The Junior Championship Qualifications were held in Park City this past weekend and local Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) trounced the competition. The magnitude of this race for the U14 racers is large and their accomplishments were certainly no small feat. The racers were out there competing against the best Intermountain Division USSA racers. Teams from Jackson Hole, Sun Valley, Romark Academy, Bogus Basin Beaver Mountain, Snowbird, Ogden Valley, McCall, and multiple others were present at the race. There were over 100 boys competing in the race and SSCV had eight boys in the top ten finish. After watching the SSCV boys come down the hill, coaches from other teams told Brett Borgard, SSCV’s head boys Coach, “that is how you are supposed to race”. By competing so well in an out of division race, these athletes discovered that there is some talent in the Rocky Mountain Division and they are clearly part of that talent.
“We decided to race out of division at Park City and they allowed us to race against their best. We had qualification race to pick the kids who would travel to this race,” say Borgard. The qualification process had been season long and the kids proved that they deserved to be out there. The selected the top six girls and top six boys from a slalom time trial that was held at the end of December on Golden Peak. The second way racers qualified was by landing in the top six at the Bolle Age Class Race in early January at Beaver Creek. Finally there were 3 more spots for the girls and the boys judged by coach’s discretion. “It is really great to see how the SSCV kids stand against the best of the Intermountain Division racers,” says Borgard.
The course out at Park City was the longest giant slalom course the racers had skied all season at 300 meters of vertical drop and 45 gates. The girls skied well at the race, but the boys didn’t miss a beat. SSCV’s Bridger Gile had two aggressive and fast runs landing him in first place with a combined time of 2:20.77. Behind Gile were his temmates Colby Lange in second, Jacob Dilling in third, Brendan Keane in third, Benjamin Koolman in sixth, Reese Irwin in seventh, Flinn Lazier in eighth, and Peer Carnes in 10th.
Day two proved just as successful for both the boys and the girls. Lange bumped up his ranking from the day before and ended in first followed by Dilling in second, Keane in third, Gile in fourth, Patrick Ottley in sixth, Koolman in seventh, Carnes in ninth, and Mathew Macaluso in 10th. On the girls end Gretchen Pavelich ended in fourth place followed by Zoey Livran in eighth and Michaela Strizencova in tenth.
The team went to another division and showed the other racers that they meant business. Look out for these exceptional athletes in the years to come as they are surely developing into some of the best.