Steamboat moguls skier ends career on a win before heading to championships
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — In her final regular season competition with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Riley Hodges picked up her first-career win in the women’s dual moguls competition at the Rocky Mountain Divisional Championships at Copper.
In the same event, her teammates Anabel Ayad and Carina Creamer respectively earned second and third, joining Hodges on the podium.
“Duals, it’s a little different, it’s a little bit more out of your control, who you’re dueling and stuff,” said head coach Ann Battelle. “It was really great for her to lay down run after run. She picked off three of her teammates, because it’s head-to-head, then came away with a win. It was pretty cool to also see the girls be 1-2-3.”
In the singles competition, Ella Walker finished second, making up for a less-than stellar first run with a “dazzling” second run to make the podium.
“That was a big deal for her,” said Battelle. “With that finish as well as having the pressure. ‘Okay my first run wasn’t as good, if I want to get on the podium I have to up my ante.’ And she did. She skied really well.”
Right behind her, Anabel Ayad took third. Creamer finished fifth, Hodges earned sixth, while Katie McLaughlin finished a career-best ninth.
At the awards banquet after the competition, Ayad was named the rookie of the year. In her first season in the Rocky Mountain Division, she was consistently in the top 10.
Steamboat also learned they won the Telluride competition a few weeks ago, collecting the most points as a team.
As for the boys, Xander Tatar-Brown earned 12th, while Chris Stone took 31st and Misha Jensen placed 36th. In duals, Tater-Brown earned a podium finish, earning a personal-best second-place finish.
“The thing about duals, is you have to lay down run, after run, after run,” said Battelle. “You have to keep winning to advance. I think that to be first or second, you had to lay down four runs. So for Xander, consistency becomes so important. … In full disclosure, they weren’t perfect (runs), but they were better than the guy he was skiing against, and that’s what’s important.”
Five moguls skiers will compete in the Junior National Championships at Winter Park on March
13-15. Tater-Brown, Ayad, Walker, Creamer and McLaughlin will all make the trip. Ahead of that, Creamer is competing in a Nor-Am race in Killington, Vermont.
This weekend, Battelle will find out which of her athletes will compete at the National Championships at Squaw Valley in mid-March.
All SSWSC athletes are in the middle of the championships season.
Next week, Howelsen Hill will host the U14 Alpine junior championships from March 10-14. Fifteen athletes will participate in the event. The week of March 17-21, Howelsen Hill will be home to the Nordic combined and ski jumping junior championships in which 15 Steamboat athletes will participate.
This weekend, 11 Steamboat athletes are traveling to California to compete in the cross county junior nationals.
The Alpine U16 athletes will conclude the U16 Junior Championships at Winter Park on Sunday, March 8.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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