SSCV qualifies 14 J4 racers for Junior Olympics
CRESTED BUTTE – Crested Butte is known for its extreme skiing, but last weekend, Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s 11- and 12-year-old J4 alpine racers took it to the extreme on the race courses at the J4 Junior Olympic Qualifiers. In a repeat from last year, the club qualified 14 athletes for this year’s Junior Olympics after three days of intense racing. The Rocky Central Junior Olympics are slated for March 16-19 in Winter Park.In Crested Butte, the local J4s competed against Rocky Mountain Division racers from Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.
The three days included one super-G, two giant slaloms and two slaloms.Ski and Snowboard Club Vail will send the biggest contingent of girls in the division to Winter Park with eight local racers making the qualifying cut. Lizzie Seibert and Abby Ghent both landed on the podium. Seibert, after winning best crash in the super-G, bounced back after being X-rayed for broken bones to take third in a GS and third in slalom the next day. Ghent finished second in the GS. Marisa Ammaturo earned two top 10s with a fourth in a GS and 10th in a slalom. Tasha Wyatt and Sammie Watson each had top-15 finishes in super-G and GS. Mary Sackbauer, Kaytlyn Samuelson and Kim Newton earned personal bests with impressive finishes in all events. Morgan Houtsma, Shanna Zoch and Abby Dorfman also competed.
The local boys were just two shy of the mark set by their female counterparts, qualifying six racers. Cooper Cartmill earned silver and bronze in the two slaloms. Cannon O’Brien, who told his coach, “I think I’m going to do pretty well,” rocketed out of the 38th start position to finish 3rd in a slalom – a personal best.Andreas Calabrese earned 13th in a slalom and ninth in a GS. Dan Graebel, one of the youngest to compete, finished an impressive 11th in the super-G, and Ross Hallenbeck posted four top-20s, showing consistency in all five events. The final boy to qualify, Sean McCormick, was injured on the day before the event and was unable to race. His results prior to the qualifier were good enough to win him a discretionary appointment to the Junior Olympics. Charlie Barry, Clayton Vitek, Kyle Koenig and John McKenna raced to some strong finishes as well and were just barely out of the hunt for qualifying.
Athletes that did not qualify last weekend will have one last opportunity to do so at the Council Cup, scheduled for March 3-6 at Ski Cooper.Vail, Colorado