Summit High Nordic, Summit Nordic Ski Club continue stellar seasons at Aspen races
Both the Summit High School Nordic ski team and the Summit Nordic Ski Club excelled at competitions in Aspen this past weekend, led by an individual victory by Tiger sophomore Tai-Lee Smith in the Aspen High School Open 5-kilometer classic race .
The event was one of the biggest in Colorado in the past couple of years, as hundreds of club and high school skiers from across the state converged in Aspen on Saturday and Sunday for the Raoul Wille Memorial Ski Race and the Aspen High School Open.
In the state high school competition, Smith completed the 5-kilometer classic course in 19 minutes and 39 seconds, well ahead of her nearest competitor in the 107-skier race. Smith was joined in the top-10 of the race by a pair of Summit High teammates in Noelle Resignolo (9th place, 21:19) and Aubree Confer (10th place, 21:21). The Tiger trio combined for 163 points to place Summit third of 14 teams in the team competition. In the boys and girls high school team’s competitions, the top-3 scores for each school count toward the team total.
For Resignolo, her top-10 finish continued her stellar senior campaign on the Nordic trails as, on Jan. 26 and 27, she won the 3-kilometer classic and 5-kilometer skate events at Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby. For Confer, it was her fourth top-15 finish of the season while Smith earlier this year took second place at the Jan. 12 5-kilometer classic race at Spring Gulch in Carbondale. The Tigers girls won the Spring Gulch competition over Aspen thanks to a pair of top-4 finishes from Smith and Resignolo while Confer finished in 12th place.
This past weekend in Aspen, the Tigers boys team saw a podium-placer in the 5-kilometer classic boys race, when senior Peter Haynes crossed the finish line in third place with a time of 16:25. The Summit boys team also had six more skiers finish in the top 20 of the 144-skier race in Aspen, including Quinn Weinberger (7th place, 17:08), Zach Smith (8th place, 17:18), Jack Jones (12th place, 17:36), Jacob Ammon (13th place, 17:53), Gray Wasson (16th place, 18:10) and Sam Haynes (17th place, 18:12).
The trio of Peter Haynes, Weinberger and Zach Smith combined for the 165-point team total that placed the Tigers boys team in second position in the 15-team high school competition, only behind the host Aspen (170 points).
The Tigers boys squad’s second-place finish in Aspen continued their run of success after winning the 3-kilometer classic race at Snow Mountain Ranch in late January. Summit was propelled to that win at Snow Mountain Ranch by a top-3 finish by Peter Haynes, and top-10 performances from Weinberger and Zach Smith. The Tigers boys team also finished in fourth place at the Snow Mountain Ranch 5-kilometer skate race that same weekend. And, earlier in January, the Summit boys finished in third place at the 5-kilometer classic race at Spring Gulch, led by Weinberger’s 10th-place finish.
The high school Nordic team is next scheduled to compete on Saturday at 10 a.m., in an individual skate race at the Steamboat Touring Center before the state championship in Durango on Feb. 21 (classic) and Feb. 22 (skate).
In the weekend’s club races, the Summit Nordic Ski Club continued their strong 2018-19 campaign with 17 podium spots over the two days of club skiing in Aspen.
Whether it was on Saturday or Sunday, many of the Summit Nordic’s athletes had personal best races, including several older skiers who officially punched their tickets to compete at this year’s Junior Nationals in Anchorage, Alaska. Summit Nordic skiers Alex Morano, Joana White and Resignolo all skied to their first podium finishes in Rocky Mountain Nordic club skiing races. Morano’s third-place finish on Sunday made it all but certain that he’ll be one of the top twelve U-16 boys to travel to Alaska for the Junior Nationals.
“In most cases it is several years of hard work and focus that is paying off,” said Summit Nordic head coach Olof Hedberg, “and it is great to see these athletes taking the step to new personal bests.”
Racing for Summit Nordic in the club competition, Jones and Wasson also improved their chances to qualify for the club-level Junior Nationals in Alaska. Jones finished in fourth and 10th places in club races over the weekend while Wasson finished in sixth and seventh places.
Competing for Summit Nordic in the club competitions, Tai-Lee Smith finished in sixth-place in the classic race and in seventh place in the freestyle race for U-16 girls. The performance secured Tai-Lee Smith her spot on the Junior Nationals team headed to Alaska. Summit Nordic’s Nina Schamberger had already qualified for the Junior Nationals team before she won twice in Aspen while racing up in the U-16 club competitions.
Other Summit Nordic athletes to finish on the podium in the club competitions included Will Bentley, Kiera Stabile and Carter Niemkiewicz in the U-12 races. Heidi Frey also finished on the podium in the U-10 competition. And Summit Nordic’s Maeve Niemkiewicz and Max Lerch podiumed in the U-8 competition.
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