Strong showings across state for AVSC-Alpine
It’s been more than three years since an AVSC-Alpine skier wore the yellow bib that signifies the overall leader for a race series.
But this week, not one but two AVSC men, U16 Dexter Edelman and U21 Devon Cardamone, proudly sported the alpine leaders’ bibs for their respective series.
Edelman was ranked tops in the Smartwool standings, while Cardamone is the leader among the Surefoot series competitors.
“We haven’t had that since I’ve been here,” said AVSC Alpine Director Greg Needell.
Both men turned in strong performances over the weekend that complemented their breakout seasons.
Edelman, who is a first-year U16, recorded a silver medal finish in a super-G at Beaver Creek on Jan. 23; he followed that up with top-10 finishes in a pair of technical races at Vail over the weekend.
“Dexter works very hard, and he had some really good results last weekend. He’s lined himself up to qualify for the (U16) championships,” Needell said.
Cardamone is also having a great month.
In early January, he won three of four races at Aspen Highlands, and was second in the race he didn’t win.
During a Jan. 24-26 series at Steamboat Springs — where the team raced at Howelsen Hill and Mount Werner — Cardamone finished on the podium in two of the three competitions.
Overall, the ability-class racers fared well during the Steamboat series with Julia Mueller-Ristine winning a slalom and finishing second in another slalom.
In two races, teammate Caroline Winslow finished among the top five.
U18s Sydney Henegan, Andrew Hancock and Ben Throm each won races in Steamboat while Colby Lane landed on the podium, and first-year U18 racer Sky Kelsey finished fourth in Saturday’s race.
AVSC sent a small but mighty squad to the weekend U16 series at Vail where Edelman’s teammates, fellow first-year U16 Cooper Cornelius as well as Tristan Lane, skied well, Needell said.
Lane, who is currently second in the overall Smartwool standings, took a silver medal in Saturday’s giant slalom.
He finished third in the Sunday slalom.
Cornelius was 11th in the GS and eighth in the slalom.
“Cooper is very driven. When it’s race day, he knows it’s race day, and he’s ready to put it down,” Needell said.
Another standout from the Vail races was first-year U16 skier Anna Patterson, who took fifth in the GS and 10th in the slalom.
Also last weekend, AVSC’s U14 alpine team traveled to Breckenridge for super-G races.
Devan McSwain won the final speed event by a margin of more than one second. She also had a third place and seventh-place finish.
Earlier in the month, McSwain won all four races in a Winter Park series.
Needell said that while McSwain is a “really good skier with a nice touch” she is now taking her technique to the next level.
“Devan is starting to learn how to apply the right line in the right situation,” he said.
Other AVSC-Alpine teammates, including Liv Clauss and Elsie Clauss, also competed for wins in conditions described as “very tough.”
Joining the sisters in the top 10 was Aspenite Mariel Gorsuch, whose best finish was a seventh place Saturday.
Margo McHugh, whose best result was 16th, also merited a shout-out from the coach.
On the men’s side, Jack Bowers was second in Saturday’s super-G, and led teammates Stian Davenport, Myles Pember and Jake Bassi who finished seventh, 12th and 15th, respectively.
Needell said that some of the late starters, including Myles Pember, faced not only challenging course conditions but difficult visibility as well.
“That was an awesome result” Pember put down, the coach said.
In Sunday’s men’s race, Stian Davenport finished eighth, and Jake Bassi was 13th.
Two leader bibs and a handful of podium finishes have a way of providing some satisfaction to athletes and coaches alike.
“I’m really happy with the results. Obviously we can train more, train harder and do things to step up our performance,” Greg Needell said. “But the performances were really strong, from the FIS guys to the U14s.”
Ella Johnson gave thought to the risk when she decided to close out her senior year at Glenwood Springs High School playing soccer and make a bid for another shot at the Class 4A state track meet podium finish.
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