SHS boys win state skiing title, girls take second
EAGLE COUNTY – Skiing is an individual sport, but when it comes to the Colorado State High School Ski Championships, racers must look out for their teams.
Although individuals made it happen, the Summit High School Nordic and Alpine boys teams came together to win the state ski title, and the girls teams united to take second.
With point totals from alpine giant slalom and slalom and Nordic classic and freestyle, the boys won the state title with 678 points to beat Aspen, which took second with 672. Aspen’s girls won state with 644 points, while Summit girls took second with 631.
“It was very close between Summit and Aspen,” said SHS Nordic assistant coach Gene Dayton. “We’re definitely proud.”
Many of the SHS boys struggled with their slalom race at Beaver Creek. The team’s star skier Kyle Davis didn’t compete as he wasn’t qualified for slalom, and top skiers Gary Beresford and Jordy Lynch blew out on their runs. Freshman Taggert Spenst however, came through to take second place behind Aspen’s Packy Westfeldt, who won the race with a finish time of one minute, 27.78 seconds. Spenst finished in 1:28.80.
“I skied well today,” Spenst said. “I was really pleased. My goal was to score top five. I felt pretty good. I always get the jitters before every race. Usually I tell myself now or never. I try to think about what I do, and say “now or never’ and just go.”
Despite breaking a pole, missing a gate, and having to hike back up to it, Beresford still took ninth. Aaron Hogan took 12th and Tim Boulay 14th.
“Nobody wants to break a pole and hike,” Beresford said. “The course had a lot of soft snow on it. It was hard to ski fast.”
Skiing faster than the rest, Tucker Burton won the girls slalom with a finish time of 1:32.2, beating Aspen’s Gillian Hearn, who finished in 1:33.5. Summit’s Shelly Miller came through to take fifth and Lauren Turner took 20th.
Burton, who is accustom to competing in NorAm and international fields, said the team element is what sets apart the high school state races.
“It’s different because it’s the whole team,” Burton said. “You can’t just worry about your own results. It’s good because it’s good team sportsmanship.”
After racing at Beaver Creek, the SHS alpine team brought its cow bells to the Vail Nordic Center to cheer on its crosscountry counterparts.
Josh Dayton had Summit’s top Nordic result, taking second, 31 seconds behind Aspen’s Simi Hamilton to finish the 5-kilometer skate course in 21:52.5. Pete Richmond wasn’t far behind, taking fourth in 22:15.2. Kyle Ahern finished seventh, Patrick Neel 11th and Kevin Soller 19th.
“Everyone’s pretty happy,” Richmond said. “It really helps because, we always have a third-place guy each day. Kyle and I could have done better, but we still won state. We can’t be too sad about it.”
Steamboat Springs won the girls state freestyle race, but Meredith Gilliland had the top result for Summit, taking fourth. Ali Kreamelmeyer came through to take 10th, and Brittany Perkins finished in the middle of the pack in blustery, white-out conditions.
“Hats off to the girls for racing at all,” said SHS Nordic coach Marty Gervais. “It was terrible – the roughest conditions we’ve had, but they toughed it out. Everyone did a good job.”
Both Gervais and alpine coach Tory Hauser are first-year head coaches for their teams. They agreed that landing a state title and a second place isn’t too shabby for their first season at the job.
“It’s pretty great,” Hauser said. “I guess we’ll just have to win every year now.”
Shauna Farnell can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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