AVSC boarders storm Angel Fire for 28 medals
AVSC’s top snowboarders rode into Angelfire, N.M., to take on the best in the nation at the USASA Snowboard Nationals, held March 23-27, and they came away with a record 28 medals in a show of force across all age groups.
Despite using freestyle gear in an alpine event, Jordan Karlinski took the bronze in the opening dual giant slalom in the 14- to 15-year-old youth women’s division. Matt Boughton was the top Aspen finisher for the youth men’s division in 15th place. AVSC’s Kendra Hoeke finished 13th in the junior women’s 16- to 17 year-old division.
Coulter Young battled his way to the third round of boardercross for the AVSC boys, finishing 11th overall.
Kimberly Wilson advanced to the third round in boardercross and finished ninth, gaining confidence in only her third-ever boardercross “She came in with a great attitude, gave it her best shot and really held her own,” said AVSC snowboard program director Chris Karol. Molly Cooney, the victim of a controversial call for illegal contact on the boardercross course, was relegated to 22nd place overall – despite solid riding.
Morris Hogan performed some boardercross surgery in the 12- to 13-year-old breaker boys division, methodically picking off his competition to advance to the quarterfinals. It was there that he ran into some difficulty. “Mo got caught up when two riders ahead of him collided and he went down pretty hard,” said AVSC coach Travis McLain. Hogan finished 13th overall, and teammate Sam Fightlin battled his way to a 35th place finish for AVSC.
The youth men and youth women divisions, ages 14-15, tackled the boardercross, and hometown ace Teddy Karlinski made the most of it. Karlinski made what AVSC coach Miah Wheeler described as “an amazing move” after an uncharacteristic slow start. “Teddy’s used to starting fast and the start gate wouldn’t drop for him so he was late getting off the line. He started sixth but moved through the field and picked off three other riders in the quarterfinal heat to finish third and advance to the next round. It was phenomenal.”
Karlinski finished with a bronze medal for third place out of 70 riders in the most competitive age category. Also riding for AVSC were Matt Boughton and Jake Kaup. Kaup was eliminated in the second round, finishing 23rd overall, and Boughton made it to the quarterfinal heat and finished 15th.
Teddy’s talented sister, Jordan Karlinski, was illegally pushed by another rider in her youth women’s semifinal heat. The other rider was disqualified but Jordan had to settle for seventh overall. Ayla Angelo rode to a solid ninth-place finish and Kendra Hoeke took 16th for AVSC.
Young riders Molly Wilson and Molly Cooney each broke new ground in the halfpipe event, finishing sixth and 10th, respectively, in the breaker girls division. “Molly Wilson went bigger than any other girl there,” said AVSC coach Sean Lee. “And I’ve never seen Molly [Cooney] ride as big and as smooth as she did. She has this unbreakable style, like she’s on a mission.”
Nine-year-old Madison Bailey took charge in the slopestyle in the grommet boys division, finishing third, only 1.5 points behind the winner. According to coach Chad Thomson, “It was a really bumpy, almost unrideable course, but Madison pulled it out and had huge amplitude and the crowd ate it up.”
On the girl’s side, Molly Cooney threw down an excellent slopestyle run featuring a half cab to frontside 180 to finish sixth for the breaker girls division.
In the dual giant slalom race, Molly Cooney took home third place in the breaker girls division. In the grommet boys event, Coulter Young had two strong runs for a fifth-place finish. Hana Maclean finished in 11th.
Teddy Karlinski struck gold in the slopestyle, beating out 97 other riders. Coach Miah Wheeler called the performance “totally ridiculous.” He added, “I was so surprised. You have to blow everyone’s doors off in order to take the gold. Teddy stood up his first run and made it look really easy.” The result also earned him two gold medals in combined overall (alpine and freestyle) and triple overall (alpine, freestyle and boardercross), as well as a silver for overall freestyle. Jordan Karlinski turned it on for her second slopestyle run, almost doubling her score for a fifth-place finish on the women’s side.
Nine-year-old Coulter Young laid down the law in the slalom to finish second. The finish also earned him a silver medal in overall alpine. Oliver Bacharach claimed a top-10 finish in the giant slalom in the menehune boys division. Molly Cooney took charge for the girls right out of the start, winning both runs to take the gold medal for the breaker girls division. Molly also took first in overall alpine and was rewarded for her efforts in the freestyle events with a third-place combined overall ranking. Right on her heels was Hana Maclean, finishing second in both of her runs. “Hana rode the best I’ve ever seen. She pretty much railed the whole course,” said Karol.
Jordan Karlinski had her best finish in the halfpipe with a fantastic second run for a silver medal. “She went bigger than most of the men. I saw the run and I immediately said – podium,” said Sean Lee. The result earned her two bronze medals in overall freestyle and combined overall categories.
AVSC freestyle skiers also took part in the pipe and park portions of the event. Jon Lafferty grabbed a silver medal in the 16-plus age category in halfpipe. Matt Terral, 14, stepped up to take the silver in slopestyle for AVSC. Matt Walker finished just off the podium for slopestyle in fourth.
Several Aspen adults also made the trek to the nationals and had some impressive success in their age groups. AVSC coach Mimi Liebmann, former AVSC board member Dr. Fred Wilson, AVSC parent and board member Andy Karlinski, AVSC parents Mark Hogan and Archie Maclean and AVSC alum and volunteer Gailen Smith all competed.
Smith ran the table in the Methuselah men’s division, finishing first an amazing five times and walking away with a total of nine gold medals, including the combined awards for alpine, freestyle and overall. Mark Hogan placed fourth in slalom, GS and boardercross in the legend men’s division, enough for a bronze medal for overall alpine. Fred Wilson straightened out the field in the kahuna men’s division, taking home four golds of his own in GS, slalom, boardercross and overall alpine, while Karlinski took seventh in slalom and eighth in boardercross. Liebmann had a fourth in boardercross and another fourth in slalom, giving her enough for a bronze medal in the triple overall ranking. Maclean’s top finish was a ninth place in slalom for the kahuna men.
Sheldon Wolitski’s paradise of puck went from its rudimentary half-rink oval at Crown Mountain to, very recently, a glorious, official-size rink next to the Rio Grande Trail east of Carbondale. The rink opened in November.