Skiers get redemption at Junior Olympics in Vail
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” Sunday turned into a day of redemption at the J3 Junior Olympics.
Four athletes who never saw the finish during Saturday’s downhill came back a day later to reach the podium in the super-G on Golden Peak in Vail.
Aspen’s Bobby Moyer and Buck Hill, Minn.’s Paula Moltzan overcame the bumps and bruises to claim top honors. SSCV’s Katharine Irwin and Anthony Romano also rebounded from falls to both finish third.
“It still hurts pretty bad,” Moyer said after his winning run. “I just wanted to come out here and redeem myself. I knew if I finished, I probably could have won yesterday. I just wanted to continue on today.”
It was another banner day for SSCV. While they didn’t win either the boys’ for girls’ titles, it placed four skiers on the podium for the second-straight day. Still, it was Moyer and Moltzan who shined brightest on the sun-splashed course.
Walking with a noticeable limp in the finish area, Moyer blocked out the pain during his speedy run. Despite head, hip and back discomfort, Moyer raced down the course in 56.20 seconds.
“I skied really tentatively and conservative,” Moyer said. “I made sure I made it down.”
Either way, it was enough to edge a pair of SSCV skiers. Braun, who won the downhill Saturday, ran a clean run to finish just behind Moyer in 56.84.
“It was good,” Braun said. “I think I over skied it a little bit in places. Overall, I thought my run was really good.”
The impressive performances didn’t stop there. Romano, another victim of Saturday’s downhill, crossed the finish line in 57.19 for third.
“That’s great for him,” SSCV coach J.J. Jensen said. “It’s not a surprise. He’s a great skier. He got after it. He skied aggressively.”
SSCV showed off its depth from there. Alex Leever ripped down the course in 57.81 for fifth place. Thomas Grant sprinted into seventh place in a time of 58.08.
Nick Santaniello (17th) and Greycody Johns (20th) both claimed spots in the top 20. Brinton Barry and Thomas Walsh tied for 27th for SSCV.
“These guys are racing and competing against each other every day, which elevates their ski racing,” Jensen said.
Moltzan, Irwin conquer Golden Peak
On Saturday, Golden Peak got the best of Moltzan and Irwin. They returned the favor on Sunday.
In a three-way battle for first, Moltzan nipped SSCV’s Celine Guilmineau and Irwin. The three racers provided the most entertainment of the day in their dual for first.
“Paula is an incredible skier,” Jensen said. “She was the fastest skier today, and I was glad to see her win.”
Moltzan, a Minnesota native, was the first of the trio to fly down the course. She crossed the finish line with a sizzling time of 57.11.
Guilmineau followed Moltzan three skiers later, and nearly won her second-straight event after taking Saturday’s downhill crown. She finished 0.12 seconds behind Moltzan with a time of 57.23.
“Celine was right there with her,” Jensen said. “She was 0.12 seconds behind and she made a small mistake toward the finish.”
If not for a slight bobble around one of the last gates, Irwin could have won the title. Irwin’s aggressive style still netted a strong third-place finish.
“I was really determined,” Irwin said. “It’s my home hill. I wanted to show what I had.”
Great Lake, Mich.’s Alex Gencheff (fourth) and Aspen’s Julia Mueller-Ristine (fifth) were the only skiers to finish in less than 1 minute.
“(The key) was more of keeping my line tight and staying forward and keeping after the course,” Irwin said.
SSCV’s Eva Spaeh finished 17th in a time of 1:01.90.
The girls’ giant slalom is next on the schedule for the Junior Olympics. The first run starts at 10 a.m. on Golden Peak with the second run at 1 p.m.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.