Vail-area skiers excel at home meet |

Vail-area skiers excel at home meet

NordicVMS Woods 1 KA 01-23-10

VAIL, Colorado – The girls from Vail Mountain School dominated their home snow in a Nordic duathlon meet Saturday, placing four skiers in the top 10.

A stormstorm moved in at the Vail Nordic Center just as the girls’ race began, but the weather didn’t seem to faze the Gore Rangers.

“All of our girls skied well, but this weather was interesting,” said Lauren Zdechlik, who took first place in the duathlon, which combines the times of one classic race and one skate race. “It was difficult. All of us got so excited because it was sunny out, and we were like, ‘Yes!’ and right before we went outside, it started snowing. We’ve trained in it before, but it just adds another difficulty to it.”

Zdelchlik, a junior, had the top times among girls in both the morning classic race and the afternoon skate race. Her overall winning time was 33 minutes, 38 seconds.

Sally Ryerson of Vail Mountain School finished second overall with a time of 34 minutes. She was second in the classic race and third in the skate.

“It goes back to the summer and the spring, just the training and how you have to train all year long to do well,” Ryerson said. “l think training this much in the summer has allowed me to do that.”

VMS had many other standouts. Amelia Ortiz was fifth in both disciplines, and Bridget Moffet was sixth in both disciplines. Katie Scruggs was eighth in the classic and seventh in the skate. Betsy Batts was ninth in the classic and eighth in the skate.

“The girls did awesome,” said Vail Mountain School coach Collins Canada. “It’s such a pleasure to stand on the side and see finisher after finisher from our team in the top 10.”

The weather was much better for the boys’ freestyle race, where Vail Mountain School senior Sean Woods finished second to Summit County’s Tucker McCrerey.

McCrerey finished in 29 minutes, 16 seconds and Woods crossed the line in 29 minutes, 48 seconds.

Woods said he’d been feeling a bit under the weather lately, but wanted to perform well in his last race in Vail.

“I just put it all out there,” Woods said. “It was a tough race, and I didn’t do as well as I wanted, but it was still good.”

He was able to hold off Max Burnell fom the Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy, who finished four seconds behind Woods.

Canada said Woods will use his second-place finish as motivation for his upcoming races.

“I think he’ll probably be disappointed with second place but know he’ll take that and turn it around and just work harder for the next time,” Canada said.

Battle Mountain’s Christian Shanley was the top finisher in the classic portion of the duathlon, and was fourth in the skate.

“I’m happy with (the classic race),” Shanley said. “I went out with Seanie (Woods) and Tucker McCrerey and just kind of held in there with those guys, and, on the way back down in the flats, I was able to come around in front and held it.”

Among other top local finishers, Aleksei Horn from Battle Mountain was sixth in the classic and seventh in the skate. Ian Hamina of Vail Christian finished eighth in the classic and eighth in the skate. Andrew Zdechlik from VMS finished ninth in the classic and 10th in the skate.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or

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