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Aspen girls ski team second at state

Nate PetersonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
Aspen High School skier Abby Mickey competes in the state high school giant slalom skiing championship race at the Steamboat Ski Area in Steamboat Springs, CO on Friday, February 22, 2008.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. For the second year in a row, Aspen is home to the state’s second-best high school girls ski team.Freshman Katie Ryan logged her second fourth-place finish in two days to lead Aspen’s alpine racers and junior Lindsey Wilkinson won the bronze in Friday afternoon’s nordic classic race to propel Aspen to 624 team points, six ahead of third-place finisher and host Steamboat Springs.Summit’s boys and girls teams swept both team championships for the second time in three years just a year after Aspen’s boys surged past the rival Tigers to win the team title.Summit’s girls won with 643 points while the Tiger boys racked up 650 points. Vail Mountain’s boys, which excelled in the nordic events, finished second (616), followed by Steamboat Springs (603).After just missing the podium Friday, Aspen sophomore James Britvar took third in Friday’s giant slalom and junior Whit Parker was second in the nordic classic. Aspen’s boys weren’t able to crack the top three in the team standings, however, finishing fourth with 591 points.Aspen head coach Bill Madsen said his girls skiers saved their best performances for last.”That’s the thing that stands out, that a lot of the girls had their best races of the year,” he said. “That’s really what needs to happen at the state championships. The nordic girls skied really great today and so did the alpine girls.”Wilkinson led three Skiers girls into the top 10 in the classic.

Summit’s Briana Perkins won the race in 16 minutes, 42 seconds – just one second ahead of Vail Mountain’s Karlie Moore. Wilkinson was more than a minute behind the top two, finishing in 17:54.

Aspen junior Brittany Marrs was fifth (18:11), followed by junior teammate Natalie Obermeyer in 10th (18:44).The future certainly looks bright for the Skiers girls, considering all three nordic points scorers will be back next season, as well as the top two alpine finishers Friday, Ryan and junior Olivia Davis.Ryan had a two-run combined time of 1:40.29 in the giant slalom to finish fourth in a race won by Battle Mountain’s Jenny Banner. Banner had a combined time of 1:39.01, and was followed onto the podium by Evergreen’s Keeli Zigich (1:40.29) and Summit’s Erin Breslin (1:40.46).Davis was sixth in 1:42.54. Aspen’s other alpine scorer, senior Abby Mickey, finished 37th (1:57.11).

Madsen said he expects big things from Davis in the years to come.”She’s really been on a tear for a freshman,” he said. “She’s been really consistent. I think high school skiing has helped her with her confidence. Sometimes having success at the high school level gives kids a springboard for whatever they’re involved with. She’s just a real determined girl.”Determined also applies to Britvar, who was dead set on landing on the podium in Friday’s giant slalom after missing third place by just two hundredths of a second in Thursday’s slalom.The sophomore finished third Friday with a combined two-run time of 1:37.54 in a race won by Summit’s Zach Fretz in 1:34.61.”It felt excellent today,” said Britvar. “GS is usually my stronger event, so I was hoping for a good race today. I try to live with no regrets, and that’s how I skied today.”Aspen’s next two scorers were a pair of freshman, Luke Hemming in 25th (1:44.99) and Tyler Nelson in 27th (1:45.71).

Parker skied his best race of the year in the concluding classic race, finishing just six seconds off the pace of Vail Mountain’s Chris Woods, who won in 14:59.Parker was the first of three Aspen racers to finish in the top 10, with Ben Armstrong taking seventh (15:26) and junior Bryce Gordon in ninth (15:29).If all three nordic racers return next season, along with all three of Friday’s alpine points scorers, Madsen said the Aspen boys could vie for another state championship.”We’re really not losing too many athletes,” he said. “We’re not that far off. Some of our freshman boys that skied well will definitely improve, and James has showed he’s got the speed to be on the podium. It’s always impressive that year in and year out Aspen fields a pretty strong team. The other schools have much larger teams than ours, but we’ve just got some great skiers.”npeterson@aspentimes.com


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