Vail’s Byrne double dips at JOs
VAIL, Colorado Meet Conor McDonald and Greta Byrne, your 2008 Junior Olympics king and queen of speed.On Wednesday, both racers won the J3 Rocky/Central Junior Olympics super-G at Vails Golden Peak one day after they won their respective downhill races.Ski & Snowboard Club Vails Byrne crushed the field Wednesday, coming in with a time of 54.57 seconds. Buck Hills Madeline Wiltgen was second at 56.13, with SSCVs Kaytlyn Samuelson was third at 56.35.I just went for it, and what happened, happened, Byrne said. It felt really good.Byrne, who would have been second among the guys Wednesday and had the fastest downhill training run among all racers Sunday, enjoys coming in ahead of nearly all the boys.That feels good, too, she said. (The guys) tell me, You chicked me.Both Byrne and McDonald, who skis with Team Summit, have some pretty good credentials when it comes to technical skiing they competed at last months famed Topolino Games in Italy.McDonald finished Wednesdays race in 54.21, one spot ahead of SSCVs Sean McCormick (55.15). Ausblicks Eric Rasmussen was third (55.36). In Tuesdays downhill, McDonald edged McCormick by a slim 0.06 seconds and then put himself at a slight disadvantage for Wednesdays super-G while tuning his skis Tuesday night.I was doing a few passes with a file, and the file slipped, and I had to get eight stitches because I got a huge cut on my hand, McDonald said. I had to tape my hand to my pole (Wednesday) because I couldnt really grip my pole. … I was a little worried about going out of the start because thats where the pole comes in.McDonalds fear wasnt unfounded.Right as I did a first push, I felt one of the stitches rip out, and I just gritted my teeth and kept pushing, McDonald said. Im two-for-two right now, so hopefully I can do it again in the giant slalom and slalom.McDonald wasnt the only skier competing with an injury. Samuelson fractured her tibial plateau 21⁄2 weeks ago at a race in Steamboat Springs.It felt like I snapped it in half, she said of her leg. Its still fractured, but its gotten better.Samuelsons coaches held her out of Tuesdays downhill.Today was good for the first time racing in 21⁄2 weeks. I had five days to prepare for JOs and a day of super-G training. I was taking it easy and just hopped in today.Samuelson had the fastest time after her first split but made a mistake several gates from the finish.I got low and I thought I was out of the course, and everyone else thought I was out, but I made it down, she said.
While not the heaviest skier out there, McCormick found great lines in both speed races to lead the SSCV boys.Im feeling really good, he said. Ive had some bad luck with a couple falls, so Im really excited about these results. (Technical events) are probably my best considering Im small, so Im really looking forward to that.Rasmussen was also pretty happy with his performance in speed he was fifth in Tuesdays downhill considering his home mountain in Sussex, Wis., isnt know for being a downhill or super-G mecca.We have 175 feet vertical, so it would be like three (super-G) gates, said Rasmussen, who attended a speed camp at Copper earlier this season. Its definitely really exciting for someone from Central (Division).Buck Hill where former Ski & Snowboard Club racer Lindsey Vonn starter her career did quite well despite having little vertical with which to work. Wiltgen led four Buck Hill girls in the top 12 on Wednesday.But the SSCV girls, who had four in the top 10 on Tuesday, topped all teams with four in the top 10 again Wednesday. Kimberly Newton was sixth for the second day in a row, while Isabelle Zaik-Hodgkins took ninth. On the boys side, SSCV had four in the top 15, with Dan Graebel tied for seventh, Zachary Zilokowski tied for 13th and Christoph Niederhauser in 16th. Zilokowski was ninth in Tuesdays downhill.Newton, racing with the 42 bib, jumped a considerable number of spots for the second day in a row and was in the top seven for both downhill training runs.Since we were on spring break (at Vail Mountain School), I was training all last week, and I think I had a breakthrough and got a lot better. Ive been wanting it really bad, she said. This gives me a lot more confidence (for next season).As has been the case all week, racers enjoyed near perfect snow conditions Wednesday.The conditions on the course were great, Samuelson said.During the boys race, the wind gusted, but conditions seemed to be the same for all competitors.The U.S. Ski Teams Resi Stiegler, who is recovering from injuries, was on hand to present awards to the top finishers. Racing continues today with a ladies giant slalom.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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