Battle Mountain’s Whitton and Krueger win state skimeister titles
Season-long competition determines best combined Alpine and Nordic athletes
Battle Mountain might be currently fighting for skiing supremacy at the state Alpine and Nordic ski meets this weekend, but they’ve already cemented their status as the skimeister school.
For the second-straight season, the Huskies swept the girls and boys Colorado State High School Ski League skimeister state titles. Lindsey Whitton and Theo Krueger won the season-long competition which takes athletes’ best performances in the four disciplines — giant slalom, slalom, skate and classic — to determine a final ranking of the best all-around Nordic and Alpine skiers.
Last year, a state skimeister championships was also held at season’s end, but there was no venue able to host the event in 2023, meaning the winners were crowned after the last regular-season races.
It’s the second-straight year Whitton, who attends Vail Christian but competes for the Huskies, has won the competition. While she recognized important improvements in her Nordic this year, she said being able to attend Alpine practices in the afternoon fostered a bigger jump in that discipline. Alpine coach Erik Gilbert agreed.
“Whitton has improved so much in her Alpine skiing,” he said adding that the junior surprised herself by qualifying for both slalom and giant slalom at state.
Support Local Journalism
“The last two weeks she has found a consistent technique that makes her actually look like a ski racer. Combine that with her fitness level and commitment to try, you have all the pieces for success.”
A typical afternoon consists of leaving her third-block class early to attend Gilbert’s practices for a couple of hours at Beaver Creek. Then, she sneaks into Nordic practice on the late side before going home to catch up on school.
“It’s a lot of work,” Nordic coach Jeff Apps aptly stated regarding the skimeister regimen. “We’re very fortunate to have a great relationship with Gilbert and the Battle Mountain teachers and counselors to create this opportunity for these kids to be able to train for both sports along with school.”
Time management — on and off-snow — is a huge element to the season-long grind.
“These kids are having a great time and working really hard to manage school, Alpine and Nordic along with other responsibilities of being a teenager,” Apps continued. “They need a great support system — their awesome parents, teachers and coaches — who help them deal with all of the logistics of this sport.”
Apps has shepherded Whitton’s improvement on skinny skis, where he compares the athlete’s motor to Jessie Diggins.
“(She has) an awesome engine that knows how to climb and go fast when it counts,” he said. “Lindsey is an awesome athlete. Unbelievable training attitude. Also, she wants to consistently improve.”
At the first day of the state meet in Frisco on Thursday, those qualities were on full display. The junior powered through the course — which climbed for the first two-thirds of the 5-kilometer distance and saved its steepest ascents for the furthest (and most windy) points — to a second-place finish.
“This is made for our team just because of what we train every day,” Whitton said of the state venue.
“And especially being a runner, I can just grind through those hills and like, I think I’m trained for it because every day, all year long I do stuff like this.”
Whitton said it’s hard to choose a favorite between flying downhill around gates and climbing up in classic tracks, but appreciates how both sports uniquely push her.
“Alpine is different than anything I do and challenges me in a lot of different ways,” she said. “It’s honestly mentally harder because I’m trained for sports like Nordic, so I’m used to it. So, Alpine can be more frustrating just because it’s like, one small mistake can ruin your whole day.”
Krueger placed second last year to his teammate Seamus Farrell, but came into the season once again with serious cross-country running fitness. “Our job was to get his upper body strong!” Apps said, adding that the junior, who finished 23rd in the opening day of state on Thursday, has made strength gains every year in the program.
“Theo is a strong, consistent skier,” Gilbert added. “He is truly a mountain kid and loves being outside playing. No surprise he is skimeister champion and will be hard to beat next year.”
The Huskies demonstrated depth in the multi-sport affair, taking the top three spots in the final girls rankings — freshman Ruthie DeMino finished second and junior Presley Smith was third — and three of the top four in the boys with Tyler Losa (second) and Gavin Brewster (fourth).
“The skimeister group has gotten stronger in the past three years,” said Apps, who credited the work of his assistant coach, Christian Apps (his son, also a Husky skimeister in 2016).
“He has focused on these athletes to have them fully understand what is required of them during the season. This season there were 12 kids that did skimeiester — which is a lot.”
Apps also pointed to the Nordic program at Homestake Peak, currently being run by Kari Korbin (Ruthie DeMino’s mom) as being a crucial piece in the pipeline.
“This is an awesome grassroots program,” he said of the group, which meets twice-a-week in the winter.
All of that is to say — with Whitton and Krueger both having another year of eligibility — the Huskies appear primed for a three-peat.
“But there are other athletes right there competing against them,” Apps pointed out.
“Presley Smith and Ruthie DeMino are both ready to compete for the skimeister title next year. On the boys side, there are several athletes that did the skimeister this past year and are focused on getting their name on the trophy.”
