Strong start for Summit High skiers
summit daily news
COPPER MOUNTAIN – Predicting success in high school alpine skiing is a fickle thing. Between obligations to club teams and high participation in regional and national races, rosters change drastically from year to year, even race to race.
Once the season gets under way, though, the picture starts to get a whole lot clearer.
And if Friday’s season-opening giant slalom at Copper Mountain – featuring the four strongest teams in the state – is any indicator, well, things are looking good for Summit High.
The Tigers swept the team titles for boys and girls and finished with three skiers in the top-six on both sides of the race.
“It’s a good indicator, mostly, of what’s there,” SHS head coach Karl Barth said of the competition. “It could change, though.”
For the most part, Summit dominated the day. Miranda Sheely finished second on the girls’ side, followed closely by Anne Parker in fourth and Ellie Hartman in fifth. Ian Parker led the boys with a second-place finish, and teammates Dael Mouton (fifth) and Will Cutler (sixth) were right behind him.
The top three skiers for each team combined for the team score. Summit scored 172 points in girls, eight ahead of Steamboat Springs, and 170 for boys, again ahead of Steamboat. Evergreen was third in both races.
Each skier took two runs of GS down Copper’s Bittersweet run above Center Village. With such a strong field, consistency was key, or, in Sheely’s case, a little bit of bad luck would do the trick.
Sheely had two slight bobbles on both runs – early in her first and late in the second – and finished just 0.01 seconds out of first place. Basically, over the 43 gates she cut through, Sheely lost by about 3 inches.
“I got a little late at the bottom, a little behind it,” she said of the minor error on Run 2. ” … I skied good today. I was happy with it.”
“She’s been skiing really well,” Barth said of Sheely. “To have those two little bobbles and almost win is pretty good. … She should be right up there all season.”
The girls’ squad really showed off its depth. After Anne Parker and Hartman, the Tigers had another three skiers – Shelbee Wood (10th), Hannah Price (13th)and Stefanie Walters (14th) – crack the top-15. And that was without one of the team’s top racers, Nicole Anderson.
On the boys’ side, Ian Parker’s day was so good, he even surprised himself. His first-run time of 31.99 was nearly half-a-second faster than the next best skier, and his consistent skiing on Run 2 led to a 32.0, missing out on a win by just 0.49 seconds.
“I’m excited. I came down in first (after Run 1), and I was really happy,” he said. “That’s probably the first race I’ve ever come close to winning. I’m usually middle of the pack for (club team) races. That’s why I like high school races: They’re fun and have little pressure.”
Parker is attempting to qualify for state in skimeister, meaning in both alpine and Nordic. He can check the GS portion off the list after Friday, and unlike Parker, Barth isn’t surprised at all with his early success.
“Ian’s an incredibly solid skier,” he said. “He beat some guys that generally beat him, so that was nice for him.”
Cutler also had an impressive finish, taking more than a second off his first-run time on his second trip through the course, and that’s with nearly wiping out on a tight turn toward the top.
“That’s good for a little hip check thrown in there,” he said.
The biggest feet of the day, Barth said, was the amount of Summit kids who already punched their GS pass to state. In order to qualify for the year’s finale, a skier must compete in at least two of the four races in each discipline, while earning a state cut in at least one.
On Friday, 19 Summit skiers – 12 boys, seven girls – did.
So, while outsiders may see Fridays’ performance by Summit as an indication of what the teams are capable of doing in state, Barth said it was the first step to ensuring the Tigers make it there.
“The big thing is to get the kids qualified,” Barth said, “but it’s also nice on a day with all the top teams to see where we stack up.”
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