Aspen boys, girls skiers third on Day 1 of state ski championships
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
KEYSTONE, Colo. – The Aspen boys came from behind to win the 2007 state skiing championships. Similar heroics will be needed today if they are to secure a 10th title – and second in a row.
While the boys’ alpine squad shined in Thursday’s giant slalom at Keystone, logging three top-seven finishes, their nordic teammates struggled in the 5-kilometer classic. Consequently, Aspen finds itself in third place with 296 points after the first of two days at the Colorado High School State Championships. Host Summit is leading the way with 323, while Battle Mountain is second with 297.
The Skiers girls (291), third last winter, trail Middle Park (337) and Summit (301).
“I was actually quite surprised by both [alpine team results],” coach Craig Carlson said. “I was hoping to have at least two guys finish in the top five. We almost hit that.”
Last year in Leadville, Aspen’s boys alpine skiers leaned heavily on a deep nordic squad en route to a championship. On Thursday, they pulled their weight in the giant slalom – and then some.
Leading the way was Micah Evonitz, who, coming off a recent win at Ski Cooper, posted a two-run time of 2 minutes, 22.72 seconds to wind up third overall. Evergreen’s David Graebel (2:18.46) finished first and Battle Mountain’s Cooper Cartmill (2:19.78) took second.
Skiers teammates James Britvar (2:25.23) and Tyler Nelson (2:28.18) also impressed on Keystone’s Go Devil run – one that has hosted top-tier competitions in years past – with sixth- and seventh-place finishes, respectively.
The effort was good enough for Aspen to win the team title with 167 points, edging Battle Mountain (160) and Evergreen (157).
“[Evonitz] has been skiing strong all season long, so we expected him to be up there with the top guys,” Carlson said. “What I told the guys for the second run was that they needed to finish, and finish fast. That’s what they did.
“There were interesting conditions and a longer race than most of the guys were used to. It took courage for them to step up. I’m pleased about it.”
The Skiers girls also shined on the steep, technical course. Sarah Gregory (2:31.74) paced the team with a fifth-place finish, while Alex Maple (2:35.42) wound up ninth and Laura Sudmeier (2:49.78) 28th.
Middle Park teammates Rylee Burrows (2:22.99) and Tracie Kroneberger (2:30.56) finished first and third, respectively, and Summit’s Miranda Sheely (2:28.52) was second.
The effort was good enough for Aspen to take third with 146 points – 27 behind winner Middle Park.
The Skiers girls’ nordic athletes wound up fourth later Thursday at the Frisco Nordic Center. Erika Heaphy (23:14.4), Kelsey Tofany (23:15) and Ellie Parker (23:24.7) finished 12th, 13th and 16th.
Brett Gordon (19:10.4), Riley Heald (19:33.3) and Gunnar Ohlson (21:11.7) finished 14th, 17th and 32nd for the Skiers boys, who took fifth. Their 129 points scored were 39 fewer than Summit, which had three skiers in the top eight.
“I had a brief discussion with [nordic coach Travis Moore], and he said they had a good day … but the team this year isn’t like last year’s,” Carlson said.
“A good day in the middle of the pack might be enough to get us by. I expect our guys to pull ahead in slalom … maybe four or five guys in the top 15. Anything can happen, though.”
The boys will likely need an effort like that to close the gap. Slalom kicks off Friday’s action at 9:30 a.m. The 5K classic is slated for 2 p.m.
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