Usual worries mark young and talented alpine team
FARMER’S KORNER – Few would question that Summit High School is among the elite alpine skiing teams in the 12-school Colorado High School League. As usual, the bigger question is whether Summit’s top racers will be on hand come state championship time.With several of his 43 athletes also competing for Team Summit and Quantum Sports Club, fourth-year coach Tory Hauser says he does the best he can with who he has on a given day. “We ask kids to make a decision but sometimes they can’t,” Hauser said. “Not every athlete’s goal is to win a state championship.”Unfortunately for Hauser, conflicted skiers often opt away from the high school team.”It’s a little frustrating but it is what it is,” Hauser said. “We do the best we can within the parameters that we have.”Tanner Macdonald is Summit’s top skier and sole male senior. Last season, he won the Giant Slalom at the state championship, which was held at Keystone.
“I think it may be pretty hard (to repeat as champion),” Macdonald said. “Last year, the race was at my home hill and I had some really strong runs.”When he’s not bashing gates for Team Summit, Macdonald plans to help out the Tigers’ cause.”We were real close to winning states last year but we fell a little short,” he said. “As a senior, I’m hoping we can win it this year.”With more than 10 state-qualifying skiers returning, Summit (along with perennial powers Aspen and Steamboat) should once again vie for two state crowns. The Lady Tigers have won two consecutive championships and the boys have won two out of the last three.With Macdonald as the Tigers’ only senior, and just five juniors below him, the Summit boys are a youthful team.”Skiing is always full of young kids,” Hauser said. “The freshmen and sophomores make up the base of this team.”
Summit’s strong sophomore class is led by Zach Fretz, who Hauser describes as “big and strong.” Last year, Fretz took seventh in GS and 10th in slalom at the state championships.Other returning state qualifiers include juniors Fletcher McDonald and Tanner Bardin as well as sophomores Kevin Coleman, Andrew Otto, Mark Miller, Drew Hauser, Zach Wade and Brannan Sheely.This year’s girls squad features two top-10 finishers from last year’s state championship GS. Sophomore Chelsey Fretz finished seventh and her classmate Laurel Broten took 10th. Hauser said he has “high expectations,” for Fretz and Broten as well as fellow sophomores Erin Breslin (16th in state GS) and Riley Gage (11th in state GS).Jenna Sheely, who finished 14th at last year’s state slalom race is the only senior on the girls team. “It’s a little weird because there’s lots of freshmen and no one else really knows what’s going on,” Sheely said.
Sheely’s outlook for the season is mildly optimistic. “I want to say we’ll be better but a lot of people are new to ski racing as well, so we’ll probably be about the same.”Junior Alex Guras, who also skis for Quantum will be returning to the Tigers for the first time since her freshman season, when she qualified for state.”We’ll be strong if we go in with focus and not just to have fun,” Guras said. “If we set our minds to wanting to win, we can take over.” “We have a really good ski team,” Tory Hauser said. “And I don’t mean just skiers, there are lots of good kids too … It’s really great for the community.””There is a really positive feeling around the team this year,” Hauser added. “People believe that we will do well.”Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13631, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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