SSCV returns from J3 Junior Olympics with a bright future
A week of racing in Winter Park concluded with a bright future for Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s J3s – 13-year-old and 14-year-old – competitors.
With weather cooperating, the 12 SSCV athletes in the field of 160 got off to a flying start against the other teams from the Rocky Mountain and Central Divisions last Tuesday, starting with the downhill competition.
With the girls running first, Jenny Banner got things rolling with a fifth-place finish. Running from the 39th spot, Polly Babcock ended up placing 16th.
Anna Seibert suffered a knee injury in the finish during a training run and was unable to compete. However, she cheered her teammates on in the finish area.
The boys got things going next. Andrew Flowers pushed out of the start on his way to a third-place finish. D.J. Van Curran finished 28th and Frazier Cavness was the big mover on the day starting 90th and placing 37th. Kemper Fitzpatrick and Bryan Shpall also moved up 20 positions.
Wednesday was super-G day. With the conditions similar to Tuesday, the girls got things rolling again. Christa Ghent tore down the track to finish fifth, and Babcock, starting in 42nd, just missed the podium by finishing fourth. Banner and Kelly Van Hee each moved up 15 spots, also.
For the boys, it was Tony Seibert’s turn as he finished sixth. Shpall moved up 38 places to finish 26th and Cavness earned his 34th spot moving up from the 90th start position. Van Curan finished 33rd.
Thursday featured men’s giant slalom. With the women having a day off, it was time for the men to do their thing.
Starting from the No. 6-spot, Flowers soared down the track with the fastest time holding a 0.7 second lead. On his second run, though, he had a slight bobble which dropped him back to fourth. Shpall jumped into the top-15 with two amazing runs and Cavness once again showed his mettle, ending up in 18th after starting 90th.
Ghent and Babcock led the way in Friday’s girls’ GS. Ghent, starting 20th, worked her way into a fifth-place finish while Babcock finished eighth. Van Hee fell on her first run, but didn’t seem to regret it afterwards, saying to her coaches, “I did what you said and just went for it. It felt so good to be going that fast.”
In Saturday’s slalom, the boys finished off what was a dominating week-long performance. Flowers completed run one in fourth place, and before finishing seventh after the second run. Seibert put together a couple of solid runs to finish 10th, while Hendrix finished 20th.
The girls were up next, with Ghent and Babcock leading the way again. Ghent drew the 22nd start spot to finish 13th and Babcock starting 46th wound up 19th. Van Hee went from 55 to 26th put in another solid day.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.