14 Aspen skiers qualify for JOs
Aspen, CO Colorado
ASPEN ” Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club J4 skier Danielle Brownell-Patty has dominated the competition of late. During a recent trip to Crested Butte, she picked up slalom, giant slalom and super G wins ” the latter coming by a margin of nearly seven seconds.
It was a foregone conclusion that Brownell-Patty, the top skier for her age, would nab a spot in the upcoming Junior Olympics in Winter Park. She’ll have some company.
Thirteen other club skiers ” 12 boys and one girl ” also qualified for the event, which runs from March 17 through 21. The top six qualifying spots for J4 boys all went to AVSC racers.
Colby Lane picked up three wins at Crested Butte, on Feb. 20 through 22, and teammates Dean Travers and Andrew Hancock each picked up one gold. In just his second year of racing, Travers won a super G and locked up the No. 2 qualifying spot.
Brownell-Patty likely would have brought home more hardware had she not missed a gate in both the slalom and GS. In each case, she rebounded to pick up wins during the afternoon races.
Sonja Gagen made the JO cut after finishing 18th in super G, 13th and 16th in slalom and 21st and 28th in GS. She qualified 19th out of 28 girls chosen to compete in Winter Park.
“Sonja’s very consistent and keeps improving every week,” said club J4 coach Rohan Verplank in a news release. “She works hard in training and it shows.”
Ben Throm qualified fourth after finishing second and third in GS and second and fourth in slalom. Xon Baker posted four top-six finishes to wind up fifth, while Travis Lundin was eighth in super G, fourth in GS and second in slalom ” good enough to qualify sixth.
Teammate Roy Benge turned in the most consistent performance of the weekend, posting top-10 finishes in all five of the weekend’s races. For his efforts, Benge qualified 13th ” 11th among U.S. racers.
Henry Woodrow earned himself a trip to Winter Park after finishing 16th in a GS and 12th in a slalom. Tanner Spence also qualified despite skiing with a cast on a bro ken hand. He finished 16th in super G and 17th and 13th in GS. Tristan Lane, who has skied up one age class this season, finished 15th and 14th in GS to qualify 22nd overall.
Scotty Houtsma was on the outside looking in heading to Crested Butte. He turned that around with a season best 13th-place finish in slalom and nabbed the 29th qualifying spot. Teammate Chapin Newhard also show cased a flare for the dramatic. After winding up 38th in super G, 25th in one GS and 37th in the first slalom, Chapin had one last chance to make his mark. He did just that, taking 26th in the final slalom to qualify in 38th ” 45 boys were chosen.
“He really came through under pressure,” Verplank said. “These guys stepped up when they had to and I couldn’t be more proud of my team.”
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The third weekend of play begins Thursday and runs through Sunday with the Bantam B, Squirt A and Squirt B divisions. Because of safety protocols, spectators aren’t allowed.