Three Summit County Nordic skiers clinch season titles
Three Summit Nordic Ski Club athletes clinched Rocky Mountain Nordic season championships in Aspen this weekend as the club put an exclamation point on a step-up 2018-19 season, one where it proved it can routinely challenge — and defeat — the state’s best clubs.
SNSC athletes Nina Schamberger, Nico Konecny and Landon Laverdiere all end the 2018-19 Rocky Mountain ski season as champions within their respective classes. All three young skiers clinched the season-long championships with wins at the Rocky Mountain Nordic U-14 championships in Aspen this weekend. The group of three join SNSC skier Ezra Smith, who won first place in the female U-18/U-20 division for the season.
Schamberger (U-14 girls), Konecny (U-12 boys) and Laverdiere (U-10 boys) were three of the five SNSC skiers who won their respective age group class races in Aspen last weekend, along with Henri Nicolas (U-14 boys) and Heidi Fray (U-10 girls).
Rocky Mountain Nordic determined its class-by-class champions after it hosted nine races this season, with each athlete’s top five races used to calculate their rankings within each age group.
The U-14 Championships in Aspen were the final Nordic club races of the 2018-19 season, and with its conclusion, the Summit Nordic Ski Club finished just 12 points behind Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s first-place finish of 9,776 points for the Colorado Cup team competition. It’s a historically low difference between first and second places for the Colorado Cup.
For comparison, SNSC’s 9,764 points ranked them nearly 2,000 points ahead of Steamboat Springs’ 8,010 points.
“Having three athletes at the top of their age group in U-14 and a team ranking that was just points away from winning the Colorado Cup this year is a direct result of exceptional coaching and a positive culture for the club,” SNSC head coach Olof Hedberg said.
While at the U-14 championships in Aspen, along with Summit Nordic Ski Club’s five wins out of eight age groups, SNSC’s total of 11 podium spots over the course of the week matched Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s 11 podium spots.
The SNSC head coach Hedberg was not surprised his team excelled on the course in Aspen, which was a Nordic-cross sprint that required the athletes to showcase a variety of skills that emphasized speed, strength and agility.
“We put a lot of emphasis on max speed throughout the entire season,” Hedberg said. “So this is just a confirmation that all the hard work pays off”.
For the season, Summit Nordic Ski Club took a total of 12 podiums, including Tai-Lee Smith’s second-place in the U-16 girls division and Quinn Weinberger’s second-place in the U-16 boys division. The two High Country clubs, SNSC and Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, more than doubled the rest of the Rocky Mountain Nordic club competition for the season.
Beyond Schamberger (U-14 girls), Konecny (U-12 boys) and Laverdiere (U-10 boys), Summit Nordic Ski Club also wrapped up in Aspen with six more top-three season finishes in respective U-14 classes for the full season. Annabelle Pattenden (U-14 girls) and Henri Nicolas (boys U-14) finished the season in second place while Will Bentley (U-12 boys), Carter Niemkiewicz (U-10 boys), Heidi Fray (U-10 girls) and Maeve Niemkiewicz (U-8 girls) finished in third place.
“I couldn’t be more excited about our performance this season,” Hedberg said. “Qualifying athletes to junior nationals in every age group as well as taking home the most wins at the U-14 championships shows that we have reached a point where we are nationally competitive in every age group.”
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