Soller, SHS Nordic boys hungry to reclaim title |

Soller, SHS Nordic boys hungry to reclaim title

DEVON O'NEILsummit daily news
Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc

FRISCO – It has only been a year, but the Summit High School boys skiers are already itching to reclaim the state ski championship. This is especially true among the Nordic team’s three stalwart seniors, Kevin Soller, Patrick Neel and Matt Bowers.They want to go out on top – of Aspen, that is.The SHS seniors owned the boys state title as freshmen and sophomores, but last year the Skiers from Pitkin County did what it took to steal the crown from Summit on the Tigers’ home turf.

Soller, SHS’ top bet to win an individual crown this weekend at Snow Mountain Ranch, said the need to bring the title back to Summit has been an “unspoken” goal all season among the four-year team members. He and Neel and Bowers have also taken time to impress upon the younger skiers the urgency at hand.”It’s definitely a thought on all of our minds,” Soller said.To be sure, the Tigers have plenty of firepower to bring home a championship on Saturday. Soller leads the charge in that regard; he is coming off a victory at the regular-season finale, a classic race in Vail, and is hungry to challenge Aspen’s Noah Hoffman for individual supremacy.

Hoffman recently returned from the Scandinavian Cup, where he represented the U.S. The junior figures to play a key role in determining this weekend’s boys team champ.”Our whole team is hoping that he’s going to be tired,” said Soller, whose best state finish entering this weekend was fifth. “But even if he’s not, I’ll give him a run for his money.”SHS freshman Tom Sawyer has come on strong of late and has a shot at the podium in any race he enters these days. He is the Tigers’ second seed in both the classic and skate races, and said his goal is to finish in the top five.

Neel will be Summit’s No. 3 seed, followed by Tyler Reinking, Bowers and Alan Harrington. The top finishers among those seeds score points for their team.”The hope and the expectation is that they win state,” SHS head coach Tom Sain said of his boys squad. “I don’t think that’s an unreasonable goal at all.”Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at

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