AVSC racers find podium at J-4 Junior Olympics in Steamboat
Eleven ski racers from the Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club competed in last week’s Chevy Trucks J-4 Junior Olympics in Steamboat, and returned with some impressive results, including a silver and bronze medal for 11-year-old Charlie Lasser.
The top 11- and 12-year-olds from the Rocky Mountain and Central regions competed in the three days of racing, including one super G and two slaloms and giant slaloms. All told, 150 athletes from eight states raced in the championships.
On the first day of racing, Tim Woods and Charlie Lasser scored top-10 results in the boys super G held on Mount Werner. Woods came in sixth, closely followed by Lasser in seventh. First-year racer Stephen Buzbee stunned the crowd by finishing in 15th. Other top results were posted by Harry Maniloff (31st), Ryan Webster (33rd), Wiley Maple (35th) and Harry Maniloff (38th).
Jenny Hearn raced to a ninth-place finish in the girl’s super G, followed by teammates Jacqui Edgerly (32nd) and Christina Van Moorsel (44th).
AVSC coach Pat Callahan set the giant slalom course the next day, and Aspen racer Charlie Lasser took advantage of the familiar course set. He skied a nearly flawless run, earning the silver medal behind Alex Gruber of Summit County. Other top-20 results were achieved by Matthew Tapper (11th), Harry Maniloff (16th) and Buzbee (17th). Teammates Wiley Maple finished in 33rd and Sam Coffey was 38th.
Lauren Lockwood of the Central Division won the girls first giant slalom race, and Jacqui Edgerly had the top AVSC result, finishing 20th.
The second giant slalom race saw Lasser finishing in 10th, with rookie Buzbee continuing his string of top results in 13th. Another first-year racer, Ryan Webster, also cracked the top-20.
AVSC coach Erica MacConnell noted “most first-year racers have very little chance of even qualifying for the Junior Olympics, and these two rock stars are getting top-20 results in a field of 95 racers. The scary thing is that they are only going to get better with more experience.”
Wiley Maple skied a solid run to earn a 34th place finish, and Harry Maniloff and Tim woods both finished in the 40’s.
On the slushy girls course in the afternoon, Jenny Hearn scored another “first page result,” finishing in 12th. Jacqui Edgerly again cracked the top-20 with a 19th-place finish. Christina Van Moorsel improved upon her prior day’s result, coming in 36th.
Saturday’s slalom races were held at Howelson Hill, and saw another top-10 finish for Jenny Hearn, as she raced to ninth place in the first race. Edgerly came in 18th in the first race and 22nd in the second. Van Moorsel skied to 40th- and 44th-place results.
On the boys course, there was another fifth-place result for Tim Woods. Charlie Lasser got his fourth top-10 of the week by finishing in eighth. Stephen Buzbee finished 19th in the first race, and was well on his way to a top-10 result in the second race before sliding out on the bottom of the course. Ryan Webster skied into 21st, with teammate Harry Maniloff recording 25th and 30th place results. Sam Coffey continued to improve on every run. After scoring a 72nd in the super G, Coffey got better every day, finishing 25th in the first slalom, and blazing to 14th in the second slalom.
In the overall scoring, Lasser rode his consistent results to third place overall.
“What an amazing accomplishment,” said coach Scooter Steinbrecher. “Charlie is only eleven, and most of the top competitors are a year older and more experienced. To come in third overall against such a strong field is amazing.”
As for the rest of the team, Jenny Hearn ranked 14th, Tim Woods was 11th, Matthew Tapper 24th, Stephen Buzbee 25th and Sam Coffey 29th.
At the end of the week, Jenny Hearn won perhaps the most important award. In the giant slalom she finished fourth, but missed a gate on the course. The race officials did not notice her error, so she disqualified herself.
Because of this, she was awarded the coveted Sportsmanship Award.
“Sportsmanship is such a key value to the AVSC,” said head age-class coach Pat Callahan, “and what Jenny did epitomizes the attitude that we love to see in our racers. It was a great way to cap off an outstanding week of ski racing by our athletes.”
AVSC J-3s represent at Jr. Olympics
Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club’s J-3 ski racers competed in the Junior Olympics at Winter Park in early March.
For AVSC’s Jackson Davis, Hanna Nelson and Paul Britvar, it was their first appearance at the J-3 Junior Olympics. Brandon Briscoe made his second trip.
Briscoe had a great slalom result considering he made a mistake on his first run that cost him a top-10 finish; he finished 13th.
“The kids have really progressed this year,” said AVSC coach Robert Baker. “They’ve come a long way and I’m looking forward to watching them advance further next season.”
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Skico CEO Mike Kaplan emphasized in a virtual address that this upcoming skiing season will be as spread out as possible with limited personal interaction in order to avoid potential COVID-19 infections and keep the mountains open.