Some rest, and a few easy wins
VAIL – Racing all winter takes a toll on the body.So every once in a while, resting up isn’t the worst idea. For Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes, a Sunday and Monday off the hill is plenty.Last week, after weeks of training and weekends of racing, the SSCV alpine kids took some time to train before the final push of winter races.And along the way, SSCV stood tall on the top of the podium during a string of Smartwool Series races at Vail.To start off the series, SSCV’s Ross Herr and Rett Smith went 1-2 in a slalom.”They were the class of the field,” said Mike Womack, SSCV coach. “Ross had two excellent runs and Taylor Wettlaufer (third in J3’s) had a really fast second run and moved way up.”We’d just come off a really grueling schedule, being in Europe and then going right to Telluride.”Herr and Smith went 1-2 among J1’s later in the weekend on the first of two super-G races.”It’s funny – it seems like if Ross or I have a good day, the other has a good day,” Smith said.
“It’s always good to have Ski Club Vail kids at the top,” Herr said.Local racer Cooper Cartmill was sixth in a super-G, tops among J3’s and then eighth in a giant slalom, also best for his age group.Wettlaufer had a great week, with a second, third and two fourths among J2’s, while Andrew Cryer, Alexander Drew and David Graebel also had good showings.For the J3’s, James Britvar led the way with four top-five finishes among his class, followed by Andreas Calabrese and Andrew McCormack.In the final super-G race, Bryan Schpall was second for J1’s, while Cameron Kullas had a great race for 10th in his class.On topAt the very least, Georgia Wettlaufer thought she’d get some good training at the Smartwool.”We hadn’t trained a lot of super-G since December, so it was nice to get back on that, and we had some full-length (giant slalom) racing,” Wettlaufer said.Wettlaufer didn’t suffer from a lack of super-G training, as she won both races, and then took second in a giant slalom, and first among J1’s.
Although the competition at the Smartwool races wasn’t that of most FIS races, Wettlaufer was happy to have done well.”We got our confidence back, and it was a lot of fun,” Wettlaufer said.As one of the top J1 racers, Wettlaufer is still on the fence as far qualifying for U.S. Nationals.”There’s a pretty good chance – hopefully I’ll get in,” she said.Jenny Banner also had a good weekend, taking third among J1’s in the slalom and second in a super-G. Among the J2’s, Megan O’Connor finished in fifth, seventh and 11th twice, while Jamie Lee Roberts was fourth in a slalom and super-G. For the J3’s, Abby Ghent was in the top 10 for all races in her class, and was on the podium for the slalom. Marisa Ammaturo was second and sixth in the J3 class, while Kaytlyn Samuelson had two fifth-place finishes in the same class.The boys will be in Steamboat starting Thursday for four tech races this weekend, while the girls will be in Winter Park.FreestyleThe SSCV Freestyle team finished up competition at the Junior Olympics in Steamboat Sunday with Ali Bathgate taking fourth in dual moguls.
“That’s a big result for her,” said SSCV program director Brian Baker. “She beat some higher-seeded girls than her.”With the list of riders invited to nationals finalized, SSCV will be sending its most athletes ever – four in halfpipe and five in moguls.Tony Seibert, Tyler Stripp, Brian Johnson and James Leonard qualified in the halfpipe, with all but Stripp, who is injured, set to compete.For moguls, Bathgate, Kristi Waring, Heidi Kloser and Kelsey Teran are going to nationals on the girls’ side, while Matt Dillon became the first guy out of SSCV to qualify.Of the 95 kids in the SSCV Freestyle program, almost two-thirds are under the age of 13, Baker said.”We have a good wide base to draw from,” Baker said. “We’re finally starting to see kids who we were working with in 7th and 8th grade maturing and we’re seeing some results.”Nationals begin March 22nd with halfpipe and finish up the 25th.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or email@example.com.