Summit boys win state ski title |

Summit boys win state ski title

SPECIAL TO THE DAILYSummit junior Tucker McCrerey breaks away from the pack as he nears the finish line of the 5k skate race at the Colorado High School State Ski Championships Friday in Aspen. McCrerey swept both Nordic events and helped the Tiger boys edge out Aspen for the team title. The Tiger girls' had a rough final day and finished third overall.

The final – and, possibly, most emblematic – image from the state ski meet on Friday was Summit junior Tucker McCrerey crossing the finish line first in the 5k skate, pulling off the individual sweep of the Nordic events.

But the drama that decided the boys’ team title happened hours earlier just up the hill at the slalom race.

And it wasn’t on the slopes.

Tiger senior Ian Parker was disqualified on his first run of the race for allegedly straddling a gate on the Aspen Highlands course. He disagreed with the call; his coaches disagreed with the call; even some opposing coaches disagreed, too.

None of that mattered, though, without any visual proof.

Enter SHS junior Rachel Baumgardner, a skier from the Tiger girls’ team, who didn’t qualify for state but came to Aspen to support the team – and take some pictures.

“What are the odds?” SHS alpine coach Karl Barth said. “Of the 46 gates in the race, she gets a shot of Ian on the two-gate stretch we needed.”

And her photography saved Summit’s title hopes.

Well, that and Parker’s blistering second run.

After winning the appeal based on the photos, Parker plowed through the course on his second trip down, moved up from 11th to sixth place and, more importantly, gave the Tigers the counting score needed to pull off the state championship.

“What a day,” Barth said. “It was a roller coaster from start to finish.”

With the strong showing from the alpine squad and a dominating performance in Nordic, Summit edged out Aspen by 15 points for the team title with a two-day total of 668.

The win marked SHS’s 37th state skiing title, 19th for the boys.

Battle Mountain was third, Steamboat Springs was fourth, and Evergreen was fifth.

The slalom race took place first with Dael Moulton pacing Summit with a fifth-place finish. Parker was next, and Matty Baldwin had a clutch second run to finish 15th and put the Tigers in a position to have the Nordic team close out the title in the afternoon.

With how strong the Tiger cross-country skiers have been this season, Barth said that was a good spot to be in.

“The goal was to just put together some good runs and let Nordic do the rest,” he said.

McCrerey, the winner of Thursday’s classic race, paced himself throughout the skate, staying just behind a Vail Mountain School skier most of the way.

“I was thinking the whole race about when I wanted to start sprinting,” McCrerey said. “When there was about 400 yards left, I just decided to go.”

And he left his competitors behind him for the win.

Sophomore Jackson Hill and junior Troy Meeker finished fourth and fifth, respectively, giving the Tigers three of the top-5 finishers. The two were separated by just 0.5 seconds after Hill lunged across the finish line.

“It was a great race to watch,” SHS Nordic coach Hannah Taylor said. “I’m definitely really happy for them. They all skied great.”

Although only McCrerey, Hill and Meeker counted toward the team score, Liam McDonnell and Quinton Bobb also had exceptional finishes, coming in eighth and 11th, respectively.

“Everyone had a great day, and it’s great for that to happen when it’s the biggest day of the year,” McCrerey said.

Even after the racing wrapped up, the Tiger boys continued to pile up hardware. McCrerey and Hill were named all state in both Nordic disciplines; Sam Piehl was all state in classic; Moulton earned honors in slalom; and Parker was all state in both alpine categories.

Parker also won the season-long skimeister title, given to the top athlete who competed in both Nordic and alpine.

Taylor put it pretty simply: “Some days are just really hard, and you just hope that those hard days don’t come when it matters the most.”

Well, that seemed to be exactly what happened to the Summit girls’ ski team Friday.

With a slim three-point overall cushion over Aspen entering the day, the Tiger girls couldn’t afford many mistakes.

But two of Summit’s top alpine skiers missed gates, and senior Julia Hayes, the defending state champ in classic, had a rough day in the skate race when she was boxed out by opponents throughout the course.

“It was just one of those days,” Barth said.

Summit ended up finishing third as a team, 12 back of state champion Aspen and just three behind Steamboat.

Hayes was 12th.

“She didn’t have her best day, but she skied her heart out,” Taylor said. “There are so many things that can happen in a Nordic race, and all you want to see is them doing the best they can. She did that.”

Cali Greksa and Sophie Ferguson were next for Summit, finishing 25th and 26th, respectively.

In slalom, Miranda Sheely was certainly the highlight for the Tigers, clocking in with the fastest second run to finish in the runner-up spot.

Senior Hannah Price finished in 11th, and Stefanie Walters was 13th to round out the scoring.

Ellie Hartman and Anne Parker were named all state in giant slalom.

Hayes was all state in both skate and classic.

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