State ski preview: Headed for 4-peat, girls coaches concerned
summit daily news
Summit County, CO Colorado
FARMER’S KORNER ” It doesn’t seem to matter to Summit High School alpine ski coach Tory Hauser that his girls team has won five out of its six races this season.
The fifth-year coach also seems less than enthusiastic about having the reigning giant slalom state champion and slalom runner-up, Alex Guras, back to lead the Lady Tigers into the postseason.
“(The SHS girls) are not nearly as good as they were last year, and the competition is night and day compared to last year,” Hauser said on Tuesday, two days prior to the state meet at Vail. “I think they know their backs are against the wall.”
Although Hauser may have some legitimate cause for concern ” a few quality alpine racers didn’t complete the season, Guras is now a part-time skier with an injury bug (back), and the Nordic team hasn’t been quite as dominant as it was last season ” he could also be employing a strategy designed to keep his team hungry.
The Lady Tigers are, after all, defending three consecutive state championships.
Hauser isn’t the only one who’s expressed recent concerns about Summit’s chances at state, however.
“We’re limping into this one,” SHS Nordic coach Gene Dayton said. “Three of our top skiers are ill: Briana Perkins, Mackenzie Jones and Dana Meeker. … It’s going to be one of the most competitive state championships we’ve ever been in.”
Perkins, who finished second in both the classic and skate races behind her sister, Brittany, at last year’s state meet in Granby, didn’t ski Tuesday and was expected to take one easy lap around Vail’s course on Wednesday, according to Dayton.
The junior star made no mention of having a cold during a phone interview on Tuesday, but she’s fully aware of the pressure surrounding her team.
“We’re trying to go out there and look at it as just another race,” Perkins said. “But it’s states, we’ve won it three years in a row now and people are expecting us to keep that up.”
Perkins and Guras figure to be in the mix for individual titles regardless of how their team fares.
In five races this season (she missed one due to illness), Guras has three victories (including the last two), one second and one sixth-place finish.
The senior speedster said her goals for the state meet include re-capturing giant slalom gold and finishing within the top three in slalom.
Perkins, meanwhile, won three out of five high school races to go along with two runner-up finishes this season. She’ll be joined in the field by Jones, Meeker, Lauren Jefferson, Allison Rowley, Bailey Jefferson, Jenya Berino and Leah Venturoni.
Although he downplayed the chances of Summit’s girls four-peating, Hauser also expressed confidence in his senior standout, Guras.
“Alex is a race horse and she loves racing,” he said. “She’s going to give it everything she has.”
Guras has won the most races for Summit’s girls this season, but she will start as the No. 2 seed behind Erin Breslin in the GS and Joey Chevalier in the slalom. That’s the way she wants it.
“I have a little phobia,” she said. “I don’t want to make the first tracks down the course.”
Leah Canfield and Laurel Broten will join Breslin, Guras and Chevalier (slalom only) as the Lady Tigers’ top seeds in Vail.
If there is, in fact, more parity in this year’s girls field, Hauser, who is sending 11 Lady Tigers to the state meet, doesn’t seem to mind.
“Bringing home the win will be hard,” he said. “But that makes it exciting ” that’s good, that’s what it’s supposed to be.”
Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-4634, or at email@example.com.
SHS Girls at State
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