The USSA Marriot Junior Championships kicked off this week in Beaver Creek. The best U16 racers in the Rocky and Central divisions came out to compete in the annual showdown. The qualification process for the event has been season-long and this is the culmination of their hard work. 180 racers competed, and will compete for the remainder of the week, on the Centennial course at Beaver Creek.
On Tuesday, the racers took to the downhill course with one of Vail’s very own coming out as the winner. Wednesday marked another day of racing with the men and women’s super g races.
The weather was perfect for the downhill race on Tuesday with clear Colorado skies. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s (SSCV) Abigail Murer has really come into her own this year and has been putting down clean, and fast, runs all season. Last year at the Junior Championships Murer placed second in the downhill. This year she was looking for more. Murer won the downhill by half a second. SSCV was on fire in day one of the competition placing five athletes out of the top six in the women’s category.
Following Murer in second place was United States Team Academy racer Storm Klomhaus. Then came the SSCV run with Heidi Livran in third, Sasha Horn in fourth, Camilla Trapness in fifth, and Rachael Desrochers in sixth. These girls have been skiing well all season and will more than likely be on the podium for the events to come this week. In seventh place was Madison Ostergren from central divisions Northwestern Alpine Academy. In eighth place was Galena Wardle from Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club. Abby Leinfelder from Mt. Lacrosse placed ninth, and in 10th was Kate Hanson from Afton Alps Team.
The men’s downhill field was composed of fast veteran racers and future Olympic hopefuls. Aspen racers had a great day with Tristan Lane placing first followed by Sky Kelsey in second. Steamboat Springs racer Zack Monsen made his way to a third place finish in Tuesday’s downhill. In fourth was SSCV’s Logan Martin. River Radamus who races for the United States Team Academy placed fifth. Following Radamus was Mt. Lacrosse racer Eric Johnson in sixth, Aspen’s Luke Prosence in seventh, Winter Park’s Adam Freeman in eighth, SSCV’s Luke Vickerman in ninth, and Loveland Ski Club racer PJ Fourie in 10th.
Wednesday was another gorgeous day for racing. The skiers took full advantage of the perfect conditions by skiing as competitively and aggressively as ever. Early Wednesday morning, the male and female racers took to the super g course, also located on Centennial. SSCV’s Livran had an incredible day of racing and skied to a first place finish on the super g course. “I have really been sticking to my game plan this season as far as making sure I have been getting rest, and that I’m training hard enough. I was a little nervous that the course felt a bit tight at the beginning of the day. This is my best result of the year so far, so I’m really happy,” said Livran.
The other SSCV racers, as well as local Colorado girls, had a strong performance in the second day of racing. Klomhaus showed her consistency and ended in second two days in a row. Following Klomhaus were SSCV’s Desrochers in third, and Murer in fourth. Megan McGrew from the US Team Academy had a great race and finished in fifth followed by Aspen’s Wardle in sixth, Hanson in seventh, Loveland Ski Club’s Cassiopeia Suzuki in eighth, Trapness in ninth, and Steamboat Springs racer Perri Meeks in 10th.
Radamus was the overall winner of the men’s super g event on Wednesday. Radamus grew up training in the SSCV program and is now training with the US Team Academy in Park City. “Everything went well today, it was a fun course and a great setup. Through the team academy I have gotten a ton of opportunities that I haven’t had before. Ski Club Vail is still going to be my home team, but I have been enjoying training with the U.S. Team Academy,” said Radamus. Look out for Radamus for the rest of the remainder of the championships.
Kelsey made the top ten again in day two’s super g followed by Lane in third, Prosence in fourth, Freeman in fifth, SSCV’s Martin in sixth, Johnson in seventh, SSCV’s Vickerman in eighth, SSCV’s Paul Cuthbertson in ninth, and Kyle Negomic from Loveland Ski Club in 10th. These top ten racers beat out 70 other racers to earn their great overall finishes.
It would come as no surprise that some of these athletes could be training for the Olympics in a few years time. Come out to watch and cheer on local favorites in one of the biggest U16 races of the season. The giant slalom (GS) races start Thursday, on Bear Trap, for the women and Friday for the men. Saturday will finish the event off with men and women’s slalom. If you can’t make it out to watch the action in person, make sure to log on to livestream.com to see all the action. Awards are held at the base of Beaver Creek next to the centennial lift at the end of the day.