Novocain or not, Hearn leads way at Loveland |

Novocain or not, Hearn leads way at Loveland

- From the Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club

The 2002 ski-racing season ended on a high note as the racers of the Aspen Valley Ski/Snowboard Club brought home a slew of medals and other top results from the annual Loveland Derby. In what has proved to be one of the team’s strongest years in recent history, the skiers from AVSC had a very successful season, capping it off last weekend at the Derby.

Over 400 racers from around the country competed in the two days of slalom at Loveland, with four different races running simultaneously.

Perhaps the most amazing results of the weekend came from Gillian Hearn. Competing against a very strong field, including the University of Colorado ski team, Gillian was on her way to a top result in Saturday’s slalom. But about halfway through her second run, she took a gate across the face, knocking out two teeth. Bloodied but unbowed, the 16-year-old Aspen High student managed to continue down the course for a sixth-place finish.

“I just wanted to finish. I was more upset with getting slowed down then I was about losing the teeth” said a valiant Hearn. “I’m mad that the accident cost me a better result.”

After spending Saturday evening in the ER, Hearn returned on Sunday, and full of Novocain, raced to a fifth-place finish.

Coach Robert Baker said, “Even after losing a tooth, Gillian never stopped smiling. She has such a great, competitive attitude and an amazing spirit; she never even considered not racing the next day. She made such an amazing impression upon all the other coaches and athletes.”

On the race course for girls ages 10 and under, 9-year-old Joanna Coffey notched a fifth-place finish on Saturday, and moved up to the podium on Sunday, skiing two great runs to earn the silver medal. On the boys side, James Britvar (another 9-year-old), scored two top-10 results, finishing in eighth on Saturday and seventh on Sunday.

Competing against over 80 girls, Jenny Hearn narrowly missed out of winning a medal as she had two fourth-place finishes in the girls 11-and-12-year-old races. Haley Lambert and Katherine Fahy both had great results, with Lambert finishing in 14th and 13th and Fahy coming in 14th on Sunday.

The Aspen boys dominated the 11-and-12-year-old division, garnering five top-10 finishes on the weekend. First-year racer Stephen Buzbee stunned the crowd by winning Saturday’s race. Standing in second after the first run, he blazed the second run to claim the gold. Sam Coffey just missed the podium on Saturday, finishing fourth, but he stepped up to the podium on Sunday, getting the bronze medal. Harry Maniloff had two top 10s with a sixth on Saturday and a 10th on Sunday. Rookie Ryan Webster made a mistake in Saturday morning’s run, which took him out of the running for the victory, but he finished second to Buzbee in the afternoon run.

“It was pretty awesome to watch our guys scorch the field in that second run,” said coach Pat Callahan.

In the 13-and-14-year-old division, Brandon Briscoe continued Aspen’s winning ways as he skied away with the victory on Saturday. His teammates all joined him in the top 20, with Paul Britvar finishing eighth, Jackson Davis in 12th and Tim Woods in 16th. A small mistake cost Briscoe the victory on Sunday, but he recovered in time to earn the silver medal. Davis had a fantastic day, coming in fourth for his age group. Britvar was again eighth, with Woods in 10th.

For the girls ages 15-and-older, Bo Jaymes Forster had a great day against older and more experienced racers. On Saturday, with over 90 racers competing, she finished 13th for her age. On Sunday, she recorded a 20th-place finish.

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