Podiums piling up for local racers | VailDaily.com

Podiums piling up for local racers

Ian Cropp - Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO
Special to the DailyFrom left to right, Ski and Snowboard Club's Rett Smith, Bobby Poehling, and Ross Herr swept the podium at a race in Mars, British Columbia recently.

BEAVER CREEK – For Erika Ghent, skiing is as much physical as mental. The Ski and Snowboard Club racer doesn’t seem to have a problem mastering either aspect of the sport. Wednesday, Ghent took first and second in a pair of super-G races on Beaver Creek’s Centennial.”I think I’m a lot stronger this year,” Ghent said. “But a lot of it is so mental – going down the hill as fast as you possibly can and not holding anything back and trusting myself and my athletic abilities.”And it’s not just speed events that Ghent has been winning. Earlier this month, the J1 skier won a slalom in Eldora, and also was fourth in a giant slalom at Beaver Creek Tuesday.”It’s definitely important to me to be a good overall skier,” Ghent said.This week, Ghent has led to way for SSCV skiers, many of whom had stellar results.”Our whole team has been doing so well – we really push each other,” Ghent said.

In Wednesday’s first super-G, SSCV packed eight girls in the top 16. Ghent was second, and first in the J1 category. Alyssa Cartmill took fifth, while Georgia Wettlaufer was right behind in sixth. Christa Ghent was 11th, and third among J2 racers, followed by Ashley Babcock in 12th, Jenny Banner in 13th and J2 racer Delainey Ackerman in 15th. Alice Ralston was 16th.For the second super-G, Erika Ghent won by .23 seconds. Cartmill stayed consistent with a fifth-place finish, while Christa Ghent took sixth, and second among J2’s. Ackerman hopped up a few spots from her previous race to 12th, which was fifth in the J2 category. Ralston was 15th, Whitney Setterberg was 20th, and ninth for the J2’s. In the slalom at Eldora, Ackerman was 21st and Setterberg was 32nd.Tuesday SSCV had another stellar day, with six in the top 15. Erika Ghent was fourth, followed by Cartmill in fifth. Wettlaufer was seventh and Christa Ghent eighth – first for J2’s. Raltson and Banner were 12th and 13th, respectively, while Ackerman (23) and Babcock (24) snuck into the top 25. Jamie Roberts was 42nd.

Forget about using early-season training to adjust to new equipment. Bobby Poehling, who switched to Dynstar right before the new year, seems to be pretty well adjusted to his new gear.Poehling won a slalom in Canada earlier this month, then opened up this week’s races at Beaver Creek with a giant slalom podium.”It’s been working out great for me,” Poehling said of the equipment switch. “I took a week break also, and went on vacation with my family to London.”Along with Poehling, SSCV’s Rett Smith (second) and Ross Herr cleaned up the podium at the slalom race in Red Mountain Resort in Mars, British Colombia.”That’s incredible,” said coach Craig Daniels. “And Will (Gregorak) won his first race.”In the previous day’s slalom, Gregorak, a J2, took first, while Smith, also an J2, was third and Poehling was fourth. Later in the week, Gregorak placed second in a giant slalom with Smith sixth and Herr eighth.On Jan. 6 in Eldora, Hunter Schleper, a J2 from Vail, moved all the way from the 66 bib to take second – his first podium in one of his first FIS races. Gregorak was right behind Schleper, and Poehling was fifth.Tuesday, Poehling grabbed third in a giant slalom that U.S. Ski Team’s Erik Fisher won.”It was a really strong field,” Daniels said.

Shane Collins was seventh, while Gregorak was ninth and Tim Cafe grabbed 11th. Bryan Shpall (18), Smith (20), Herr (26), Schleper (31), Kitt Flowers (36), Taylor Wettlaufer (42) and Drew Alexander (52) rounded out other locals.In Wednesday’s first super-G, Smith cracked into the top five, while Gregorak was just two places behind in seventh, and first among J2’s. Poehling and Cafe were eighth and ninth, respectively. Herr (17) and Schleper (23) were in the top 25, while Wettlaufer was 38th.Later in the day, SSCV had four in the top 10, with Poehling in fifth, Gregorak in eighth (first among J2’s), Collins taking ninth and Cafe in 10th. Herr was 15th and Schleper grabbed 18th.Today and Friday, the skiers will be training for a pair of downhill races this weekend.

This past weekend, SSCV skiers were in Steamboat for a Rocky Mountain Division mogul series.On the final day, the three women finished in the top six for the head-to-head dual moguls competition. Kristi Waring took second, Kelsey Teran was third and Ali Bathgate was sixth.”They just kept advancing,” said coach Brian Baker. “Anything can happen (in dual moguls). You just have to ski better than the person next to you on that run.”In Friday’s singles event, Andre Lane led the way on the men’s draw, putting together two of his best career runs to take eighth, and first among J2 skiers. Matt White landed five spots behind Lane. Simon Lee (43), Evan Claussner (58) and Corey Franklin (74) also raced.Teran led the women on Friday, with an eighth-place finish. Katherine James was 29th, while other racers include: Sara Ptasnik (36), Bathgate (38), Waring (42) Mikhaila Redovian (52) and Laura Leonard (59).Saturday, in the second singles race, Teran topped all SSCV athletes in fourth. Bathgate was 12th, followed by: Waring (26), James (29) Ptasnik (34) Redovian (49), Laura Leonard (55) and Morgan Houtsma (58).Dillion was the top male SSCV skier in 12th, with Lane (15) and Matt White (18) in the top 20. Lee (34), Charlie Procknow (43) Franklin (70) and Claussner (73) rounded things out.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.

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