Aspen High alpine team opens season with boys and girls sweep at Highlands
The Aspen High School alpine ski team opened its season Friday at Aspen Highlands, coming away with team wins for both the boys and girls in their lone home meet of the season.
The AHS girls had eight athletes finish inside the top 16, led by senior Mariel Gorsuch, who won the girls giant slalom with a two-run combined time of 59.52 seconds. Aspen junior Estelle Sweeney was third (1:00.48) and senior Devan McSwain was fourth (1:01.31). Durango’s Analise Gates was second (59.57).
Also finishing in that top 16 for Aspen were junior Tate Randel (eighth, 1:02.40), sophomore Summer McSwain (ninth, 1:02.72), freshman Edie Sherlock (10th, 1:02.93), senior Kajsa Sutro (14th, 1:04.61) and junior McKenna Kiker (16th, 1:05.26).
The Aspen girls are two years removed from winning the overall state title — combined alpine and Nordic — and are the defending state champions in alpine. They took third combined last season.
Gorsuch is the reigning giant slalom champion, having edged out teammate Margo McHugh at last year’s state finals in Steamboat Springs. McHugh is not competing on the high school team this year to focus on higher-level FIS races.
“We are incredibly hopeful for a state championship this year, especially because we’ve built a boys team,” AHS alpine coach Jennifer Morandi-Benson said. “And also from what I can tell, Nordic is building their team again. So we have a good shot.”
The Aspen alpine boys were equally as strong in their season-opener at Highlands, finishing with seven Skiers in the top 11. AHS senior Heath Colon won the giant slalom with a two-run time of 57.40 seconds. He edged out Vail Mountain School’s Michael Resnick (59.97), last year’s GS runner-up at state.
Finishing third was Aspen sophomore Max Godomsky (58.45), fourth VMS’s Robert Harnick (58.68), fifth Aspen junior Ethan DeMoraes (59.41) and sixth Aspen junior Reed Beidleman (59.57). Also in the mix for Aspen were freshman Davis Colon (ninth, 1:00.95), J.P. Simpson (10th, 1:01.48) and junior Alex Ilic (11th, 1:02.80).
Aspen’s top returning male skier, junior Trey Thorpe, is currently sidelined with injury. Thorpe was third in GS and second in slalom at the state meet last winter.
The AHS alpine team is next scheduled to compete today in Steamboat Springs. The original season opener had been scheduled for Jan. 5 at Ski Cooper, but the meet was rescheduled because of a lack of snow. The Skiers hope to make up the meet during their bye week ahead of the Feb. 22-23 state skiing championships, also at Ski Cooper.
Aspen Nordic finishes third, fourth in season opener
The Aspen High School Nordic ski team got its season started on Saturday at a meet hosted by Steamboat Springs High School. The AHS girls finished third behind Battle Mountain and Steamboat, while the boys finished fourth behind Battle Mountain, Lake County and Steamboat.
Eva McDonough led the AHS girls by taking seventh in the 5-kilometer classic race with a time of 20 minutes, 30 seconds. Battle Mountain’s Lizzy Harding won the race in 19:03. Aspen’s Kylie Kenny also recorded a top-15 finish, taking 14th in 21:46.
Henry Barth led the AHS boys, taking fourth in 17:26. Battle Mountain’s Nicholas Apps won in 16:22. Aspen’s George Beck (12th, 18:26), Andrew Humble (15th, 18:36) and J.P Viola (16th, 18:38) also finished in the top 20.
The AHS Nordic team is next scheduled to compete Saturday at a meet hosted by Battle Mountain.
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The Skiers’ latest victim was Vail Mountain School on Monday, a 67-47 non-league rout inside the AHS gymnasium. It was the second time the teams had played in less than a week, as AHS also won in Vail last Tuesday, 40-28. Aspen is in position to possibly host a playoff game next week.