Houtsma wins 5K skate race in Leadville
The Aspen Times
The Aspen High School Nordic ski team is gearing up for the state championships, scheduled for Aspen on Feb. 25-26.
The Skiers wrapped up the regular season with the Lake County Invitational, a final Colorado High School Activities Association state qualifier in Leadville.
Graham Houtsma of Aspen High School skated to another first place finish last weekend to lead the Skiers.
Aspen freshman Colt Whitley finished ninth. Everett Olson, also a freshman, finished 22nd.
“In the girls race, Adair Patillo had a great race and placed seventh,” Aspen coach Travis Moore said, “while senior Kim Sandbach took a hard fall on the downhill and ended up 27th.”
Anna Belinski was 31st place for the Skiers.
“We took only about one-half of the high school team because we wanted a group to have their sights set on the Junior Nationals in March,” Moore said. Those skiers will compete in the RMN Championships in Minturn this weekend as well as the State High School Skiing Championships in Aspen on Feb. 25-26.
“The group that did go (to Leadville) skied excellent (races) on a challenging course that had its share of demands,” Moore said, describing a long climb at the start and some very icy downhills along with a pair of short, steep climbs.
“I think it was the first time in my coaching career that I saw racers actually side-stepping down a hill, with a few who even elected to take their skis off and walk down safely,” Moore said.
The Aspen Middle School team, including skiers from Aspen and Spring Gulch, competed in the 3K event in Leadville.
For the girls, Kate Oldham was fifth and Eva McDonough was ninth.
Elizabeth Barnes was 12th, and Stefani Wojcik was 16th.
In the boys race, Lucas Schramer finished second, George Beck was sixth, Cole Kennedy was 12th, and Caden Klein finished 13th.
Fully aware he was in the midst of the mountain bike race of his life, Aspen’s John Gaston said he “tried to not think too far ahead” to prevent the magnitude of the moment from getting to him. He eventually finished runner-up in the iconic race.
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