VAIL, Colo. March 8, 2021 – U16 alpine skiers from around the region traveled to Crested Butte last week to take part in the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Rocky Mountain Division’s U16 Championships. Over 90 athletes flocked to the resort to take part in two days of competition per gender and three different events: slalom, giant slalom, and super-G. At the end of the three races, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail walked away with 27 of the top ten spots and two podium sweeps.
The men and women kicked off the competition on March 2 and 3, respectively, with a speedy and steep single-run super-G race. SSCV’s Sage Sappenfield locked down her first podium of the week with a third place finish on the women’s side, and teammate Samara Hitt backed her up just off the podium in fourth. SSCV U16 men put on a fantastic performance later in the day, securing all but two of the top ten spots. Tyler Hopkins grabbed gold, Henry Andrie scored silver, and Brady Malboeuf bagged bronze. They were followed by Andrew Gunther in fifth, Gavin Jobson tied for sixth, Nicolas Quintero in eighth, Miles Rucker in ninth, and Jake Stewart in tenth.
On March 4, SSCV women went head-to-head in a giant slalom race in the morning and a slalom race in the afternoon. After two runs, Sappenfield slid into eighth and teammate Madison Milligan ended up in tenth in the giant slalom race. Following a short break, Sappenfield flew down the Buckley slalom course with sharp edges and sharp turns to score herself another bronze medal. Teammate Samara Hitt also landed among the top ten after finishing fourth in her first run and seventh in her second to come out in sixth overall.
“It was great for the SSCV girls to showcase all their hard work this season in a championship event,” said SSCV U16 head coach of women’s core, Lisa Perricone. “They stepped up, and we came out of the week with some really great results and some personal bests. I was really proud of how they performed.”
On the final day of races, SSCV men continued the success they had seen earlier in the week. In the giant slalom event, Hopkins and Andrie once again claimed gold and silver with Rucker taking bronze this time around. Gunther landed in fourth, Stewart in seventh, and Hunter Peterson rose up the ranks to grab tenth place. The afternoon saw SSCV’s Kai Ogawa take home the win and a gold medal in slalom with the fastest run of the day. He was trailed in points by teammates Malbeouf in third, Hopkins in fourth, Stewart in fifth, Erick Strickler in seventh, Rucker in ninth, and Harrison Gayer in tenth.
“The SSCV boys came away with a lot of hardware and more importantly a lot of confidence after this week,” said SSCV U16 men’s head coach, Ian Dunlop. “Sweeping the SG and GS events and collecting two of three top spots in the slalom was huge for us as a team. But the best part was the display of depth this team has – as five different athletes found the steps of the podium.”
For a full list of results go to https://livetiming.usskiandsnowboard.org/
Photo: Ski & Snowboard Club Vail U16 Kai Ogawa on his way to a gold medal in the U16 Rocky Mountain Division Championships men’s slalom race in Crested Butte this past week.