20-plus Sailors head to state skiing championships | SteamboatToday.com

20-plus Sailors head to state skiing championships

Steamboat Springs High School Nordic skier Rush Rusher pushes up the big hill during a home event on Saturday, Jan. 15, at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center. Rusher is one of more than 20 Sailors who qualified for the state championships Thursday, Feb. 15, and Friday, Feb. 16, in Winter Park.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

The Colorado High School Activities Association’s state skiing championships take place in Winter Park on Thursday, Feb. 17, and Friday, Feb. 18, and Steamboat Springs will be well represented.

There will be 14 Alpine skiers and 12 Nordic athletes competing for Steamboat at state, led by Wren Capra, who is currently ranked high enough to be named to the all-state second team.

Capra not only qualified in both classic and skate skiing, she’s ranked No. 12 overall among Nordic skiers in the state. The top eight skiers are considered all-state skiers, and the next eight are second-team all-state.

If Wren has a good race at state, that should hold strong. If she has a great race, she could be named to the all-state team.

“It’s a pretty big deal too,” said Steamboat coach Jesse Wilkins. “This is the first year she’s skied with us, and she’s only a sophomore. It’s a pretty big accomplishment for anybody, especially a sophomore.”

Successful underclassmen are not rare on Steamboat’s ski teams. Freshman Novella Light and sophomore Tinsley Moore also qualified for state, as did sophomores Aspen Bennett-Manke and Kelsey Cariveau.

“I think it shows we have a really strong future and the girls that made it are the girls that are really putting in the work in practice, and that’s how they’ve been able to catch on,” said Wilkins. “That’s basically what it is, is all of those girls are some of the most dedicated skiers on our team.”

Sophomore Connor Frithsen is one of three Nordic guys headed to state. He’s young but emerged as a consistently strong skier for the Sailors. Also heading to state for the boys is Thomas Reilley and senior Rush Rusher.

“He’s had by far the best season he’s ever had,” Wilkins said of Rusher. “He’s come a really long way over four years in basically every aspect of him being on the team.”

Seniors Annie Hager and Catcher Weynand will lead the girls team at state.

The Alpine team has a great balance of experience and youth, led by seniors Ellie Blair, Caroline Baur and Erika Sjoblom.

Three members on the girls team suffered ACL tears this winter, so the girls will have to reach to place in the top five.

“For them, it’s each one going out to give their best race,” said coach Mike Farny.

The boys, on the other hand, finally figured out their inconsistency issues and five qualified for state last weekend.

Steamboat Springs High School skier Ellie Blair took fifth at a slalom race at Howelsen Hill on Thursday, Jan. 13.
Shelby Reardon/Steamboat Pilot & Today

All year, the boys have been skiing far too aggressively and skiing off the course about halfway down. Farny used a few drills to get skiers to see the bigger picture, learn when to hold back and when to regain some time.

Now, they are equipped for the longest giant slalom course they’ll see all year on Thursday, followed by a speedy slalom course on Friday, where the Steamboat skiers typically excel.

“Everyone is skiing the best they’ve skied all year right now,” Farny said. “It’s fun seeing it all come together. The boys team has the potential to be very strong. If they really ski well, a third place would be a big reach. Top five, somewhere between third and fifth would be reasonable, I think.”

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