Aspen’s Nick Sweeney skis to state title
The Aspen Times
Aspen’s Nick Sweeney likes home cooking.
He also likes winning.
Sweeney won the state title Thursday afternoon in the 5K classic cross country race as the Colorado High School State Ski Championships opened in Aspen.
Teammates Graham Houtsma and Jack Sweeney finished second and fourth, respectively, as the Skiers jumped to the top of the boys Nordic standings after one of two state races.
The high school ski racers will compete in a mass start 5K skate race at 3:30 p.m. Friday on the Nordic trails adjacent to Aspen High School.
The cross country scores are combined with the alpine scores to produce an overall boys state champion as well as a girls team champion.
“My wax was good,” Sweeney said after winning in the individual-start classic race (13:49.2) in front of a large crowd lining the course. “The (snow) was really variable.”
He said his wax allowed him to climb effectively, even as the late afternoon temperatures soared into the high-40s.
Firm and fast
Parts of the course were firm and fast, adding to the challenge, Sweeney said.
“Huge home-course advantage,” he said. “We ski this course 100 times a year. For everyone on our team, this was a huge advantage.”
With a strong USSA racing season as well as a state title, Sweeney said he’s been healthy this season.
“Training day in and day out is the biggest key,” said Sweeney, the son of Shannon and Pam Sweeney.
Colt Whitley of Aspen, recently named to the U.S. Junior National Team, finished 12th on Thursday.
Teammate Ricky Wojcik was 16th
Everett Olson of Aspen was 27th.
Cameron Wolfe of Vail Mountain School won the bronze medal in 14:50.3
The Aspen boys lead in Nordic standings with 176 points after one race.
Vail Mountain is next at 165 while Middle Park (Granby) is third at 154.
Summit High School sits in fourth place with 152 points, followed by Battle Mountain (138), Steamboat Springs (128), Colorado Rocky Mountain School (126), Eagle Valley (117), Lake County (110), Nederland (92), Clear Creek (81) and Evergreen (66).
Alpine — Quinton Cook
Battle Mountain started fast in Thursday’s giant slalom at Aspen Highlands with senior Quinton Cook winning the individual state championship.
A multiple state champion in slalom, Cook won his first state GS crown Thursday, posting the fastest time in both runs on the Golden Horn-Thunderbowl course at the Stapleton Training Center at Aspen Highlands.
Britt Walton of Steamboat Springs finished second in the two-run combined-time race. Cook won in 1:27.66; Walton posted a 1:29.32.
The bronze medal in boys giant slalom went to Colin Suszynski of Evergreen (1:29.96).
Aspen was led by freshman Reed Beidleman, who made the top-10 in his first state meet by finishing 10th in 1:33.87.
He also earned all-state honors for the Skiers as a top-10 state finisher.
Teammate Alec Ilic, also a freshman, finished 18th in the state GS.
Sydney Slossberg finished 22nd for Aspen.
“(The second run) had some tricky sections,” said Cook, who will race in the slalom Friday at Highlands. “It was definitely a little more open and faster. I was able to charge a little more.”
The snow on the course held up well, he said, in spite of warm temperatures Thursday.
“There was some very nice snow for today’s event,” said Cook, a senior who’s still considering his college options — including skiing options.
Steamboat Springs took the boys lead in alpine with 166 points from the GS.
Battle Mountain is second behind Cook’s win and a fourth from Luke Vickerman and 20th from Bryce Runckel.
Evergreen is third with 159.50 points, Nederland is next with 142 followed by Aspen at 136.
Summit is next at 125.
Friday’s slalom races will feature the first run at 9:30 a.m. and the second run at 12:30 p.m.
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Two years have passed since the AHS mountain bike team has had the chance to defend its championship. But the wait ends this weekend in Durango, the final races of the Colorado Cycling League season. Competing as a composite team with Basalt, there is belief a repeat championship is within reach.