AVSC’s youngest racers finish strong at Sunlight | AspenTimes.com

AVSC’s youngest racers finish strong at Sunlight

GLENWOOD SPRINGS Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club’s youngest racers saved their best for last at the J5 finale March 17-18 at Sunlight Mountain Resort.Up against the top 8-10 year old skiers from the Rocky Mountain Division, AVSC’s Andrew Hancock, Colby Lane, Roy Benge, Matt Gregory and Galena Wardle all picked up podium finishes.None of AVSC’s boys or girls captured a medal in Saturday morning’s giant slalom, but five skiers finished in the top 10. Hancock was the highest finisher in fourth, followed by Benge (5th), Gregory (6th), Ben Throm (7th) and Henry Woodrow (8th).Elise Cranmer was tops among the AVSC girls, finishing 27th among the field of 74.In the afternoon GS, Hancock’s blistering run netted him the gold, and Benge won the bronze. Hancock’s winning time was more than two seconds faster than the silver medalist – an eternity in ski racing.”After the morning run Andrew came up and told me he could have been so much faster,” J5 coach Willie Volckhausen said in a club news release. “I told him to pull out all the stops and he went for it. … Visually Roy had the cleanest run of the day. It was one of his strongest performances of the year.”Gregory turned in another strong result as well, finishing sixth. Wardle bounced back from a disappointing morning run to finish sixth overall in the afternoon – and first in her J6 age class. At 8, Volckhausen said Wardle has a bright future.”She’s unbelievably mature for her age, and she’s competitive because she spends so much time on the hill,” Volckhausen said. In Sunday’s morning slalom, Lane streaked to the silver and Gregory – another impressive 8-year-old – had his first podium finish, taking the bronze (first for his J6 age class).”Colby was disappointed after two falls in the giant slalom earlier,” Volckhausen said. “I told him to relax and ski the way he knows how and it worked.” Volckhausen relayed Gregory’s nonchalance regarding the results.”Matthew got to the bottom, skied into the finish and had no idea where he finished in the standings,” Volckhausen said. “He just shrugged and asked his dad if he wanted to go freeskiing instead of waiting around for the announcement.” Tanner Spence was AVSC’s only other top 10 finisher, in sixth place.”Tanner has worked really hard in training to improve his technique and it paid off for him at the right time,” Volckhausen said. Elise Cranmer (25th) and Valentina Gregg (28th) led the way for the AVSC girls out of a field of 71 in the morning slalom.”Both Elise and Valentina have great attitudes and are fun to be around,” Volckhausen said. “They’re improving every day and I can’t wait to ski with them again next year.”Lane wasn’t satisfied with his morning silver, and took over the top podium spot in the afternoon with another beautiful slalom run.Andrew Hancock was hot on his heels to take the silver medal, and Gregory just missed the podium in fourth place. “More consistent skiing from our top guys. I can’t say I was surprised by the results,” Volckhausen said . “Our team has real depth. There are probably 15 boys who are at the top of the heap in the division, and eight of them ski with AVSC.”Spence grabbed another sixth place finish in the final race. Wardle shined again while racing against older competition in the afternoon girls slalom, finishing with the silver.”She’s one of the best girls out there and skis like she’s four years older,” Volckhausen said. Wardle’s teammate Sophie Dasaro had her best finish of the weekend in the same race, in 19th.”Sophie gets after it, and as soon as she starts skiing super G and downhill, watch out,” Volckhausen said. “She’ll be on the podium for sure.”

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