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Ski and Snowboard Club Vail races among Nordic elite in Utah

Ian Smith
ismith@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailySki and Snowboard Club Vail's Chris Woods, front, narrowly edges a fellow competitor at a race in Soldier Hallow, Utah.
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SOLDIER HOLLOW, Utah ” The Ski and Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) Nordic team went west last weekend and strong performances followed.

Competing in Soldier Hollow, Utah, the site of the 2002 Olympic Nordic races, SSCV raced for two days against some of the best competition west of the Rockies. Last Friday, SSCV skied in a sprint race followed by a skate race on Saturday.

SSCV’s Tony Ryerson went all out in the J1/OJ sprint qualifier on Friday. Ryerson, a senior at Vail Mountain, finished fourth in the 1-kilometer race with a time of three minutes, 3.99 seconds.

“To place that high at this race is huge,” SSCV coach Karl Hochtl said.

Conor Wallace, a senior at Battle Mountain, took 14th for SSCV after finishing in 3:08.48. Chris Woods (16th) and Sean Woods (23rd) both did well. Chris Woods finished with a time of 3:08.71. Rob Fitz (48th) and Ian Hamina (63rd) rounded out the SSCV skiers in the sprint race.

In the J2 men’s category, Christian Shanley was impressive in 17th place.

“Christian Shanley really made a huge statement,” Hochtl said. “He booked his ticket to junior nationals with that race. He’s really starting to come into his own right now.”

On the girls’ side, Kaitlin Zdechlik paced SSCV in 14th. Zdechlik finished with a time of 3:45.38. Jessica Linder wasn’t far behind in 18th.

Lauren Zdechlik (41st), Anouk Guilmineau (45th), Lettie Fickling (57th), Bridget Moffet (65th) and Betsy Batts (69th) all did well for SSCV.

Sally Ryerson led SCCV in the J2 category in 34th with a time of 4:18.51. Amelia Ortiz took 39th in the race.

SSCV continued its stellar weekend on Saturday. Wallace led the boys’ team in 16th place in the 15K skate race with a time of 39:52.1.

“Conor is really maturing as a racer,” Hochtl said. “He is starting to figure out the confusion that comes with a mass start race.”

Sean Woods was next for SSCV in 17th. Tony Ryerson (22nd) and Chris Woods (23rd) both finished in the top 25.

Shanley had another excellent day for SSCV in the J2 race. This time, he took 15th in 13:51.1.

In the girls’ J1/OJ race, Linder led SSCV in 20th place. The Vail Christian senior finished with a time of 31:38.1 in the 10K race. Kaitlin Zdechlik was less than two minutes behind Linder, claiming 34th.

Guilmineau (41st), Lauren Zdechlik (42nd) and Fickling (50th) all finished in the top 50.

In the J2 race, Sally Ryerson was 28th.

The SSCV Nordic skiers are back in action on Saturday at Devil’s Thumb for a high school qualifying race.

Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or ismith@vaildaily.com.


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