Huskies’ alpine heating up for state | VailDaily.com
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Huskies’ alpine heating up for state

Ian CroppVail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily Battle Mountain's Kate Van Hee was ninth at the Loveland slalom two weeks ago.
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Come the state skiing meet, Battle Mountain isn’t quite sure which three girls and boys will be picking up points. But that’s just fine.In the last two races, the Huskies girls’ won and took second, with five different girls in the top three spots. The boys were fourth at both races, also with five different competitors placing.Two weeks ago, the Huskies won the Loveland slalom, thanks to three top-10 finishes, and this past weekend, they took second at the Cooper giant slalom with three top-20 finishes.”I think it’s a team effort,” said Battle Mountain’s Kelly Van Hee, who was ninth in the slalom and 11th in the giant slalom. “Training obviously helps, but also, we have a lot of team chemistry.”At Loveland, Jenny Banner led the Huskies with a fourth-place finish, followed by Christa Ghent in fifth. With 165 points, the Huskies edged Summit by two.Then at Cooper, Jamie Lee Roberts had two great runs to put her in second place, while Kelly Scholl grabbed 18th.”Hopefully we’ll see some good top-20 finishes at (state) for the girls,” said Battle Mountain coach Simon Marsh. “And for the guys, we’re expecting top 20’s as well.”Despite a few crashes, the Battle Mountain boys placed fourth in both races. In the slalom, Mitch Hendrix took ninth overall, with Petey Moore in 15th and Cannon O’Brian in 20th.

Then this past weekend, Hendrix led the Huskies again, in sixth, followed by Wilder Heuga in 11th and Charlie Banner in 16th.Hendrix, who dedicated a lot of his time last year to skiing FIS races, has been focusing on Nordic more this year, and is the current Skimeister leader. Right behind Hendrix in the standings is freshman Sean Woods of Vail Mountain. Woods helped his team to a seventh-place finish at both Loveland and Cooper, finishing 26th. Punching into the top 20 for both races and blazing the way for his teammates was Vail Mountain’s Mick Seeman, taking 14th at the slalom and 18th at the giant slalom. Jens Kjesbo had a good race at Loveland, coming in one behind Woods, and was 50th at Cooper. On the girls’ side, the Gore Rangers were eighth at Loveland and tied for sixth at Cooper. Lucy Sackbauer had the top finishes, taking 15th in the giant slalom and 21st in the slalom, while Joely Denkinger was 19th and 35th in those races. Axis Navas was 32nd in the giant slalom and Kenzie Grant was 38th in the slalom.The Eagle Valley girls were right behind Vail Mountain in both races. In the giant slalom, the Devils packed three in the top 30, with Nicole Luczkow 26th, Byronny Hiland 28th and Hilary Henry 29th. Shanna Zoch led the charge in the slalom, in 29th, and Luczkow was close behind in 32nd. Kelsey Elwood rounded things out in 46th.For the boys, Cody Coulter (42), Zach Bailey (65) and Jamison Bair (68) put the Devils in a tie for eighth at Cooper. Baily (41) just edged out teammate Griffin Turnipseed (42) at Loveland, with Bair in 65th, and the Devils were ninth.Terrin Kinser, the sole girls’ racer for Vail Christian, was 27th at Cooper and 51st at Loveland. A young Vail Christian boys team was 10th at Loveland. Corey Seeman used a great second run to take 54th, while Ian Hamina was 68th and Eric Gallagher was 73rd. At Cooper, the team was 13th, with Hamina 69th and Gallagher 81st. Friday, the teams will be at Beaver Creek for Eagle Valley’s slalom race.

Out of the WoodsIt’s safe to say Sean Woods feels comfortable with Nordic skiing. The Vail Mountain freshman, in only his first year with the sport, has been flying on snow.At this past weekend’s Leadville Pursuit, Woods placed fifth overall, and sixth in both the classic and skate.”He was our standout,” said Vail Mountain coach Dan Weiland. “For a freshman to do that – a freshman who is an alpine skier doing Skimeister – is amazing.”Woods, who finished the overall in 23:10, was followed by teammate Tony Ryerson in sixth and Battle Mountain’s Mitch Hendrix in seventh. The Gore Rangers were second in skate and fourth in classic. Rounding things out for Vail Mountain was Rob Fitz, who tied for eighth in the skate, and was 17th overall. “We had a decent day,” Weiland said. “Our goal was to have a good training race and to just to ski efficiently. We had kids wax their own skis, so it was kind of a test for them, as well.”On the girls’ side, Vail Mountain’s Karlie Moore was second overall, with Vail Christian’s Molly McGee in fourth. Rounding out the top 10 were Kaitlin Zdechlik (8) and Lani Bruntz (9) from Vail Mountain, and Kendall Wilson (10) from Battle Mountain.With a third-place finish from Bruntz in the skate, as well as Moore (5) and Zdechlik (8) close behind, the Gore Rangers were able to take home the title, six points ahead of rival Summit. In the classic, Summit edged Vail Mountain by half a point to take second, with Aspen in first.Vail Christian had another stellar showing from its three racers, and took fourth in the skate and classic. Along with McGee, Jessica Linder was 12th and Lettie Fickling was 32nd. McGee was fourth in both races, while Linder took eighth in the classic.

Wilson led her team to two ninth-place finishes, and was ninth in the skate. Julia Burnett was 43rd and Erin Baker was 45th overall. For the boys, Hendrix, as well as the Huskies’ team were eighth in classic. Connor Wallace was 42nd overall, and Eric Spry was 76th.Eagle Valley’s Kyle Simonett snagged a 14th-place in the classic race, while teammates Sage Smith (28th) and Nick Brink (31st) also pushed hard to place the Devils fifth.”Our guys are doing really well,” said Eagle Valley coach Glen Ewing. “Kyle has had consistently good results.”The Devils were seventh in the skate.”They put everything out in classic and didn’t have a whole lot left for skate,” Ewing said.Simonett was 21st overall, followed by Smith (26) and Brink (31). On the girls’ side, Ali Gulick had two consistent races to place 29th overall, while Molly Walker and Mackenzie Degroat were 49th and 50th, respectively.Next week, the teams are in Carbondale for a classic race.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.


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