Aspen club jumpers fly high in Utah
PARK CITY, Utah Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club athlete Michael Ward produced the J2 field’s fastest 5-kilometer cross country time at Saturday’s Utah Winter Games in Park City.It still wasn’t good enough to beat Cliff Field, however. By virtue of his strong showing in the jumping portion of the nordic combined, Field, of Steamboat Springs, bested Ward for a second straight competition.Ward vaulted from fifth at the start of the ski into second, posting a time of 15:01 at Olympic Park, site of the 2002 Winter Games. But he couldn’t catch Field, who outlasted Ward in a Junior National qualifier earlier this month at Steamboat’s famed Howelsen Hill. Ward produced jumps of 54 and 56.5 meters on the K64 hill. Teammates Steve Anderson, Fritz Carpenter and Terry Leitch jumped 45, 47.5 and 52 meters, respectively. It was in the skiing portion of the weekend’s event that AVSC athletes really flexed their muscle. Hayden Joy bested a field of open class competitors Saturday on a 2K course to win the nordic combined. The 14-year-old was first after Friday’s jumping competition in which he posted a personal best of 15 meters on the K20 hill. Teammates Erica Heaphy and Ben Belinski joined Joy in the top three Saturday. Heaphy finished third in the nordic race and overall fourth among J4s. Carpenter, 13, posted the best result of his burgeoning career Saturday, improving from a fourth-place starting position to win the J3 race on a technically demanding 3K course. Friday, Carpenter produced jumps of 34 and 35 meters on the K40 jump.Ward couldn’t catch Field on Saturday, but he’ll soon have another shot; the duo will face off at late February’s Junior Nationals.”We look for Field and Ward to place well in the National Championships next month in Ishpeming [Michigan],” Rocky Mountain Division head coach Todd Wilson said in an AVSC news release. “Michael has really stepped up his jumping, and it’s great to have another RMD program producing such strong skiers.”
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