Vail Valley’s Erika Ghent 10th at nationals giant slalom
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – You might remember Erika Ghent from such episodes as helping lead Battle Mountain to its first cross country state championship or being the school’s Senior Athlete Award winner in 2006.
Not much has changed for Ghent, now a red-shirt freshman at CU. She still is a competitor and a good one at that. The Edwards native finished 10th at the U.S. Alpine Championships giant slalom Tuesday on Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, N.Y.
Her youngest sister, Abby, was 21st, while Vail’s Sarah Schleper didn’t finish the first run. Olympic medalist Julia Mancuso won the race.
“Yeah, it was fun,” Ghent said. “The conditions were really challenging, but it was cool to do that.”
For Ghent, it was her best finish to date in an American national-championship race. She has a fourth in super-G (2008) and an eighth in GS (2207) at Whistler, British Columbia, in the Canadian championships – it’s common practice for racers to cross the border and participate in both.
A member of the CU team which finished second in the country recently, Ghent still hopes to climb onto the national team.
“Obviously, it’s always a goal,” she said. “I’m just taking a different route. I really wanted to ski for the University of Colorado and be part of a team.”
Ghent got off to great start in her first year of college racing and then had some ups and downs. The good news is that she put it all together at the NCAA Championships in Steamboat Springs, finishing sixth in the slalom as part of the Buffs’ going 5-6-7 in that event.
That earned Ghent, 21, second-team All-American honors in slalom this year.
As any athlete does, she’s been bouncing between college, FIS and Nor-Am races trying to lower her points. She’s been no stranger to podiums this year and won a FIS super-G on Jan. 23 in Winter Park.
By her estimation, this was Ghent fifth or sixth trip to nationals, so she wasn’t phased by skiing against Olympians like Schleper and Mancuso.
“I’ve been racing against girls on the national team for years,” Ghent said. “I’m not really star-shocked. They’re just people and competitors. Julia Mancuso is a competitor like me as crazy as that sounds.”
In other Ghent news, while Christa, who also skis for CU, is injured, Abby, the youngest of the Ghent sisters, who races for Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, took 21st.
“It’s really fun to ski with the youngest of the three Ghents,” Erika said. “She’s skiing really well. She made a few mistakes and could have done better, but it says something about how she finished even with those mistakes.
Ghent, Erika, that is, will have a few more races, but nationals were the final major races of the season. She’s got to get back to CU to continue her studies as an international-affairs major.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.