By his boot tip, Woods wins sprint |

By his boot tip, Woods wins sprint

Ian CroppVail, CO Colroado
Special to the Daily/Cindy RyersonSean Woods, right, won a 1.2K sprint race last weekend at Solider Hollow, Utah.

SOLDIER HOLLOW, Utah The finish was a bit of a blur for an exhausted Sean Woods.Fortunately the picture was pretty clear Woods won by a boot.This past weekend at the Solider Hollow Super Qualifier in Utah, Woods took first in photo-finish sprint race. Woods, a Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athlete, held a lead going down the final stretch of the 1.2 kilometer race with his opponent closing in fast.I could feel him on me, Woods said. The adrenaline got me to the finish. At first, they said he won … and I was happy to get second at the time, but then someone told me I had won.At the finish, Woods lunged forward, and his boot crossed the line before Park Citys Tanner Putt. The spectacular finish at the Western Region qualifier gave SSCV its first male victory at the Soldier Hollow event.It was quite monumental, SSCV coach Karl Hochtl said. All of the best J2s in the Western U.S. were there.Not bad for a kid who picked up the sport last year.Our expectations were a top-10 finish, Hochtl said. He qualified fourth in the morning, and we didnt know where hed go from there.After placing second in his quarterfinal round and winning his semifinal round, Woods got a good start in the finals.One person went out too hard at the beginning, and a group was able to catch back up, and we slowed down for a bit, Woods said. For some reason, I started to go. I took the lead. There was steep hill where I knew I could make my move before a long downhill. I had to get a gap so they wouldnt catch up to me on the downhill because you can draft.Coming out of the downhill there was a turn and then a straight path to the finish line.The humble Woods said he was surprised by his progress since starting the sport as a freshman at Vail Mountain School.I came into last year hoping to do well in Skimeister, he said, referring to the combined Nordic and alpine high school skiing competition. Now Nordic has become a big focus of mine. Ive been progressing with my coaches, teammates and family. It takes hard work. The technique changes throughout the year, and it requires a lot of endurance and strength.Karlie Moore, who has been skiing with back pain, had a great showing in the 10-kilometer mass start classic Saturday, taking fifth in the J1/OJ Division.Shes been struggling with back issues, so for her to have a solid race was a real mental boost for her, Hochtl said.Jessica Linder, a first-year J1, was 16th in the 72-racer J1/OJ division.In the mens 15-kilometer classic, Tony Ryerson took 12th, and was fourth among J1s.Tony had a tremendous race, Hochtl said. He beat a kid from Aspen who qualified at nationals to go to the (Junior) Scandinavian Cup, so hes beating top-caliber kids.Chris Woods was 26th, with Wes Batts in 41st in a deep 91-person field. Sean Woods was 10th among J2s. Lauren Zdechlik led the J2 women in 23rd with Lettie Fickling in 25th, Betsy Batts in 35th and Amelia Ortiz in 37th.In the sprint race, Ryerson was 16th, Chris Woods was 19th, and Rob Fitz was 32nd. Zdechlik led the ladies in 18th with Fickling in 21st, Betsy Batts in 30th and Ortiz in 31st. For J1s, Linder was 26th, and Moore was 30th.

COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colorado Its scary to think what would happen if Faye Gulini focused on one event.Gulini, a Ski & Snowboard Club Vail rider, won a slopestyle event at the Revolution Tour on Monday, while taking fourth in boardercross Sunday and 13th in halfpipe Tuesday.I usually get the practice they give us the day (of the event), Gulini said. I figure if youre going to snowboard, you might as well do all events.After taking third place in slopestyle at the opening event in Minnesota her first International Ski Federation-level event Gulini bested the competition in Copper, including U.S. Snowboarding Team rider Jordan Karlinski.Shes beaten me a ton of times in a row, so I wanted to beat her, Gulini said.On her first run in the finals, Gulini hit the first of three jumps with a frontside 360 and then had a nosegrab and a backside 360. On the two rails, Gulini performed a 50-50 (where the board is parallel with the rail and you slide straight down it) and then another 50-50 followed by a 180 off of the rail. Gulinis score of 28.30 was 0.50 behind Karlinski, so for her second run, Gulini used the same combination but started with a cab 540 (where you take off on your opposite riding foot).What else is scary? SSCVs Ellen Feldman with more confidence. Feldman won her second consecutive Revolution Tour halfpipe this season. On a bigger halfpipe and with tougher competition, Feldman delivered the goods.I really wanted to win and qualify for Junior World (Championships) and I did, said Feldman, who was named an alternate to Junior Worlds last year.Feldmans run consisted of a straight air, a backside 540, a frontside 540, a straight air, a frontside 720 and a Cab 540.It was a lot bigger than Minnesota, Feldman said. I feel like you have more time to set up, and it makes everything flow a lot better.Once again, Feldman bested U.S. Snowboarding Team rookie rider Kait Farrington, who will be competing in the halfpipe at the X Games this week. In slopestyle, Feldman was fourth, 0.40 points from making the podium.So far this year, things are going according to plan for 17-year-old Feldman.This is the year where I really wanted to see things happen, she said. I feel pretty good, especially since Ive qualified for worlds it takes a lot of the pressure off.On the mens side, SSCVs Brennan Swanson followed up his halfpipe win from last week with a third-place finish, while teammate Connor Leach was right behind in fourth. Leach took sixth in the slopestyle, with Swanson seventh and SSCV athlete and U.S. Snowboarding Rookie Team rider Broc Waring in eighth.The riders are in Park City, Utah, this weekend for the third Revolution Tour event of the season.

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado One day after coming in second place in a Colorado Ski Cup super-G, Ski & Snowboard Club Vails Erika Ghent found her way atop the podium in Wednesdays super-G at Beaver Creek. Ghent finished in 1 minute, 21.78 seconds, with Steamboat Springs Jennifer Allen in second at 1:22.04.SSCV placed eight skiers in the top 20, including three in the top 10. Delainey Ackerman took third and had the best time for all J2 racers.Ackerman, who was eighth in Tuesdays race, corrected some problems up high on the course and found speed on the bottom part.Yesterday was good, but I messed up on the top, so today was good, she said. I usually nail the flats on the bottom, but the technical parts up top I sometimes have problems with.Abby Ghent, a first-year J2, was eighth and had the third-fastest first split on the Centennial course. Georgia Wettlaufer was 11th, followed by J2 racer Whitney Setterberg. Jessa Bardin (14th) and Julia Keeler (17th) also had top finishes among J2s. Alice Ralston was 20th.On the mens side, Jason McNeil won his second straight super-G, coming in 1.18.42. SSCVs Will Gregorak was the top local finisher in fourth, just 0.06 seconds behind Marc Perathoner of Italy. SSCVs Nathan Asoian was 10th, while teammate Rett Smith tied for 11th one of three ties in the top 20.Iced Out Racings Hunter Schleper was 13th and first for the J2 racers. SSCVs John Kemp was 21st, one spot ahead of teammate Sean Cummiskey. Rounding out the top 40 were Paul Britvar (SSCV, 31st), J2s Kitt Flowers (Iced Out, 33rd) and Kieffer Christianson (39th).Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or

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