SHS alpiners seek podium at state
As the Summit High School alpine team prepares for the alpine state championships at Beaver Creek, head coach Tory Hauser is fretting about a problem most coaches would love to have – racers that ski too fast.
“I am nervous,” he said. “It’s hard when you have guys that race this fast. There’s a greater chance of falling. But it’s the risk you take. We’re going to be competitive.
We have very good racers. They very easily can win, but they just as easily can blow up and not finish.”
Hauser’s fears are hardly unfounded. In nearly every race this season, a leading Summit skier has taken a fall resulting in a DNF or a low finish. The racers have taken more tumbles in the slalom than in the relatively slower GS, but the stakes are higher than usual in both events this weekend.
“If everyone does as well as they can, we’ll be almost guaranteed the state championships,” said senior Jordy Lynch.
If all the Summit skiers can stay upright, odds are that several of them will finish on the podium. For the boys team, Lynch and fellow senior Kyle Davis will be seeking top finishes in their final state championships. Davis established himself as a dominant skier in the season opener, when he smoked the competition at Breckenridge. Lynch is the only skier for the boys to post a state-qualifying finish in every single race, even from some weak starting positions.
One surprise standout this season is junior Gary Beresford. In meets at Gold Peak and Winter Park, Beresford was battling for first place when he fell on the course. After those falls, he went on to win the next three races in a row.
“I’m just going to go in for the win and go all out,” Beresford said.
Freshmen Taggert Spenst, Jeremy Eliot and Aaron Hogan are among the underclassmen who will be vying for top spots this weekend.
“Hopefully out of all our guys, six can finish,” Hauser said. “Maybe all of them can. We’re deep enough that our top eight guys can win.”
On the girls’ side, the racers are just as strong, but only three of them will be competing. Junior Tucker Burton and sophomores Shelly Miller and Lauren Turner will represent the Lady Tigers. A fourth qualifier, Kirstie Scott, is sidelined with an injury.
The low numbers may pose a challenge, but the girls’ team still expects to have a strong showing. In last year’s state meet, Burton won the GS, and Miller came in fourth in the same event. The girls will have to turn in solid performances again this year to challenge 2002 state champions Aspen.
“Aspen’s been doing really well, and they’ve been winning a lot of meets this season,” Burton said. “Hopefully, we can take the top three spots.”
Turner is competing in her first state championships, but after finishing seventh in the final regular season meet at Ski Cooper, she says she hopes to be competitive this weekend.
“My finishes are just getting better and better,” she said. “If everyone finishes as well as they can, we should do pretty well.”
Hauser said he’s happy with the girls’ performance this season, calling the skiers “rock solid consistent.”
After concentrating on individual finishes and personal goals all season, the Summit racers will have to turn their focus to overall team performance if they want to make a bid for this year’s state title.
“This is very different from other aspects of ski racing, and I really want them to be there for the team,” Hauser said.
The championships begin Friday on the Centennial run at Beaver Creek. The girls’ GS starts at 9:30 a.m., followed by the boys. The skiers will race a slalom Saturday.
Jonelle Lonergan can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 230, or at email@example.com.
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