Two days at the derby |

Two days at the derby

Photo caption: Coach Pat Callahan (chest hair), George Rodney and

AVSC’s alpine racers capped their competitive season April 22-23 at the Loveland Derby.More than 600 racers ages 8 to 23 from across the country skied slushy, rutted courses. The all-slalom event has become legendary for its large, open field and a laid-back spring atmosphere highlighted by the costumes of athletes and coaches.On Saturday, AVSC J5 racer Devon Cardamone pulled off what coach Pat Callahan called “one of the best recoveries I’ve ever seen” to finish fifth in his age class.”Devon came out of a turn, hit a rut and slid 15 feet on his side, and somehow his skis caught the snow, which shot him directly back up on line for the next gate,” Callahan said. “Unbelievable.” Cardamone followed that with a 10th place Sunday.”He had another great first run but bobbled a bit in the second run,” Callahan said. Fellow J5 skier Andrew Hancock was 17th Saturday but made a strong move Sunday to finish ninth.

“Andrew put together two great runs against some deep ruts,” Callahan said.Teammate Henry Woodrow was 24th out of a field of 39 J5 racers Saturday.Both Ilona Schwartz and Julia Ristine finished in the top five in the J5 girls division both days. Schwartz had a bronze and a silver, and Ristine placed fifth twice.”Ilona kept training hard until the last day of the season and it really paid off,” Callahan said. “Julia is simply a very solid skier.”First-year racer Keile Kropf was 12th Saturday and 11th Sunday.J4 racer Bobby Moyer got off to a fast start Saturday and won the first run by more than a second. He suffered a second-run crash when, as Callahan said, “the ruts and slush caught up to him.”Moyer rebounded with a silver on Sunday propelled by another blistering first run. “Backing off is not in Bobby’s game plan,” Callahan said.

J4 teammate George Rodney showcased speed and consistency with a sixth-place finish Saturday and a fourth on Sunday. Newcomer Teddy Benge placed 22nd out of 73 racers on both days wearing a dress that drew comparisons to the one Dorothy wore in “The Wizard of Oz.”For the J3 girls, Kate Mickey cracked the top 20 both days with an 18th-place finish Saturday and a 13th Sunday. Teammate Hannah Hemming had a tough Saturday but rebounded to finish 25th Sunday. “It was great watching both of them develop into solid ski racers this year,” Callahan said.Senior racer Gillian Hearn’s ranking allowed her to be a “rabbit,” starting in the top 15 on both days. Hearn finished eighth among seniors Saturday, then put down a blistering second run to finish fifth overall Sunday.”She absolutely killed her second run and beat the field by two-tenths of a second,” coach Ben Black said. “Gillian beat some of the top NCAA racers, including CU’s Lisa Perricone and the University of New Mexico’s Amy Beresford, with some textbook slalom skiing.”Gillian’s sister Jenny posted some fine results in J2, finishing 17th Saturday before slipping to 26th after a tough bobble on her second run Sunday.Christina Van Moorsel scored key points by moving up from bib No. 71 to finish 48th and 59th out of a field of 150 racers. Teammate Mandi Loucks from Grand Junction finished 53rd Saturday.

“Each of them finished the season on a high note,” Black said.Toby Lamar was the rabbit in the senior men’s field, which was so large it took two races. Lamar finished fourth and 11th, on the heels of U.S. Ski Team member Drew Roberts, on Saturday. Lamar then finished 11th and fifth Sunday. “It was a pretty stacked field of talent, including some ex-World Cup racers and current NCAA and U.S. Ski Team skiers,” Black said.Lamar recently accepted a full skiing scholarship from the University of Colorado. J2 racer James Haldeman and finishing 52nd and 44th after starting with bib No. 70.”James kept up his speed and his technique has steadily improved this season,” Black said. Teammate Sam Cofffey started 37th Sunday and finished 25th.”You’ll be hearing more from both of these guys in the future,” Black said.Also, AVSC PG racers Darrin Gilman and Jason Christopher posted top-20 results, with Gilman finishing 19th and Christopher finishing 20th Saturday. Christopher was 19th Sunday.

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