Aspen boys take top two spots at nordic opener
Aspen nordic coach Travis Moore brought only three skiers to Friday’s season-opening classic race at the Vail Nordic Center.That the two boys who made the trip, seniors Noah Hoffman and Ryan Waldron, topped a field of 72 wasn’t a surprise. Hoffman, the defending state champion in both classic and freestyle, has been training with the U.S. national team throughout the fall in hopes of qualifying for the junior world championships Jan. 29 through Feb. 4 in Tarvisio, Italy. Moore expects Waldron to be one of Skiers’ leaders this season when Hoffman is away competing at national events.Hoffman cruised to the win on the 5-kilometer course in 18 minutes, 44.4 seconds. Moore was less than two minutes behind, with Summit County’s Tyler Reinking third in 21:01.9.
Moore didn’t even expect his best skier to qualify for this season’s state championships because of Hoffman’s busy schedule. High school rules stipulate that a skier must have at least two races in each discipline to qualify for the championships. Hoffman plans to be away for considerable stretches in December and January trying to qualify for junior worlds, then the probable trip to Italy.Looking at the calendar, however, Hoffman pointed out that he could make the classic opener in Vail and the first freestyle of the season Thursday in Breckenridge, and then would be around for Aspen’s home freestyle meet Jan. 13 and likely the CRMS classic race Feb. 9 in Carbondale.”It’s his senior year,” Moore said. “Even without him, I expect us to have a great team, but I’d like to see him go out with a couple of state championships.”
Moore would prefer that the rest of his athletes stay home to focus on their final exams this coming week. Waldron wanted to race in Vail, however, as did Cornelia Carpenter, so Moore allowed them both to come along.Carpenter tied for 14th in the girls race in 27:37.6, a substandard finish that Moore attributed to a difficult week of conditioning.”She skied well, but she was disappointed with her results,” Moore said. “I think that’s mostly due to the high volume of training last week. She was tired from that, but that’s what we need for the early season. I’m sure she’ll do really well when she’s not as worn out.”Thursday’s freestyle race in Breckenridge is the final high school meet for a whole month before the Skiers host their home meet on Jan. 13.
Just looking at his team’s fitness so far in practice, Moore expects for the Skiers boys and girls to do their part to bring state titles back to Aspen. Last year, the Skiers boys looked to have state championship No. 8 locked up before some mistakes in the final alpine race – a slalom – handed the title to Summit. “It’s just a bad time of year for the first couple of races,” Moore said. “Most of our kids are overcommitted as it is … I think if we would have been able to bring everybody, we would have had a couple more in the top 10. Even without Noah, we’re really strong.”Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is email@example.comThe Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.
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