‘A special thing’ Freestyle girls dominate
ASPEN – Heading over to Sunday’s Rocky Mountain Freestyle dual moguls competition at Aspen Highlands, Team Summit coaches John Dowling and Chris Carson joked about a longshot.”What if no one beat our girls but our girls,” they said in the van, though not really believing in the possibility. A few hours later, for all intents and purposes, it happened. Team Summit women swept the top six finish spots on the ultratight Highlands course, led by the victorious Sarah Ruckriegle and fellow podium-crackers Jordan Poyfair (runner-up) and Whitney Henceroth (third place).
Mikaela Matthews took fourth, Lane Stoltzner was fifth and Becky Miller skied to sixth. Paige Eggebrecht, the only Team Summit girl who didn’t make the top six, bowed out to Stoltzner in the head-to-head competition’s third round.”I’ve never seen this,” Dowling, who has been coaching freestyle skiing for more than two decades, said on Tuesday, still in disbelief mode.Despite the individual nature of freestyle ski competitions, Dowling said the Team Summit girls were able to share the day’s glory because they understood how rare their accomplishment was.
“Everybody wanted to win,” he said, “but that’s not the way contests are. They were all pretty psyched. They knew it was a special thing.”With the top six from Summit performing at a different level, the rest of the field was virtually helpless.”People skied hard against our girls,” Dowling said. “They could see something was happening, but they couldn’t do anything about it.”In some ways you almost feel a little bit embarrassed,” the coach added, “just because our kids were kicking so much butt.”
The day prior to the sweep, in the single moguls competition, Poyfair took second to Steamboat standout Cat Mader, leading five Team Summit women into the top eight spots. Miller finished fourth, Henceroth was fifth and Cheryl Pearson placed sixth. Stoltzner took eighth, while Eggebrecht skied to 14th on the strength of two straight career-best scores. The stellar results didn’t end with Team Summit’s girls, either. John Eaton, 21, finished second in Sunday’s duals event after eliminating No. 1 seed Jimmy Discoe of Telluride. Dowling said Eaton’s performance included the top moguls run of the weekend. “He skied amazingly,” Dowling said of Eaton, who finished fifth in Saturday’s singles competition.Justin Henceroth took fourth on Saturday and seventh on Sunday, with Sunday’s result including a knockout of Joe Discoe, the second-ranked moguls skier in the Rocky Mountain Division.
Stuart Coles and Riley Campbell tied for ninth for Team Summit in Sunday’s competition; Coles, a J3, knocked out one of the top seeds along the way, in what Dowling called the “upset of the day.”Eric Haywood (11th), Campbell (13th), Brandon Denker (15th), Coles (17th, first among J3s) and Bobby Brown (20th) all cracked the top 20 for Team Summit on Saturday.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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