Aspen taking 16 Nordic skiers to state |

Aspen taking 16 Nordic skiers to state

Nate Peterson

The bus will be full today when Aspen High’s boys and girls nordic teams head off to the state meet at Winter Park.That’s because the Skiers qualified 16 racers – seven boys, nine girls – during the season, which should bode well for the chance for to take home a team title Saturday. The classic race for both the boys and girls is today, before the respective mass-start freestyle races Saturday.The Skiers boys also have a good shot at taking home a second straight state championship – which combines points in nordic and alpine – following the team’s seventh last year at Keystone. Since Aspen had only two girls qualify for this weekend’s races in alpine, a state title for the girls team is out of the question.The Skiers’ main competition in the boys nordic races will be Summit. The Tigers finished runner-up to Aspen last season for the state championship, and this season Summit has consistently finished ahead of the Skiers in both classic and freestyle.”We’ve been battling it out the whole season,” said coach Travis Moore. “They’ve pretty much beaten us by one point or two points in every race. I’m hoping our guys can move up and edge them out. It’s going to be super-close.”Junior captain Noah Hoffman, who finished seventh in last year’s freestyle race, has consistently been the Skiers’ top finisher all season. Hoffman just returned Wednesday from a two week trip to Norway, Sweden, Finland and Estonia, where he competed against some of the best junior nordic racers in the world at the Scandinavia Cup. Moore doesn’t expect his best skier to suffer ill effects from jet lag.”I think he should be fine,” he said. “He’s been trading leads all season, but typically he’s first or second in every race. I expect the same on Saturday.”Freshman Scott Lacy should also be in the mix for a podium spot. Lacy recently won the 5-kilometer classic race at the Junior Olympic Qualifiers in Park City, Utah, and was second in the freestyle race at the same event.”He’s been a powerhouse for years,” Moore said. “Last year he qualified for Junior Olympics, and he wasn’t even old enough to go. He’s been awesome all season long.”Junior Ryan Waldron has consistently been Aspen’s third-fastest finisher this season. Moore said Waldron has always had the talent to be a great nordic racer but had not fully devoted himself to reaching his potential until this season.”He’s really gotten motivated, and he’s really hoping for a top-five finish this weekend,” Moore said. “He’s got a good motor and great technique.”The other Aspen racers who will compete are freshmen Whit Parker, sophomores Nate Marrs and Barton Tofany, and freshmen Dane Kornasiewicz.For the girls, junior captain Laura Hatanaka will be looking to earn a spot on the podium with sisters Brittany and Briana Perkins of Summit. Brittany, a senior, won both the classic and freestyle race at state last year and is expected to do the same this weekend.”She’s pretty much a machine,” Moore said. “She’s always so far in front, but we’re hoping Laura will pull off a really good race and end up in the top three.”Behind Hatanaka, sophomore Cornelia Carpenter and freshman Lindsey Wilkinson have been Aspen’s two strongest finishers. Carpenter has made her mark in classic, while Wilkinson has been strongest in freestyle. “Cornelia’s had some real issues with skate skiing, because her foot has been bothering her,” Moore said. “She’s been really struggling.”The other state qualifiers are freshman Brittany Marrs, sophomores Analise Greuter, Abby Mickey and Natalie Obermeyer, junior Katie Bird and senior Kelly Bogaert.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is


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