Aspen High boys and girls finish third at state skiing championships
Aspen High School junior ski racer Mariel Gorsuch wasn’t afraid of the stage Thursday, the first day of the Colorado high school state skiing championships hosted by Steamboat Springs.
In fact, the only real pressure she received en route to winning the girls’ giant slalom race came from her own teammate, sophomore Margo McHugh, who took second.
“I wasn’t too stressed out or anything, so maybe that’s what separated me from the rest of the girls,” Gorsuch said Friday. “It sort of just meant that all of my hard work has paid off, because I’ve been skiing, I don’t know, for as long as I can remember. So it was just super cool to take that win.”
Gorsuch’s victory Thursday was the start to a strong weekend for the AHS Alpine girls, who helped carry the Skiers to a third-place overall finish, combined Alpine and Nordic, at the state meet.
Vail Mountain was first on the girls’ side with 610 points, followed by Battle Mountain’s 606 points and Aspen’s 604 points. The AHS girls had been the defending state champions entering the competition.
“We represented and we performed well under pressure,” AHS Alpine coach Jennifer Morandi-Benson said. “I’m just so proud. Coaching skiing is one of the best parts of my life, and to see these girls meet their goals and be so consistent, that’s the thing.”
Gorsuch was the first of four Skiers in the top six of Thursday’s GS, with McHugh, Devan McSwain (5th) and Pascale Augspurger (6th). In Friday’s slalom at Howelsen Hill, McHugh, a sophomore, led the way with a second-place finish, falling short to Battle Mountain’s Trinity Chelain. Aspen’s India Cardamone was fourth and Estelle Sweeney seventh.
Chelsea Moore led the AHS Nordic girls with two strong races, taking fourth in Thursday’s skate and third in Friday’s classic race.
“I have to give kudos, obviously, to the Alpine team skiers. They had an awesome weekend,” AHS Nordic coach Travis Moore said. “It’s a bit disappointing, I think, all around for the Nordic side of it. But I’m proud of the kids for rallying.”
Unlike the deep Alpine team, the AHS Nordic skiers had little room for error with only three racers competing in certain races. While Chelsea Moore, Travis Moore’s daughter, carried the team, the Skiers had trouble getting others high enough in the points to match that of the Alpine team.
Although it wasn’t for a lack of trying. Adair Pattillo, who was the second best Aspen skier in Thursday’s skate race, taking 40th, rallied to 23rd in Friday’s classic race, despite a severely injured foot.
Jack Sweeney finished 11th in Friday’s boys classic race, even though he had to sprint to the finish with five inches of one of his ski poles missing.
“Our kids skied their hearts out, too, it just wasn’t enough,” Travis Moore said. “Things could have gone a little different, but that’s the way it turned out.”
The Aspen boys also finished third overall at the state meet. Vail Mountain was first with 671 points to pull the sweep, while Battle Mountain again settled for second place with 577 points. Aspen had 567 points.
Trey Thorpe led the AHS Alpine boys both days, taking third in Thursday’s giant slalom and second in Friday’s slalom.
While both the Aspen boys and girls had to settle for third-place finishes, the AHS girls Alpine team still came away with championships. The Skiers’ results Thursday and Friday clinched the season-long league championship in both giant slalom and slalom, the latter of which they shared with Evergreen.
“We had a great, strong team this year,” Gorsuch said of the Alpine girls. “We definitely want to come back and redeem ourselves. We want that state title next year, for sure.”
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