AVSC J3s face top competition in Winter Park | AspenTimes.com

AVSC J3s face top competition in Winter Park

Aspen Times StaffAspen, CO Colorado

WINTER PARK Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard School’s J3 alpine skiers had a taste of top-flight competition when they headed to Winter Park for a Smartwool Series giant slalom Jan. 20-21.The club’s young athletes weren’t fazed by a field that included members of Denver University’s ski team and six of the NCAA’s best, and, along with their more experienced teammates, figured prominently in the final standings.First-year J3 Katie Ryan put down a solid run to finish 17th overall, seventh among J3s and second among racers her age. “[Ryan] is skiing at a very high level right now and is already one of the top J3s,” alpine coach Alice Milu said in a club news release.Teammate Kate Mickey (29th) cracked the top-30 and took third among first-year J3s.J2 Mandi Locks finished seventh overall Sunday and third for her age class. Teammate Alex Maple’s 21st was her best Smartwool Series result ever. Ryan overcame a fall on her first run Sunday to finish right behind Maple in 22nd. J3 Mallory Meloy, too, had a bobble during her first run but scored well in her first Smartwool Series race. Meloy, who lost her balance coming across the finish, finished 34th overall and fifth among first-year J3s.Things did not go as smoothly for the AVSC boys. Craig Carlson logged the best result, finishing 15th overall. The club’s next best result was James Haldeman in 34th. Sunday, J1 Jericho Hajduk attacked the course en route to a 13th-place overall finish; he was second in his age class. Haldeman took 21st overall, and J3 George Rodney beat out every other competitor his age. Rodney started in 69th after the first run, but improved to 27th overall – the best improvement of anyone in the field. Teammates Micah Evonitz (37th), Tyler Nelson (34th), Indy Lane (38th) and Luke Hemming (37th) all finished in the top 40 Sunday.