Team Summit J3’s dominate at Junior Olympics
WINTER PARK – Team Summit is having one of the most successful Junior Olympics in its history this week.
After the speed events Tuesday and Wednesday at the J3 Olympics of the USSA Rocky Mountain and Central divisions, Summit was sitting on four gold and two silver medals.
Eric Davis and Katie Hartman swept both Tuesday’s downhill and Wednesday’s super G, and Alice McKennis and Jeremy Elliot each were second in the super-G.
“It’s some domination coming out of Summit County right now,” said Team Summit J3 alpine coach Andrew Ash. “It’s a pretty big deal.”
It wasn’t just the podium finishers, though. Local skiers occupied a large portion of the first page of results on both days.
Taggart Spenst was fifth in Tuesday’s downhill while Taylor Lynch of Quantum Sports Club was 12th. Also, Team Summit’s Tanner MacDonald finished 14th, and Summit’s Aaron Hogan was 15th.
Other finishers: William Truesdell (Quantum) was 16th, Josh Stein (Summit) was 18th, Tanner Bardin (Summit) was 20th, and Conrad Schmidt (Quantum) was 22nd.
McKennis was third in the girls’ downhill, while Summit skiers Blaine Martin, Alexis Vest-Burton and Kirsten Turner went back-to-back-to-back in 11th, 12th and 13th.
“We knew this was a good possibility for our kids,” said Ash, a 1992 graduate of Summit High School and a former Team Summit racer. “It’s just a result of all the hard work they’ve put in all year, and now it’s really paying off.”
The Junior Olympics are the crux of the season for these 13- and 14-year-old skiers. But the winners – Davis and Hartman – get invitations to April’s Whistler Cup in British Columbia, Canada, to compete against the top young racers in North America.
“This is the big pinnacle,” Ash said. “Then, if they get an invite to Whistler, that’s just a huge bonus.”
For Davis, the Whistler races will cap a season in which he was named the best 14-year-old skier in America and went to Italy to represent the U.S. in the prestigious Topolino Games.
In the super-G on Wednesday, after Davis, Hartman, Elliot and McKennis walked away with their golds and silvers, Vest-Burton came in at 11th, Erika Saylor was 13th and Turner was 14th for Team Summit. For the boys, Summit’s Dustin Murray was 14th, and Quantum’s Schmidt was 15th. Also, Stein was 16th, and Hogan was 18th.
The availability of quality speed training in Summit County gives local athletes an advantage in the downhill and super G. But Summit doesn’t see its results falling off as the technical events continue with girls’ giant slalom today and boys’ and girls’ slalom on Saturday. The boys GS was Thursday.
“We’re at an advantage because we have a chance to train more speed than the other kids,” Ash said. “But our giant slalom and slalom is just as strong as anybody else’s.”
Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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