McDonald wins GS title
VAIL When the Summit High School boys alpine ski team entered Thursdays giant slalom at the state meet in Vail, it was already faced with a daunting 21-point deficit.Needing to come up with something special to make up for their Nordic counterparts lackluster showing in a morning classic race, Summits alpiners swept the podium.It hasnt really kicked in yet, said giant slalom state champion Fletcher McDonald. But its a good feeling.McDonald, a senior who missed last years GS at the state meet, was followed by Zach Fretz and Brannan Sheely.The Tigers dominant showing on Golden Peak gave Summit a 10-point lead over Aspen heading into the second day of competition.I was gunning for top two, McDonald said. I knew it would be between me and Fretz.I like to see us do well as a team all together, said Fretz of the Tigers, who placed six racers in the top 10. Thats what its all about at this level, its not so much about the individual (awards), but it is sweet to get the individuals.Weve never come close to anything like that (at the state meet), fifth-year SHS coach Tory Hauser said. I knew they could do it, but its still hard to do.Fretz said he wasnt overly concerned when he heard about his teams sizable deficit.We expected it, Fretz said. Weve heard that the Nordic team is not that strong this year, so we knew we had to come out strong, but I dont think that really made our approach different. It would be better if we all just came out here with the same approach for every race.They just ski the way theyre skiing, Hauser echoed. They dont care if theyre up or down, it doesnt affect their plans at all thats how good they are.McDonald, who held a .35-second lead over Fretz after the first run, could afford to take a more conservative approach the second time down.I wanted to make sure I finished, McDonald said. I havent had too much luck with my second runs lately.I never like to be in first after place after the first run, Fretz said. Its better to be shooting for something.Fretz, who was absent from last years state GS, seemed happy to have his team lumped in with the Nordic boys team for postseason competition.I like the format, he said. I think it makes it even more of a team thing. I didnt know many of the Nordic kids until we were out here skiing together.Just as the afternoon was all Summits, the morning belonged to Aspen, which swept the Nordic podium.Noah Hoffman was the winner by a 51-second margin over Scott Lacy, who was 30 seconds ahead of Ryan Waldron.Tyler Reinking finished sixth to lead the Tigers, who finished with 156 team points behind Aspen (177) and Vail (165).I think I went out a little bit hard, Reinking said. I was tired that whole second lap. I wasnt getting good kick, which is a sign that my technique was going downhill as I got tired. … We know that we want to win state and Aspen is really tough right now, so we all went out there trying to kill it.Tom Sawyer (14th) and Alan Harrington (16th) also scored for the Tigers.Harrington, who was visibly exhausted after the race, said he also went too hard at the outset.I dont know how everyone else felt, Harrington said. But I kind of felt like I wasnt quite prepared enough for this race. … Hopefully well all be ready to win tomorrow.SHS coach Gene Dayton spoke to Thursdays difficult course conditions.Everyone had to face the same problem in the sense that the new snow was soft, Dayton said. A lot of athletes took it out too fast thinking it was going to be an easier course and spent themselves without relaxing into that first lap. When your skiing in new snow, it takes it out of you.Summit (333 total points) will look to extend its lead over Aspen (323) and Middle Park (273) in todays slalom and skate races, set for 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-4634, or at email@example.com.
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