Full skimeister rankings for 2023, as well as historical winners can be found on VailDaily.com.
|MALE SKIMEISTER||High School||YEAR|
|THEO KRUEGER||Battle Mountain||2023|
|SEAMUS FARRELL||Battle Mountain||2022|
|MATTHEW CAIRNS||Lake County||2020|
|MAX TIMM||Battle Mountain||2019|
|ANDREW MCCAWLEY||Steamboat Springs||2017|
|QUINTIN COOK||Battle Mountain||2016|
|QUINTIN COOK||Battle Mountain||2015|
|PETER WHITE||Steamboat Springs||2014|
|PETER WHITE||Steamboat Springs||2013|
|KYLE KNAEBLE||Clear Creek||2012|
|IAN HAMINA||Vail Christian||2010|
|SEAN WOODS||Vail Mountain School||2008|
|MITCH HENDRIX||Battle Mountain||2007|
|CHRIS WOODS||Vail Mountain School||2006|
|GRANT STEVENSON||Battle Mountain||2005|
|TAYLOR ROACH||Battle Mountain||2004|
|SYLVAN ELLEFSON||Vail Mountain School||2003|
|HENNIE KASHIWA||Steamboat Springs||2002|
|RYAN CADENHEAD||Clear Creek||2001|
|RYAN CADENHEAD||Clear Creek||2000|
|KEVIN HOCHTL||Battle Mountain||1998|
|TIM O’BRIAN||Clear Creek||1997|
|KEVIN HOCHTL||Battle Mountain||1996|
|KEVIN HOCHTL||Battle Mountain||1995|
|GREG COFFIN||Clear Creek||1994|
|GREG COFFIN||Clear Creek||1993|
|KARL HOCHTL||Battle Mountain||1992|
|MARK SYRENE||Clear Creek||1989|
|MIKE GIBBS||Clear Creek||1988|
|ERIC SYRENE||Clear Creek||1987|
|CHRISTIAN THORSTAD||Battle Mountain||1986|
|SEAN KERRIGAN||Lake County||1983|
|SEAN KERRIGAN||Lake County||1982*|
|SEAN KERRIGAN||Lake County||1981*|
|SEAN KERRIGAN||Lake County||1980*|
|CARL JORDAN||Battle Mountain||1979*|
|KERRY LYNCH||Middle Park||1975*|
|KERRY LYNCH||Middle Park||1974*|
|DANNY KEENAN||Middle Park||1972*|
*In the years before 1983, the competition also included ski jumping.
|YEAR||FEMALE SKIMEISTER||High School|
|2023||LINDSEY WHITTON||Battle Mountain|
|2022||LINDSEY WHITTON||Battle Mountain|
|2021||ZOE BENNETT MANKE||Steamboat Springs|
|2020||KIANA BRAUSCH||Battle Mountain|
|2018||KIANA BRAUSCH||Battle Mountain|
|2017||HALEY FRISCHHOLZ||Battle Mountain|
|2016||HALEY FRISCHHOLZ||Battle Mountain|
|2015||LINDSEY ADLER||Steamboat Springs|
|2011||EVA SPAEH||Vail Mountain School|
|2009||SARAH DIXSON||Steamboat Springs|
|2008||JAMIE LEE ROBERTS||Battle Mountain|
|2005||AMBER MORAN||Clear Creek|
|2004||AMBER MORAN||Clear Creek|
|2003||COURTNEY ROBINSON||Vail Mountain School|
|2002||HALEIGH ARMSTONG||Vail Mountain School|
|1998||PARKE COGSWELL||Vail Mountain School|
|1997||PARKE COGSWELL||Vail Mountain School|
|1996||PARKE COGSWELL||Vail Mountain School|
|1995||LISA KUMORO||Clear Creek|
|1993||SHANNON BILLAU||Clear Creek|
|1992||SHANNON BILLAU||Clear Creek|
|1991||ERIN VANWINKLE||Clear Creek|
|1990||ERIN VANWINKLE||Clear Creek|
|1988||ERIN VANWINKLE||Clear Creek|
|1987||KELLI ANTHONY||Battle Mountain|
|1986||AARON McCLELLAN||Pagosa Springs|
|1983||ROXANNE MULLINGS||Lake County|
|1982*||KIM FEISTNER||Lake County|
|1980*||LYNETTE SCHNELLER||Middle Park|
|1979*||LYNETTE SCHNELLER||Middle Park|
|1975*||WENDY ENGEL||Middle Park|
|1974*||WENDY ENGEL||Middle Park|
|1973*||JANET ENGEL||Middle Park|
*In the years before 1983, the competition also included ski jumping.