Confident MacDonald surprises to win boys GS
KEYSTONE – Tanner MacDonald had said it before, but this time he meant it.Two days after telling Summit High School alpine ski coach Tory Hauser he thought he could win the giant slalom at the state championships, MacDonald did just that on Friday, capturing the individual title by an astounding margin to key a surprising showing from the Tigers, especially on the boys side.MacDonald posted both of the day’s fastest runs en route to beating his closest competition, Middle Park’s Spencer Woolwine, by 1.31 seconds (2 minutes, 17.72 seconds to 2:19.03).”When he told me he could win, he wasn’t kidding. I could tell,” Hauser said. “He said that to me once before, and I think he was trying to make himself believe it. But there’s a difference when someone really believes it. He believed it.”
MacDonald’s win came as somewhat of a surprise – even to him, despite his prerace confidence – considering his best finish in two regular-season GS races was seventh. But there was no stopping him on his home training hill – Keystone’s ultrasteep and intimidating FIS course, Go Devil.”I did not expect to win at all,” he said. “I didn’t think I’d ski this fast.”MacDonald, a junior, led three Summit boys into the top seven, a thrust that Hauser motivated in large part by saying he didn’t think his boys were as good as his girls.Senior Josh Stuhr took sixth and freshman Zach Fretz skied to seventh for Summit, tying the boys with Aspen (169 points) for the GS team win.”It made us angry,” Stuhr said of Hauser’s comments.
“Saying we don’t have a chance, it just makes us want to prove him wrong,” MacDonald added. “It totally motivated us in the right way. I don’t know, maybe that’s what he was going for.” Were it not for a late second-run mishap by junior Katie Hartman, the Tigers would have swept Friday’s individual titles. Hartman, the GS runner-up last year and a heavy favorite to win on home snow, took a two-second lead – an enormous margin for a course of that length – into her final trip down Go Devil. But she caught an edge with five gates to go on the steep north-facing pitch and missed a gate.”I was going too fast, I don’t know,” Hartman said after the race. “Nothing you can do about it. It’s racing. Ski racing at its finest.”Aspen’s Jenny Hearn took advantage of the slip to win the girls GS crown, but the Lady Tigers still stood atop the team standings thanks to three skiers in the top 10. Summit’s 161 points beat Aspen’s 155.Senior Shelly Miller clinched her fourth straight all-state distinction by finishing fifth for Summit, despite fighting the flu for the past week. Freshman Chelsey Fretz matched her twin brother Zach with a seventh-place finish of her own, and another freshman, Laurel Broten, took 10th to round out Summit’s scorers.
Riley Gage (11th), Erin Breslin (16th) and Jenna Sheely (17th) gave Summit’s deep girls team six of the top 17 finishers on Friday.Tanner Bardin (16th), Brannan Sheely (18th), Fletcher McDonald (23rd), Jason Chrobak (28th), Zach Wade (29th), Drew Hauser (32nd), Andrew Otto (33rd), Mark Miller (37th) and Kevin Coleman (40th) made it 12 SHS skiers in the top 40.Finish line: MacDonald, Hartman and Bardin all left right after Friday’s race to drive to Telluride for a J2 Junior Olympics qualifier that will help their seeding at the national races in March … Athena Brownson, a Blue River resident who attends Vail Mountain School, finished fourth in the girls GS … Evergreen edged Aspen by a point, 155-154, to finish second on the girls side … Steamboat took third in the boys team standings with 144 points.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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