AHS ski teams poised to defend state title
When the Aspen High School girls and boys defend their overall titles at the state championships later this month, at least 22 student-athletes will represent the school.
Some 22 Nordic and alpine racers, who train also with the Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club, have already qualified for Feb. 23-24 state championships at Ski Cooper in Leadville.
“It’s a huge number of kids,” said Aspen coach Mike Flynn.
Aspen racers still on the bubble will have their shot at qualifying for the state championships: on Friday at Beaver Creek for alpine racers and Monday in Summit County for Nordic racers.
Aspen coach Mike Flynn said Aspen could repeat its boys combined and girls combined state titles, though several other mountain communities will offer a challenge.
“It looks like it’ll be between Summit County, Middle Park, Battle Mountain and Aspen,” he said. “Steamboat might be out of it, but it’ll be very close.”
Aspen’s boys and girls Nordic teams have consistently finished in second place at high school races this winter, while the girls alpine have dominated. Aspen’s alpine boys may be the weakest link in the two teams, he said.
“This year, the strength of the team is in the consistency of the Nordic boys and girls and the number of alpine girls finishing in the top 15, top 20,” Flynn said. “If the girls stay healthy, they have the best shot of it. The boys alpine is kind of like our wild card. If they’re hot, they’re really good, but you never know.”
Aspen girls qualified for Nordic events at the state championships include: returning state champion and sophomore Jenny Hamilton, sophomore Maile Wade, and freshmen Cory Hach and Amy Schwartz. Aspen girls qualified for alpine events at the state championships include: seniors Kate Jensen and Ashley Cantrell, freshman Gillian Hearn, sophomore Kathryn Eastley, and seniors Ali Crum, Alison Eastley, Sascha Anastas and Emily Teague.
Aspen boys qualified for Nordic events at the state championships include: seniors Michael Otte and Conor Flynn, and freshmen Tae Wescott and Jon Hatanaka. Aspen boys qualified for alpine events include: sophomore Jesse Durrance, seniors Charles Greenwood and Patrick Sewell, sophomore Wheeler Clancey and freshmen Packy Westfeldt and Colter Hoff.
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