The USSA racing season is just about wrapped up. For alpine athletes, the USSA series is the best way to break into the scene of competitive racing. At the beginning and middle of March, each age class has the championship race where all the prequalified athletes from the division compete. The Central/Rocky Divisions U16 racers just had their championships race in Beaver Creek this past weekend. The USSA Marriott Junior Championships used to be the Junior Olympics but has since changed due to technicalities. While the U16 racers were at Beaver Creek, the U10/U12 championships were underway at Powderhorn and for the fourth year in a row SSCV came out on top.
With over 280 racers at the event in Powderhorn, the best racers were out in full. Cleo Braun was the star of the weekend winning both the giant slalom races and both the slalom races. It was an exceptional performance for the young racer and she ended up beating roughly 130 girls in every race. Saturday was giant slalom for the young athletes and Sunday was slalom. “Saturday’s GS conditions were brutal. The snow, fog, and wind made it so you could only see three gates in front of you. The slalom competition had gorgeous weather on Sunday. Having coached for many years, I’m always amazed how strong these young athletes are skiing,” said SSCV’s alpine youth program director Rika Moore.
Despite the tricky conditions during Saturday’s GS races, the SSCV team performed well. Preston O’Brien won the first competition of the day by more than a full second. Henry Heaydon followed behind O’Brien placing third. Fletcher Holm placed fourth for SSCV U12 boys followed by Kellen Kinsella in seventh, and Zane Worrell in ninth. During the second boy’s GS race of the day, a lot of the same fast crew made it into similar positions. Heaydon skied to an impressive second place followed by O’Brien in third, Kinsella in seventh, and Holm in ninth.
The girl’s skied as strongly as the boys and SSCV had a handful of athletes in the top ten. Braun won race number one of the day, as well as race number two of the day. By winning every single race of the weekend, Braun made a clear statement to all the other best racers in her division letting everyone know she came to compete. Following Braun was Kaitlyn Harsch in fourth, SSCV’s Anwyn Urquhart in sixth, Samantha Trudeau in seventh, and Caroline Jones in 10th.
Sunday’s slalom races kicked off with perfect blue skies and a course slipped and ready to race on. O’Brien raced to a great win in the first slalom race of the day. SSCV’s Heaydon skied as strong as usual in the first slalom race of the day ending in third. There was a SSCV run from the local skiers after Heaydon with Holm in fifth, Regan Wallis in sixth, and Kinsella in seventh for the U12 boys. In race two of the day for the boy’s Heaydon placed first followed by Kinsella in second, Holm in fourth, Wyatt Hall in seventh, Worrell in eighth, and Wallis in ninth.
The girls slalom started out with Braun racing to a first place finish by roughly one second. Braun’s mother used to race at a World Cup level, and it shows that the racing skills have been passed down the line to Cleo. Following Braun was Amanda Norvell in third, Meriel Upton in fifth, SSCV’s Allie Resnick tied with Harsch for sixth, and Jones in the eighth. It was Braun in first for race two, Harsch in second, Upton in fourth, Jones in sixth, and Kate Kirwood in eighth.
With all the great results from the young racers, SSCV was named the fastest U10/U12 program in the Rocky Mountain Division.