Adaptive team nets medals in Sochi rehearsal | AspenTimes.com

Adaptive team nets medals in Sochi rehearsal

Madeleine Osberger
Special to The Aspen Times
The AVSC Adaptive Team includes eight members who will compete in the 2014 Paralympic from March 7 through March 16 in Sochi, Russia. Consisting of veteran and civilian athletes, the AVSC skiers enjoyed many podiums during the 2014 IPC Alpine National Skiing Championships and NorAms in Aspen.
Photo courtesy of Doug Mayhew/Madogrpahy |

Racer’s Edge at Tiehack takes no prisoners.

Steep in sections, undulating and characterized by a double fall line, it’s been home to the Town Downhill for almost 30 years.

This week, Racer’s Edge was the site of downhill, super-G and super combined races for the 2014 IPC Alpine Skiing National Championships.

The majority of the 26-member U.S. Paralympic Team, as well as six other nations, were represented in the races that concluded Thursday.

Athletes named to the U.S. Paralympic Team include eight members who train full-time with AVSC: Laurie Stephens, Melanie Schwartz, Joel Hunt, Jon Lujan, Tyler Walker, Chris Devlin-Young, Andrew Kurka and Heath Calhoun.

AVSC also fields a development team under the direction of head coach Jonathan Mika.

Calhoun, third Wednesday in the final super-G (men’s sitting), is easily identifiable by his Duck Dynasty beard.

He’s also familiar from Olympic television ads for AT&T and BP where he’s featured with other U.S. Team members currently competing in the Winter Games.

“It’s been wild so far” seeing himself in the ads, he said, but the sponsorships are much appreciated to defray training, travel and living expenses. Calhoun soon will head to his second Paralympics, which will run March 7 through March 16 in Sochi, Russia.

Stephani Victor, of Park City, Utah, is looking forward to her fourth Paralympics. Trained by her husband, a former Swiss racer, Victor loved the Racer’s Edge super-G course. “It was so much fun, I’d like to do it again,” she said.

The course has similarities to the Sochi course, she said, which utilizes the men’s olympic downhill from the Russian Trampoline section on down.

“I definitely think it’s good preparation going into the Paralympics. There’s nice gliding, some rolls, jumps and steep pitches,” said Victor, who has already earned five medals, including a gold in Vancouver.

The super combined, one run of super-G and one run of slalom, was contested Wednesday. On the steep section of Racer’s Edge that’s nicknamed the Brown Streak, AVSC visually impaired skier Brian Follett (with guide Scot Jones) maneuvered through the slalom, the discipline he finds most challenging.

“I’m going to keep moving forward, taking the good things and leaving the rest behind,” Follett said. The next day, he earned a bronze medal in the national championship super-G.

The final section of Thursday’s national championship course, “Peanut Turn,” challenged several racers including AVSC’s Chris Devlin-Young, who were carrying a lot of speed into the turn. Teammate Tyler Walker was disqualified when he missed a gate near the end of a fast run.

Both landed on the podium throughout the week of speed events and as did other AVSC skiers including Melanie Schwartz, Laurie Stephens, Andrew Kurka, Brian Follett and Jonathan Lujan.

Lujan didn’t have much time to savor his downhill win, though his fall in the second race resulted in injuries that shouldn’t keep him out of the Paralympics. A three-year Aspen resident, Lujan has high hopes for medal-winning performances by the U.S. Team.

“It’s a great group of guys and gals who have the potential to bring home a lot of hardware,” he said.

Kevin Jardine, director of the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding Program, said he believes this is “the best U.S. team ever fielded,” and used the 70 World Cup medals won so far by the 27 team athletes as proof positive.

For results of the races at Tiehack, visit the website aspentimes.com.

2014 IPC Nationals

Tiehack/Buttermilk

Men Feb. 11

Downhill #1

Visually Impaired

1. Mark Bathum

2. Patrik Hetmer

3. Jeffrey Petersen

Standing

1. Jonathan Lujan

2. Ralph Green

3. James Stanton

Sitting

1. Andrew Kurka

2. Tyler Walker

3. Chris Devlin-Young

Other AVSC

7. Heath Calhoun

9. John Supon

10. Josh Elliott

13. Aaron Howell

15. Kevin Mather

Men’s Downhill No. 2

Feb. 12

Visually Impaired

1. Mark Bathum

2. Patrik Hetmer

Standing

1 Ralph Green

2. James Stanton

3. Ian Jansing

Sitting

1. Tyler Walker

2. Andrew Kurka

3. Chris Devlin-Young

Other AVSC

5. Heath Calhoun

7. Trey Humphrey

8. Josh Elliott

10. John Supon

12. Aaron Howell

15. Kevin Mather

Women

Downhill 1

Visually Impaired

1. Danielle Umstead

2. Staci Mannella

Standing

1. Stephanie Jallen

2. Melanie Schwartz

Sitting

1. Alana Nichols

2. Laurie Stephens

3. Anna Beninati

Downhill No. 2

Visually Impaired

1. Danielle Umstead

2. Staci Mannella

Standing

1. Stephanie Jallen

2. Melanie Schwartz

Sitting

1. Alana Nichols

2. Laurie Stephens

3. Anna Beninati

Super Combined

Feb. 12 Women

Visually Impaired

1. Danielle Umstead

2. Staci Mannella

Standing

1. Allison Jones

2. Melanie Schwartz

3. Alana Ramsay

Sitting

1. Alana Nichols

2. Laurie Stephens

3. Sarah Holm

Men

Visually Impaired

1. Mark Bathum

2. Patrik Hetmer

3. Jeffrey Petersen

4. Brian Follett

Standing

1. Adam Hall

2. James Stanton

3. Masashiko Tokai

Sitting

1. Tyler Walker

2. Corey Peters

3. Ben Thompson

Other AVSC

4. Joshua Elliott

7. Aaron Howell

8. Anthony Radetic

11. Kevin Mather

National Championship Super-G

Feb. 13 Men

Visually Impaired

1. Patrik Hetmer

2. Jeffrey Petersen

3. Brian Follett

Standing

1. Ralph Green

2. Connor Hogan

3. Ian Jansing

Sitting

1. Jasmin Bambur

2. Heath Calhoun

3. Alex Cairns

Other AVSC

4. Trey Humphrey

5. John Supon

7. Aaron Howell

10. Kevin Mather

Women

Visually Impaired

1. Danielle Umstead

2. Staci Mannella

Standing

1. Allison Jones

2. Alana Ramsey

3. Stephanie Jallen

Sitting

1. Alana Nichols

2. Stephani Victor

3. Laurie Stephens


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