she is already hoping to defend her crown next winter.
Defending the title
If it’s any consolation, Cook says it’s a bit easier to repeat as Skimeister, particularly when you’ve been going at it for three years.
“After three years, you get used to — gotta be here with this stuff — being prepared is a huge part of it, planning,” Cook said.
The interesting thing for the senior is that he improved in his weaker disciplines — Nordic classic and slalom.
He was actually more consistent in classic this winter than in the free style. He owned giant slalom, going 4-for-4 including state last week. Yet his alpine coach Simon Marsh said that he was particularly impressed with the Cook’s slalom improved.
“This year, I just relaxed a little more,” Cook said. “I was able to have a little bit more fun in slalom, get a little bit faster. I guess it took off a bit more.”
And that all lead to a state sweep for Cook last week — titles in GS and slalom and the Skimeister.
Like Frischholz, Cook is an athlete for all seasons — mountain biking in the summer and fall, skiing in the winter and lacrosse now. One would think that mountain biking and skiing would be the two sports where he would most likely be injured as both can lead to crashes.
But Cook tore the labrum in his shoulder about a year ago during lacrosse practice, and is amped to get going this spring.
“It was kind of weird deal. It was a silly little thing,” Cook said. “My shoulder was hurting me for two weeks and I finally went to a doctor and realized what was going on. It was really unfortunate. I was finally getting the lacrosse down.”