Smooth running at Junior Olympic downhill | SummitDaily.com
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Smooth running at Junior Olympic downhill

KEYSTONE – Fast runs, flat light, and deep fields all prevailed at the downhill race at Keystone Friday – the first event of the 2003 Chevy Trucks United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Rocky-Central J1 and J2 Olympics.

Many local skiers, despite being familiar with the Go Devil course at Keystone, where they regularly train, didn’t feel speed was their specialty Friday.

“It’s a pretty easy course,” said J2 Evan Barrett of Team Summit, which is the host team for the event. “The only difficult part about it is it’s hard to be fast. Every little mistake just kills you. You get going fast, and you get the butterflies. It’s nice to know the course – we train it all the time and just tuck it the whole way – but I’m more of a tech guy.”



Barrett finished 41st out of more than 70 male skiers, the best from the Rocky Mountain and Central divisions.

Crested Butte’s Ben Babbitt won the race with a time of 1 minute, .55 seconds. Tyler Smedsrud and Marsh Gooding of Steamboat Springs took second and third.



Conor Lynch of Quantum Sports Club had the best result of local boys competing, finishing 19th, with a time of 1:02.94.

Lynch, 18, said he hasn’t had very good luck with speed events this season but is aiming for top 10 results in the JOs, which continue today at Keystone with super G, Sunday and Monday with giant slalom, then moves to Copper Mountain Tuesday for slalom and the awards ceremony. Lynch recently returned from Europe, where he said even an event like the Junior Olympics pales in comparison as far as hype and field depth.

“Everyone’s more interested in skiing there,” he said. “Everything is a lot more laid back here. The snow is a lot softer here, too. It’s pretty icy over there.”

Bobby Paulus, a J2 skier, had the top result for Team Summit boys, taking 31st. He too, specializes in technical events.

“You can tuck the whole course from top to bottom, but I had some problems catching my edge at the start,” he said of the Go Devil course, where he estimated he reached speeds of around 70 mph Friday.

“I don’t like speed too much,” he said. “I’m hoping to do pretty well in (GS and slalom). I’m looking forward to it.”

Quantum’s Gary Beresford, who recently took second in the Colorado State High School GS race and ninth in slalom even after missing a gate, was just hoping for a solid run in Friday’s downhill, and he got it.

“I’m a tech skier,” he said after his 36th-place finish. “This course is fun, and it’s challenging because you have to find speed because there’s no real technical sections. But, it’s a good field out here.”

Ski Club Vail’s Kristen Poehling won the girls’ downhill race with a finish time of 1:02.97. Crested Butte’s Staci Rixford took second and Quantum’s Laura Brien took third with a time of 1:03.69. Team Summit’s Daniella Meier took sixth. Team Summit’s top female downhill racer, Tucker Burton, did not compete Friday but will race today in super G, which kicks off at 11 a.m. on Go Devil.

“It was an incredible event,” said Team Summit coach Rob Worrell. “It’s a good arena and a good course set. It’s a very well-run event.”

Additional local results: Quantum’s Raquel Reyes finished 19th Friday, Team Summit’s Shelly Miller 27th, Shun Sakaguchi 44th, Tomoyuki Shirasaki 69th and Koki Uchida 71st.

In order to compete in the Junior Olympics at Keystone, racers must be among the top 80, 15- to- 19-year-old skiers in the Rocky Mountain or Central division of the USSA.


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