Huskies boys skiing leads at state meet
SUMMIT COUNTY — And after Day 1, the Battle Mountain boys ski team is in the lead in pursuit of the school’s first state title on snow since 2001.
The Huskies boys threw down in the giant slalom as Sands Simonton won his second-consecutive state crown in the discipline. With Quintin Cook second and Keenan Zopf fifth, the Huskies ran away with the team win with 175 points, most importantly 29 in front of fourth-place Summit County.
On the Nordic side, Cameron Moore led a stout Battle Mountain effort with a fourth-place finish, with Franklin Reilly in seventh. Huskies’ Nordic finished third with 154 points in the skate with Summit winning with 167.
All this math puts Battle Mountain ahead of Summit, 329-313, with the slalom at Keystone today, followed by the classic race at the Frisco Nordic Center.
As is the traditional formula, Battle Mountain needs to dominate the alpine side of things to be in contention for a state title. Going 1-2-5 qualifies as the proper amount of taking care of business.
Simonton won his second-straight state title in the GS by 1.36 seconds over teammate Cook.
“I’ve gotta say that I was a lot more nervous this year because I had a title to defend,” the senior said. “Other than that, it felt like a normal race.”
Simonton built a majority of his lead on the first run. He said he didn’t ski any differently on the second, but knew that all would not be lost with a bobble because he had a cushion.
Cook, who is chasing the Skimeister, the season-long award for the state’s best all-around skier, took second. The junior couldn’t enjoy his silver medal because he was off to the Frisco Nordic Center to finish 21st in the afternoon’s freestyle Nordic race.
“These races during states are hard,” Cook said. “It’s kind of hard when you’re going from fat skis to thin ones. You get a little down time in the car while driving.”
While Battle Mountain’s Victor Guilmineau did not score, though he finished eighth, he did play a big role for his team. The Huskies packed four racers into the top 10, and, in doing so, knocked down Summit’s alpine point total. The Tigers’ top racer was Jack Farrell in 10th.
Battle Mountain hopes for more of the same today in slalom, which Cook considers his stronger suit. In the meantime, Simonton wants to make it back-to-back when it comes another state title.
“If Quintin gets first place tomorrow, I don’t think I’ll be as sad as someone else (from another team winning),” Simonton said. “The reason I want to beat him is that he’s a junior and has next year to lay it down.”
Huskies fans probably don’t care as long as the two go 1-2 today and get the 60 and 59 team points, respectively.
Nordic keeps Huskies in hunt
As dominating as the numbers were on the alpine side, the Huskies traditional downfall at the state meet has been Nordic, where Summit usually is dominant. The Tigers’ Henry Trowbridge and Joel Sawyer went first and third, respectively, on their home course on Thursday.
But Moore was fourth, followed by Reilly’s and Cook’s finishes. Both Moore and Reilly finished in front of Summit’s third racer, Derek Hill, who was 12th. Battle Mountain gave only 13 points to Summit on the Nordic side, much better than previous years.
As an example, after Day 1 last year in Eldora, Summit boys Nordic scored 175 points; Aspen 155 and Battle Mountain 126. Aspen ended up beating the Huskies by 11 points when all four races were counted.
VMS Nordic shines
On the girls’ side, it seems like a two-team race with Summit leading Aspen, 331-320. Battle Mountain is in fourth with 287 in the girls’ points. The Eagle Valley ladies are eighth, while the boys are in fifth.
Vail Mountain School doesn’t have a shot at the overall state title, but the Gore Rangers girls did show their prowess on the thin skis, winning the skate. Maddie Donovan was second; Lyle Shipp fifth and Annie Blakslee sixth. That gave VMS a 170-163 victory over Summit.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud.
Rita’s two closest peers have climbed the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak 21 times each, but both of them have retired from mountain climbing.