Gore Rangers grab both legs of Pursuit
LEADVILLE, Colorado For all of his top performances on a state and national level Tony Ryerson had never won a Nordic race.That was until Saturday, when Ryerson won the classic leg of the Leadville Pursuit and helped his Gore Rangers pick up their first win of the season.Ryerson poured on the jets at the end of the classic race, coming in at 10 minutes, 48 seconds, just two seconds ahead of Summits Tyler Reinking. I went in with a game plan to ski in third or fourth for the majority of the race, and there was this one downhill section where I decided I should make a break, Ryerson said. I dropped all but one kid and beat him in a sprint to the finish.As happy as he was to collect his first win, Ryerson was excited with the team performance in both the morning classic race and the afternoon skate race.The plan (was to win) because at the last race in Summit (County), we did really well, but some of us werent racing really hard, Ryerson said. We knew we could go in and win it, and we did. It was a good day for us.Two weeks ago at the Breckenridge Nordic Center, as well as in the opening race in Vail in December, the Gore Rangers were second behind Aspen.But Saturday, Vail Mountain dominated both races. In the classic, Chris Woods was third and Sean Woods eighth. And although they didnt score, Wes Batts (11th) and Rob Fitz (14th) would have been in the top three on almost every other team.After about a three-hour break following the 3.3-kilometer classic, the boys came back with for the 3.3-kilometer skate a fury, stealing four of the top five spots. Sophomore Sean Woods was second, only 17 seconds behind Reinking. Fitz crossed the line just three seconds later in third, with Chris Woods three seconds back of Fitz and Ryerson four seconds behind Fitz. In the pursuit (combined times), Ryerson was second, Chris Woods third, Sean Woods fourth, Fitz eighth and Batts 13th.Sean Woods, who is competing in the Skimeister (alpine and Nordic combined), extended his lead and amazed his coaches.We definitely want him to keep doing Skimeister, Vail Mountain coach Dan Weiland said, but when he puts together results where hes second in a high school race, it makes me wonder why hes doing Skimeister.Ryerson said his win gave him a bit of a boost to start the skate race, although the extra kick wasnt there later on.About 1K into the race, there was a really steep hill, and I went a little too hard over it and couldnt recover, Ryerson said.Battle Mountains Conor Wallace, who competes with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail alongside the Vail Mountain boys, had a great day. Wallace was fourth in the classic, just two seconds out of third, and seventh in the skate to finish fifth in the pursuit. Eagle Valleys Ethan Smith led the Devils in both classic (17th) skate (22nd) to take 21st in the pursuit. Nick Brink had a good classic leg helping him place 29th in the pursuit. James McGoodwin was 40th to round things out for Eagle Valley.Ethan had a great day, said Eagle Valley coach Glen Ewing. We were missing Sage (Smith) badly.For Vail Christian, a first-year squad, Ian Hamina led the way in 24th (23rd in classic, 27th in skate), nine seconds ahead of teammate Ryan Vlaar (28th, 25th), who was 25th. Eric Gallagher was 49th.The boys were great, considering its only their first year, said Weiland, who also coaches Vail Christian.Battle Mountains Charles Gladtisch was 45th, with Remsen Allard 60th.
Vail Christians Jessica Linder had another great outing, taking third in the classic, just 12 seconds behind winner Brianna Perkins, and second in the skate to claim second in the girls pursuit. Perkins won the skate as well.Solid results again for a pretty young skier, Weiland said. That was pretty impressive in skate race, going up against a girl who has been around for a long time, battling pretty hard.Still not at full strength, Vail Mountains Karlie Moore gritted out the classic leg in 12:38, just seven seconds off the winning mark. Moore was ninth in the skate, and fourth in the pursuit.For Karlie going pretty easy and still ending up ninth is impressive, Weiland said. Hopefully she takes some confidence away from that, so when her back does come around she can be a contender for the skate portion.Kaitlin Zdechlik, who has consistently been in the top 10, cracked the top 10 yet again in both races (10th, 7th) to place ninth in the pursuit. Lauren Zdechlik wasnt far behind, in 15th, helping the Gore Rangers take third in both legs. Although she didnt score, Betsy Batts qualified for state in legs (17th, 17th) and was 18th in the pursuit.Lettie Fickling, the second half of the two-person strong Vail Christian squad, was 13th on the heels of an 11th-place skate finish.With two consistent legs, Ali Gulick set the pace for Eagle Valley in 24th, with Molly Walker in 37th and Caitlin Yarger in 45th.Erin Barker was Battle Mountains top skier in 38th, followed by Jamie Lee Roberts in 41st Anouk Guilmineau in 48th.The teams head to Winter Park Saturday for a classic race.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or email@example.com.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.