Slippery slopes at Steamboat slalom | VailDaily.com
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Slippery slopes at Steamboat slalom

Ian Cropp
Special to the Daily Members of the Vail Christian Nordic team relax after last Friday's race in Steamboat Springs.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – If any high school skiers took a run on the Birds of Prey slalom course during the World Cup, they might have been prepared for last Friday’s slalom race in Steamboat Springs.”It’s a hard hill for the first slalom of the year,” said Battle Mountain coach Simon Marsh. “The hill, unlike most of the hills, is water-injected to harden the snow, just like a World Cup course.”While there may have been a larger number of disqualifications for Vail Valley teams, there were still a good number of skiers who finished high enough to qualify for the state meet.”It was wild, and our kids were intimidated, but they did a pretty good job,” said Vail Mountain coach Liv Pierce.Battle Mountain skiers led with way, with three girls and two boys finishing in the top 20.The Huskies’ Anna Seibert had to straddle a gate to hold on for a seventh-place finish. Close behind were Jenny Banner and Kelly VanHee, who finished 11th and 12th, respectively.Rounding out the top-40 finishers for the Battle Mountain girls were Kate VanHee, 23rd; Nikki Matthews, 31st; Jamie Lee Roberts, 32nd and Jane Lettovska, 36th.For the Battle Mountain boys, Mitch Hendrick narrowly missed a top-10 finish by taking 11th place. Petey Moore placed 16th, while Wilder Heuga took 23rd and Blaze Heuga took 26th. The remainder of the top-40 finishers were football players Freddy Wickes (29th), Jamie Hijmans (30th) and Bart Cuomo (36th).Vail Mountain’s Mick Seeman had two solid runs to put him in 15th place. And Chris Woods, who finished 18th, had to hustle over to the Nordic race, where he placed 24th to keep him in the running for a Skimeister title.

“He held it in there (for his slalom run),” Pierce said. “He’s quite an athlete.”Other finishers for the Gore Rangers boys were Jens Kjesbo, 42nd, and Nick Wilhelm, 45th.Lucy Sackbauer was the highest finisher for the Vail Mountain girls, placing 35th, while teammates Christiana White and Kenzie Grant placed 44th and 49th, respectively.The Eagle Valley Devils were led by Hannah Nelson, 27th, and Nicole Luzckow, 28th. Kerstin Leary came in 41st place.Several Eagle Valley boys’ skiers missed gates, with Will James (40th) and Dan Batten (51st) finishing.The cutoff for state qualification, which has yet to be finalized for the Steamboat race, should fall somewhere around 40th place.After last week’s icy terrain, coaches and skiers are looking forward to Friday’s giant slalom in Loveland.”It’s not as difficult as Steamboat, and it’s a fun race,” Pierson said. Top finishes for Nordic skiers

When the Nordic race finally got under way, a hoard of Valley skiers skated to top-25 finishes.”The organization was a little sketchy,” said Battle Mountain coach Rich Houghton. “We had alpine and Nordic races on the same day, so we had to wait for Skimeister racers to come over.”With the boys warmed up and ready to go, the girls were then switched to go first. By the time the boys started, the sun was going down, and some of the skiers still weren’t positioned in the proper lanes.Amid the chaos, skiers competed on a course a bit different from the last race in Frisco.”It was fairly easy as far as Nordic courses go,” said Eagle Valley coach Glen Ewing. “But the ease of the course meant you had to have a good technique.”Vail Christian’s Molly McGee, who proved during the cross country season that she has great endurance, showcased her technique by earning a fourth-place finish.Battle Mountain’s Kendall Wilson led her team with an eighth-place finish, Vail Mountain’s Kaitlin Zdechlik finished in a team-high 12th place and Eagle Valley’s Ali Gulick topped all Devils’ girls in 21st place.In addition to Wilson, the Huskies qualified Michele Hiland (15th), Sammy McCoy (16th) and Lydia Houghton (22nd) for state. Morgan Wallace (28th), Lettovska (30th), Julia Burnett (33rd), Cindy Villegas (34th) and Julia Schorr (35) also raced well for Battle Mountain.Much like the Huskies’ Lettovska, Vail Mountain’s White raced over to the Nordic track, where she placed 24th.



Other top-40 finishers were Lettie Fickling (Vail Christian, 36th), Jessica Linder (Vail Christian 37th) and Caitlin Yarger (Eagle Valley 38th).On the boy’s side, Battle Mountain’s Charlie Coats placed 10th, with Valley skiers Tony Ryerson (Vail Mountain, 12th), Rob Fitz (Vail Mountain, 13th) and Kyle Simonette (Eagle Valley, 14th), following behind.Vail Mountain also had Woods in 24th, Blake Armstrong in 35th and Wes Batts in 37th.Also qualifying for state for Eagle Valley was Ethan Smith, who came in 20th. Teammates Sage Smith (32nd) and James McGoodwin (33rd) raced well.Battle Mountain’s Tyler Cole finished 26th.The teams will head to Eldora Saturday to race on a steeper freestyle course that should benefit well-conditioned competitors.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or icropp@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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