State’s elite gather in Summit | VailDaily.com
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State’s elite gather in Summit

Daily file photo Eagle Valley's Kyle Green will represent the Devils in both the giant slalom and slalom at the 2005 state ski meet this weekend.
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SUMMIT COUNTY – The alpine portion of the 2005 state skiing meet is going to be held on Go Devil at Keystone. Perhaps a sign for success for Eagle Valley?The Nordic races are at Gold Run in Breckenridge. That’s got to be good for the black-and-gold-clad Huskies. Right? And the Ten Mile Range is within spitting distance of the Gore Range. A portent for the Vail Mountain School?Omens and luck are just about as good a way of predicting what will happen at the 2005 Colorado High School State Skiing Championships. It’s four races – giant slalom and Nordic freestyle Friday and slalom and classic Saturday – in two days. Anything can happen and almost always does.”In a state race, anything can happen – good, bad or ugly,” VMS Nordic coach Karl Hochtl said. He should know as a Skimeister at Battle Mountain in the 90s.

After 12 races in the four disciplines as a prelude in the regular season, these are the ones that count. In a span of 48 hours, favorites can pop a ski and tumble or an unknown can emerge.Get out your Ouija board or your horoscope as we stake a look at the 2005 state ski meet.VMSThe word in East Vail is Nordic. There are 78 kids in the upper school at Vail Mountain, and 14 of those student-athletes qualified for state. And that’s without Sylvan Ellefson who’s skiing in Norway this week.Haleigh Armstrong is a definite contender to win the whole shooting match for the girls. She leads a deep girls’ contingent of Courtney Robinson, Lani Bruntz, Z Warren, Maddie Sullivan, Jannelle Kibler-Silengo, Lauren Biegler and Elsie Macsata. Karlie Moore also qualified, but will be unable to compete because she is attending to family matters. All are qualified in both disciplines.

The Gore Rangers boys team is led by Tito. How Taylor Shleden got that nom de ski we’ll never know. Shelden, Brad Bingham, Bobby LeGaye and Chris Woods are also qualified in both classic and freestyle. Blake Armstrong will be competing in skate.”We’re definitely thinking of posting some strong results,” Hochtl said. “Perhaps top three if things go well. Haleigh has chance to medal. Courtney Robinson has a realistic chance of being top 10. Brad has a realistic chance of medaling in classic and Tito can medal or win the freestyle if everything goes well.”On the alpine side, Liv Pierce can call upon Drew Riley, Mick Seeman, David Deline, Chris Woods and Axel Spaeh on the boys’ side. For the VMS ladies, it’s Lucy Sackbauer, Joely Denkinger, Katie Wear, Athena Brownson, Christiana White and Kenzie Grant.”I’m just hoping to get lucky on the seeding,” Pierce said. “We want to run early. The team’s technique is solid, We’re hoping to block up the top-15.”Battle Mountain

The Huskies are sending a phone book to Summit. The Benysh Bunch is 29 members strong.The Skimeister watch is on for the crew from Eagle-Vail. Grant Stevenson, a runner-up last year, is in the running as is Jane Lettovska. They’ll find out at Saturday’s awards ceremony.In Nordic, Stevenson has a gold from the regular season and is a threat this weekend. Also look out for Molly McGee and Lettovska. On the alpine side, keep an eye on Kelly VanHee, Heidi Moore and Lettovska.Now, take a deep breath before reading this list. The Battle Mountain boys are Kyle Bruntz, Charlie Coats, Tyler Cole, Bart Cuomo, Alex Dangler, Andy Given, Wilder Heuga, Jamie Hijmans, Stevenson and Freddy Wickes.Now, take another deep breath.

The girls are Whitney Allard, Natalie Baldwin, Paige Bennett, Julia Burnett, Michelle Hiland, Jenna Hughes, Andrea Knight, Jordan L’Heureux, Lettovska, McGee, Samantha McCoy, Moore, Rolena Richardson, Rebecca Richardson. Jamie Roberts, Josie Sutner, Kate VanHee, Kelly VanHee and Kendall Wilson”You never know who stands up (in alpine),” Kathryn Benysh, director of Battle Mountain skiing, said. “We have an extremely young team and just a handful of seniors. I’m just hoping that they have a positive experience, a learning experience. I want them to come away jazzed and wanting to improve.”Eagle ValleyEagle Valley Nordic coach Glen Ewing has some intriguing talent. His daughter Jill leads the way for the Lady Devils. She’ll be racing in both disciplines. Jessica Medsker and Haley Didier will be running the classic.”For Jill, I’m looking for top four if she has a really good race,” the coach said. “She should be in the top seven as she has been during the regular season. Since she’s the only one in skate, I’m looking for 55 points from her and to get her all-state.”

James Ewing, Kyle Simonett (coming off appendicitis) and the Gamble brothers – Alex and Brad – will be in both races. Ben Rogers hits the snow Saturday in classic.Hanna Nelson, Nicole Luczow and Kerstin Leary will be on the hill for GS and slalom. Toss in Bryonny Hiland and Kelsey Elwood in slalom. On the boys’ side, Kyle Green leads the way. Chris Brandl and Will James will be slaloming.”It’s a pretty steep hill,” Devils alpine coach Cappie Green said. “There’s a straight fall line, but it’s pretty narrow with a steep pitch. We went over and trained last week. We’re ready.”Let the racing begin and bring you Ouija board.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 614 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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