The silver still belongs to Armstrong |

The silver still belongs to Armstrong

Shauna Farnell
Special to the Daily/Reid Williams Battle Mountain High School's Heidi Moore crashes through a gate on Keystone's Go Devil trail during Saturday's slalom portion of the Colorado State High School Skiing Championships.

BRECKENRIDGE – For a second, it looked as if Haleigh Armstrong’s state silver medal would be taken away from her.Armstrong, a senior at Vail Mountain School, posted the best result of any male or female, Nordic or alpine skier representing Eagle County in the Colorado State High School Skiing Championships Saturday.She crossed the finish line, polling furiously up the final uphill homestretch, to finish in a time of 18 minutes, 4.1 seconds behind front-runner Brittany Perkins from Summit (17:58.8).But when the initial results were posted, Armstrong’s name was on the disqualified list, after a course marshal reported that Armstrong was skating around a corner, something forbidden in a classic race.Armstrong said she was step-turning around the turn which had no tracks, and that “you’re allowed to push in areas where there aren’t tracks.”

In the end, the protest was overturned and Armstrong’s result was final: silver medal – the last of her high school Nordic racing career.”I felt pretty well recovered from (Friday’s) race,” said Armstrong, referring to Friday’s freestyle race, in which she also took silver. “My legs didn’t start hurting until the uphill finish. They just started hurting where it got steep. I just tell myself to push it through and then I’m done and I get to rest. In a mass start like this race, if you’re in the lead pack, you pretty much tag-team off the other people and you tuck in behind them so you can rest. People take turns in the lead.”Armstrong was part of that lead pack, which separated itself from the rest of the field by over a minute, for the entire race. “I think everybody started getting tired right before the uphill started,” she said. “I felt good. I’ve been on the podium every year.”Armstrong, who will compete in Junior Nationals in two weeks, helped Vail Mountain School finish fourth overall in the state girls team results. VMS tallied 554 points while Summit won with 656 points, and was followed by Steamboat with 627 and Aspen with 617. The Battle Mountain girls team finished fifth with 538 points and Eagle Valley took seventh with 375 overall. Courtney Robinson was also a significant contributor for VMS. She finished eighth while Jill Ewing put down the best result for Eagle Valley in 12th. Other top-30 finishers included Lani Bruntz and Elsie Macsata of VMS, who took 18th and 19th, respectively. Maddie Sullivan of VMS finished 21st, while Janelle Kibler-Silengo, Lauren Biegler and Z Warren from VMS took 25th, 26th and 27th, respectively. Also, Battle Mountain’s Molly McGee and Kendall Wilson finished 29th and 30th.

Battle Mountain puts two in slalom top 10KEYSTONE – After posting the best result in Friday’s giant slalom, Battle Mountain’s Andrea Knight continued her streak in Saturday’s slalom with a fifth-place finish in a two-run combined time of 1 minute, 32.3 seconds on two steep and turny courses on Go Devil trail at Keystone.Aspen’s Jenny Hearn took gold for the second day straight with a time of 1:28.3, while Steamboat’s Robyn Dye (1:29.8) took second and Priska Sorensen (1:30.7) third. “The second run course was definitely a little more rutted and turnier,” Knight said. “I think the main thing is to just fight and stay aggressive the whole time. You are getting thrown around, but you just have to fight it. I just went in thinking ‘Do the same thing as in giant slalom, have a smile on my face and finish well.'”Battle Mountain’s Kelly VanHee took ninth and Eagle Valley’s Nicole Luczkow finished 10th.

“The course was pretty tough,” Luczkow said. “It’s good because the bottom gates are so open so you can go fast. My strategy was just, ‘Go hard.’ I was just working on going fast.”Kate VanHee finished 17th for Battle Mountain and said she enjoyed the second run course much more than the first, but said both were longer and thus more difficult than anything her team is accustomed to training on.”The gates were pretty tight, but the steeps were definitely the most fun,” she said. “It keeps your body going down the hill, looking ahead. You just keep thinking about letting your skis go. It’s a bravery issue.”Lucy Sackbauer of VMS finished 21st. Rolena Richardson of Battle Mountain 23rd and Joely Denkinger and Katie Wear of VMS took 27th and 30th, respectively.Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism