Summit duo helps USA race to 6th in ski mountaineering team relay at Youth Olympics
Staberg takes 15th, Vaille 19th in sprint race
FRISCO — The competition element of the Youth Olympic experience wrapped up for Summit High School seniors Grace Staberg and Jeremiah Vaille after the final two ski mountaineering competitions in Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland, on Monday and Tuesday.
The ski mountaineering sprint competition course at the Lausanne 2020 Youth Winter Olympic Games was a short one that involved 80 meters of elevation change via an ascent on skins, an ascent by boot-pack hike and then a downhill-ski descent.
Staberg raced to 15th place — the top American finisher — at Monday’s sprint race. Staberg was seeded 12th after posting the 12th-fastest time of 3:53.25 in the seeding round.
Staberg just missed qualifying for the semis, with her quarterfinal time of 3:49.58 falling behind eventual gold-medalist Caroline Ulrich of Switzerland, eventual bronze-medalist Margot Ravinel of France and Ema Chepklova of Canada.
In the boys sprint competition, Vaille was seeded 18th after completing the course in 3:12.19 in the seeding round. He finished in 19th place overall and fifth in his quarterfinal group with a time of 3:05.73, which wasn’t good enough to qualify through to the semifinals. Rocco Baldini of Italy eventually won the gold medal with a time of 2:30.14.
At Tuesday’s mixed-gender relay, Staberg and Vaille joined forces with fellow American ski mountaineers George Beck and Samantha Paisley to race to sixth place among a dozen teams. The mixed relay featured a course with about 180 meters of elevation change, two ascents and two descents.
Team USA finished the course with a total time of 39:07, just behind fifth-place Germany (39:04) and about two minutes behind bronze medalist Spain (37:13). Switzerland won the competition with a time of 35:07, more than two minutes faster than silver medalist France (37:11).
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