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Eagle-Vail’s Huskies cap off Banner season

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado
Battle Mountain High School skier Kelly VanHee competes in the state high school giant slalom skiing championship race at the Steamboat Ski Area in Steamboat Springs, CO on Friday, February 22, 2008.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colorado ” Jenny Banner and the Battle Mountain girls alpine team showed up at Friday’s state ski race in Steamboat Springs to have a good time.

Oh, and they won. Again.

Banner, a senior, won the state-championship giant slalom on Howelsen Hill, leading the Huskies to a first-place team finish. Both Banner and the Huskies won the slalom Thursday.

“I’m just really happy,” Banner said. “I love giant slalom, so I was really excited. The team was really supportive; we stuck together and had lots of fun.”

Four spots behind Banner was teammate Marisa Ammaturo.

“This has just been a really fun season,” Ammaturo said. “We’ve won all of the giant slalom races.”

The Battle Mountain girls nearly pulled off a total season sweep, winning all but one of the races ” a slalom at Beaver Creek, where they were second.

Jamie Lee Roberts was seventh for the Huskies, one spot off her slalom finish, while Kelly VanHee, who was second Thursday, tied for 10th on Friday.

“It was an awesome year for all of them,” Battle Mountain coach Simon Marsh said. “It was redemption from last year, when we had high hopes and things didn’t turn out the way we wanted.”

As easy as they made it look, there were a few bobbles and some nerves for the Huskies.

“I’ve raced on this hill before, and all the other times I’ve caught an edge,” Ammaturo said. “I was a little hesitant, but I didn’t fall, so I was happy.”

Banner hit a rut close to the finish but recovered and came through the finish line with a combined time 1.30 seconds better than the second-place finisher.

Vail Mountain saw seniors Joely Denkinger and Lucy Sackbauer put down two solid runs for the second day in a row. The Gore Rangers were seventh. Denkinger took 12th, Sackbauer was 18th, and Taylor Campbell rounded out the scoring in 42nd.

“The kids are real happy and proud of their results,” Vail Mountain coach Ross Sappenfield said.

As she did in Thursday’s slalom, Nicole Luczkow led Eagle Valley on Friday, placing 24th. Rachel Landin was 30th, with teammate Terrin Kinser in 45th. The Devils were eighth.

“I’m proud of all of them,” Luczkow said. “This is the hardest course we’ve skied all year. I’m happy I finished because it’s tricky, technical and steep. Shanna Zoch is sick, so that kind of put us back a bit because she would have done well, but we still did really well.”

Vail Christian’s McKenzie Curran was 52nd.

When there were some missed gates and bobbles earlier in the year for the Vail Mountain boys, Sappenfield didn’t despair ” he knew the boys had the potential to put it all together.

On Friday, the Gore Rangers did just that, with four of five boys finishing in the top half of the draw, leading to a sixth-place finish.

Sean Woods led the team in 18th, one spot and 0.20 seconds ahead of teammate Jens Kjesbo. Freshman John McKenna was 22nd, while Charlie Grant was 28th.

“These guys did really well as a team, for sure,” Sappenfield said. “This was our most consistent race all year.”

McKenna enjoyed his first state meet.

“I was excited to ski under the lights (in Thursday’s slalom),” he said.

Zachary Ziolkowski led Battle Mountain in 14th, and the Huskies took seventh. Davey DeChant was 20th for another top-20 finish, while Christoph Neiderhauser came in 30th.

Vail Christian’s Corey Seemann had a great second run to move into 15th.

Eagle Valley’s Cody Coulter led his team in 32nd, seven spots ahead of teammate Griffin Turnipseed.

“I could have been faster,” Coulter said. “But it was a really difficult hill. There was a big flat spot where you carried a bunch of speed and a huge knoll where people had trouble on the fist run, but I was mentally prepared for it.”


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