Ever on the move Cook is the Skimeister
EDWARDS — Quintin Cook’s first attempt at Nordic skiing wasn’t pretty.
“I got on skis and I remember pulling once and going right to my face,” Cook said.
He’s gotten much better at it. He is a very good alpine skier. And, perhaps most importantly, he can juggle a hectic life.
Roll it all together and the Battle Mountain junior is the Skimeister, the best all-around high school skier in the state, for 2015.
Balance on and off the snow
Cook was already a pretty busy guy before he entertained the idea of trying for Skimeister before the 2013-14. In the fall, he races in the Colorado High School Mountain Biking League. In the winter, he was already skiing. Come spring, he plays lacrosse, and then in the summer, it’s back to the bike in the Vail-Beaver Creek Mountain Series.
Two years ago, Dan Weiland, who’s done just about everything athletic in his life, told Cook it might help with his biking if he took up Nordic skiing in the winter.
Not only would Cook have to learn not to ski face-first, but he would have to start juggling his time like crazy.
Cook’s Skimeister training regiment is tiring to recite, much less execute — school from 8 a.m-1:30 p.m., followed by two hours of alpine practice, followed by Nordic practice until the sun went down, followed by homework, food and sleep.
And, yes, there are races every Friday and Saturday, too.
This has demanded both physical and mental rigors on Cook’s part.
“There were a few times where I had a lot of homework and needed sleep and couldn’t find the time,” Cook said. “It’s hard to do all the things in one day and go to school and do it again. There were times, ‘Can I get a break?’ You’ve just kind of got to fight it.”
Cook finished fourth in the Skimeister race last year, and he turned the corner this season. During the second Nordic race of the season, it was like a little light bulb turned on. Cook finished 12th in a freestyle race at Middle Park.
He credits his coach Kevin Hochtl for his new-found prowess in Nordic skiing.
“Kevin picked me up and he just really took me under his wing,” Cook said. “He showed me how to do it. He’s an incredible coach, an incredible skier and really helped me improve in that sport.”
It didn’t hurt either that Hochtl won the Skimeister three times during the 1990s. He knew what his protege was enduring.
Gravity and teammates are good
The alpine part of the equation Cook had. Part of the Huskies juggernaut in giant slalom and slalom, which was on display during the regular season and at state last week, Cook and company fed off one another.
Cook and Sands Simonton seemed to be trading steps of the podium all season. Simonton and Cook went 1-2 in the state GS last week.
“It’s so fun. We’ve all been with each other for so long,” Cook said. “We’re all super-close friends. It’s never a mean rivalry. It’s poking fun.”
However, let the record note that Cook happily turned the tables on Simonton in the slalom the next day.
Teammates were just as important for Cook on the Nordic side. It’s a brutal sport.
“It’s pretty neat to see the Nordic side do so well because Nordic is super difficult,” Cook said. “I don’t know any other sport that requires technique and pure will to get to the finish. Seeing those guys, it’s just amazing to see them do so well because it’s so hard.”
While the Skimeister is a regular-season award not announced until after the state meet, Cook kept on plugging, running four races in two days last week. Not only did he have to race from Keystone to the Frisco Nordic Center — and, as an added bonus, there were road closures because of the weather — he raced well in Nordic.
Cook was the ever-critical third scorer for the Huskies, 13th in freestyle and 19th in classic, helping Battle Mountain to its first state championship in skiing since 2001.
More to do
One would think that Cook could take a nap for, say, about two weeks after winning the Skimeister. But on Tuesday as Cook was recapping his winter season, he had lacrosse practice later that afternoon. All of 17, he’s in the expert division of the Vail-Beaver Creek summer season, whereas most his age should be racing in juniors or men’s beginner.
In the fall, he wants to win the individual title of the Colorado High School Mountain Biking League. He had the leader’s jersey last autumn until he got the flu before the final race of the season.
And, yeah, though the season just ended, he wants to put his name on the Skimeister trophy again.
“I finally got it down, getting from practice to practice to practice to race to race,” Cook said. “Definitely, next year, I’ll be back.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.