From the back seat, Vail’s Gregorak flies |

From the back seat, Vail’s Gregorak flies

Ian CroppVail, CO Colorado
SPT surefoot ski cup1 KA 04-06-08

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado Whether hes skiing from the seat of his pants or in the back seat, Will Gregorak finds plenty of speed.On Sunday, two days after he took second in a giant slalom despite a hip check, Gregorak placed second in a Colorado Ski Cup slalom at Beaver Creek.I just kind of leaned back the whole way, which isnt too consistent, but if you can pull it off, it can be fast, said Gregorak, who competes with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. It was a bit of a straight set down the pitch, so it wasnt anything too bad, but that could catch you off guard.Gregorak was in 10th place after the first run, almost a second out of the top spot, but on his second pass, Gregorak flew down the short slalom course on Bear Trap to finish with the best run. After the final nine racers came down, Gregoraks total time of 1 minute, 14.58 seconds stood for second place. The U.S. Ski Teams Will Brandenburg won at 1:14.35, with teammates Paul McDonald (1:14.81) and Tim Kelley (1:14.98) in third and fourth, respectively. McDonald and Kelley went 1-2 in Saturdays slalom. Buck Hills Michael Ankeney, a J2 skier, tied for fifth Sunday (1:15.63), while Iced Out Racings Hunter Schleper, another J2, was 10th (1:16.54).Although the U.S. teams season officially ended at last months national championships, several racers like Brandenburg are still hitting the gates.We came to lower the penalty and help out the rest of U.S. skiing, Brandenburg said. When we race, the penalty gets lowered, and everyones start position gets better when they race internationally.Start positions are based on a points system, and racers earn lower points (which is better) by earning top finishes alongside racers who already have low points.Sundays race, which had 140 men on the start list, featured a mix of U.S. Ski Team members, collegiate racers and junior racers.The college guys dont get to train as much as we do, but they come out to these races and they are right there with us or beating us, Brandenburg said. Its pretty unbelievable skiing by a lot of those guys.Denver Universitys Ian Lockhead, who led after the first run, was the top collegiate finisher in seventh. The University of Utahs Thomas Zumbrunn was eighth, and the University of Colorado at Boulders Drew Roberts was ninth.Gregorak, a high schooler who will graduate later this spring, skipped his prom Saturday night.That was the strategy, he said. I knew Schleper was going to prom, and I said if I didnt go to prom, I could beat him today.After Sundays result, Gregoraks slalom points should drop considerably and move him into the top three for his age group. Schleper, who had the best finish among local skiers in Saturdays slalom 11th and just a shade over a second off the winning mark dropped his slalom points, too. Ankeney currently holds the No. 1 spot in slalom for 1991 birthdates, with Schleper right behind.SSCVs Paul Britvar, starting with the No. 30 bib, finished 17th, while teammate Bryan Shpall moved up from the No. 69 bib to take 22nd. Iced Out Racings Kieffer Christianson, a first-year J2, placed 27th wearing the No. 83 bib.Much of Sundays field plans on competing in races at Mammoth Mountain in California, including the U.S. team skiers.A couple of my buddies need to score some results to requalify for the U.S. Ski Team, Brandenburg said.

In the womens slalom, Eva Huckova overtook Petra Zakourilova in the second run to win.Huckova, who skis for the University of Utah, won Thursdays Colorado Ski Cup giant slalom at Vail. Zakourilova, who led by just 0.03 seconds after the first run Sunday, was second in Saturdays slalom.The University of Denvers Clair Abbe took third, while junior racer Julia Wong moved up from eighth to fourth thanks to the second-bast time on her final pass. Malin Hemmingsson, a skier for the University of New Mexico, moved up from 12th to take fifth. Former U.S. Ski Team racer and Edwards resident Kristina Koznick was sixth.Ski & Snowboard Club Vails Georgia Wettlaufer was 17th for the second day in a row, while teammate Joelle Chevalier claimed the top J2 spot at 20th overall. Chevalier was 21st on Saturday.

Ski & Snowboard Club Vails Alex Leever doesnt seem too daunted by an international start list. Leever, a J4, closed out his Whistler Cup campaign with a third-place finish in Sundays slalom.This is his first international competition, said SSCV coach Dan Stripp. He had a really good week.Leever, who had the third-best times in both runs, placed 10th in Saturdays giant slalom.SSCVs Kaytlyn Samuelson, a J3, took 10th in Sundays giant slalom. Samuelson was 13th in Saturdays slalom. Fellow J3 skier Greta Byrne placed second in Saturdays slalom her second silver in as many days.She had a great day (Saturday), Stripp said. She won the first run.Sean McCormick, a J3 with SSCV, was 16th Saturday in the slalom and 36th in Sundays giant slalom.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or

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