Perkins repeats as freestyle state champ |

Perkins repeats as freestyle state champ

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Brittany Perkins skates hard to the finish passing Vail Mountain School's Haleigh Armstrong Friday afternoon in the 5K skate race at the Nordic ski championships at Gold Run Nordic Center. The Summit High junior Perkins beat Armstrong by 15 seconds to win her second straight freestyle state title.

BRECKENRIDGE – Brittany Perkins is still the best.Friday at the Gold Run Nordic Center, the junior Perkins easily won her second straight Nordic freestyle state title for the Summit High School girls Nordic team, finishing the interval start 5K skate race in 16:02.2 minutes, 15 seconds faster than second-place Haleigh Armstrong of Vail Mountain School. “I can’t believe it,” Perkins said. “I was a little worried while I was out there because I was feeling really tired. But I wanted it so bad, I couldn’t make myself slow down.”Perkins, who donned eye black instead of sunglasses, anchored the Tiger girls to the overall team lead after the first day of the two-day state championships. Nordic results are combined with alpine results to determine the overall state champion.

Perkins’ younger sister, freshman Briana, finished in 17:10.7 and placed fifth despite falling on a downhill curve. “It was a bad fall,” Briana Perkins said. “I lost 10 seconds, maybe.”The younger Perkins was frustrated with her finish, and plans to do better today. “I can take my anger from today, and use it tomorrow,” Briana Perkins said after the race. “I think I’ll do better.”

Brittany Perkins credits her younger sister for giving her extra motivation during the race.”I was remembering two things in the race: One, every second counts, and two, beat my sister,” Brittany Perkins said. Shannon Sonnett was Summit’s third fastest girls skier. Sonnett finished 11th in 18:25.4, after skiing what she called her “best race of the season.””I had an awesome race,” Sonnett said. “I was really pumped out there. We got our spirit going and had a lot of fun today.”On the boy’s side, Steamboat senior Mike Gleason is the newest freestyle state champion, but his win was by a much smaller margin than Perkins’. Gleason beat out Breckenridge’s Taylor Sheldon of Vail Mountain School by 1.1 seconds.

“When I crossed the line, it was as big a shock to me as anybody,” Gleason said. “This was my last high school skate race, so I decided to go out there and see what I can do.” Gleason is hoping to continue skiing in college, but hasn’t decided where he wants to go.”I haven’t gotten a ton of offers, but maybe after today I will,” he said.Patrick Neel was Summit’s top boys finisher, placing fifth. Neel navigated the hilly course 15.7 seconds slower than Gleason’s winning time of 13:58.4 minutes. Kevin Soller was Summit’s second highest finisher, crossing the line with the seventh fastest time (14:37), while Matt Bowers, Summit’s third best skier on Friday, finished 13th (15:23.4).

“We have to do a little better (today) if we want to win,” Neel said. “There’s a lot better skiers this year.”The Nordic state championships continue today at 3:30 p.m., with a 5K mass start classic race. Summit coach Tom Sain is looking forward to the contest.”It’ll be interesting because the skiers will know right where they are the whole time,” Sain said. “Their competition will be right next to them, and hopefully behind them.”Andy Frame can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at

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