Local skiers take advantage of last shot to qualify at Beaver Creek
Vail, CO Colorado
BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Vail Mountain’s Charlie Grant said he didn’t feel any pressure to qualify for state on his last chance.
He raced like there was no added weight on top of his skis.
Grant secured his trip to Ski Cooper last this month in the high school giant slalom at Beaver Creek with a pair of solid runs Friday. The near identical times gave Grant a combined total of 2 minutes, 13.19 seconds to finish in 15th place.
“Today, I had to qualify,” Grant said. “I just blocked everything out. I didn’t really think of anything, and I just had fun.”
He wasn’t the only local athlete to excel. Skiers from VMS, Vail Christian, Eagle Valley and Battle Mountain all took advantage of the home-mountain advantage.
In the boys’ race, the Huskies’ Nicholas Braun paced area finishers in seventh. Braun blistered the course on his second run (1:03.53) for a combined time of 2:04.04.
“(Nicholas) ran really clean,” Battle Mountain coach Simon Marsh said. “The course really suited him. He is really good at hitting the gates and developing speed. It was a perfect course for him and he skied it perfectly.”
Battle Mountain’s strong day continued with Davey DeChant’s 20th-place finish. After nearly falling on his first run, DeChant made up time on his second try. His effort didn’t qualify him for state because the senior had already done so weeks ago.
“State is going to be awesome,” DeChant said. “I really like slalom, so I’ll be looking forward to the slalom race. Hopefully, they got a steep pitch somewhere you can ski on.”
Kyle Poisson (27th) did need a strong performance to qualify in the GS. He did just that with a combined time of 2:19.06.
“I think that was awesome,” Marsh said. “He is a great slalom skier, he is starting to figure out GS too.”
Besides Grant’s run to state, VMS’ Corey Seemann also ran fast. Seemann claimed 17th with a time of 2:14.26.
Eagle Valley was paced by Zach Bailey in 37th. Vail Christian’s Dan Schramm (47th) and Ian Hamina (48th) also did well.
Huskies use depth
A brief timing issue in the girls’ race didn’t slow down the action, or the racers. VMS’ Katharine Irwin flew down the course on her first run in 1:01.80 to help her finish in second place with a time of 2:07.11.
The Gore Rangers weren’t done after Irwin’s run. Eva Spaeh took 11th for VMS and Kim Newton finished 13th.
Battle Mountain used its depth and an impressive run by Celine Guilmineau for a successful day. Guilmineau claimed fifth with a combined time of 2:09.30.
“Celine is a great skier,” Marsh said. “She came in fourth or fifth after the first run and she was the last racer on the hill. That’s impressive.”
Annie Talbot (22nd), Trisha Bruen (25th), Jana Weiss (20th), Isabelle Courtois (27th) Rebecca Hughes (29th), Piper McMillin (32nd) and Annie Schmitt (33rd) all did well for Battle Mountain.
“I think all those girls, let’s say Jana, she has really stepped up in the last week and a half,” Marsh said. “I think some of the girls can have even better runs. We are really looking forward to how we ski in the next couple of weeks.”
Shanna Zoch paced Eagle Valley in 26th place. Logan Kinser (41st) and Rachel Nagel (61st) were next for the Devils.
Area teams will now turn their attention to the state meet on Feb. 19-20 at Ski Cooper.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 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.