Vail Valley Nordic racers shine in regular-season Nordic finale |

Vail Valley Nordic racers shine in regular-season Nordic finale

Vail Mountain High School Nordic team member Tucker Cocchiarella competes in a high school skate race Thursday at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Local Nordic skiers had some eye-popping performances in the Nordic regular-season finale Thursday in a freestyle up in Steamboat Springs.

While some notable local names were sitting the last qualifier out because they were at a club competition last weekend in Soldier Hollow, Utah, Vail Mountain’s Sally Ryerson was third in the girls’ race while Vail Christian’s Ian Hamina took bronze in the boys’ race followed by Eagle Valley’s Casey Kerrigan in fifth.

Ryerson’s performance was especially remarkable given that she did compete last weekend with Ski and Snowboard Club Nordic in Utah, but still had enough gas in the tank to finish third.

“I did feel tired today,” Ryerson said. “But it’s been great just being this busy. The hardest thing is keeping up with school work. Other than that, it’s great.”

Ryerson finished in 26 minutes, 55.80 seconds, 35 seconds off Middle Park’s Samantha Berggen’s pace.

Ryerson was the only VMS racer in the girls’ race, but fear not. The Gore Rangers should be very strong at state with their “Big Three” of Lauren Zdechlik, Ryerson and Amelia Ortiz at Keystone.

“We’re just going to keep going,” Ryerson said. “I think it will be a bit of an easier week, regarding training.”

There is no rest for the weary, as well, when it comes to Hamina. The Vail Christian athlete is attempting to become the first Saint to win the Skimeister Award, competing in both alpine and Nordic.

Hamina clocked a 16:54.61, and gets to ski in today’s giant slalom at Golden Peak.

Kerrigan burst into the top-10 with fifth in 17:22.02. Vail Christian’s Eric Gallagher easily made the state cut in 20th place – 28th did it for Keystone for the boys – taking 10th (18:42:23).

The state meet is Feb. 18-19.

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