SSWSC Alpine skier Olson wins overall title at U16 nationals
Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Alpine skier Abby Olson won the overall title at U16 Alpine Nationals this week at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine.
She had four top-10 finishes including a victory in slalom, propelling her to the top of the overall standings and earning her the title of national champion.
“I didn’t know that I would win,” Olson said. “I had a feeling I would be in the top five. I was pretty happy. It felt pretty good knowing all my hard work this season has paid off.”
Making her victory all the more notable is the fact she’s a first-year U16 skier, so she not only defeated older skiers, but can return next year and try to repeat the feat.
“It identifies what an incredible skier she is in our country,” said Alpine Technical Director and U16 Head Coach Ben Brown.
Olson has been unstoppable in slalom all year. She won the Rocky/Central Regional slalom race and finished second in the overall a couple weeks ago in Steamboat Springs. Going into nationals, she just wanted to do her best and get some top-ten finishes.
Brown’s favorite race for Olson was her least glamorous finish, a sixth-place mark in giant slalom.
“She actually nearly crashed and slowed down in the first run of giant slalom and she was sitting in 22nd, 23rd after first run,” Brown said. “She won the second run by a lot and moved up to sixth place. That performance for me is what really sealed the overall for her. She only won the overall by three points.”
Olson said much of her success comes from the support she gets from her teammates and coaches, one of whom is her father, Brian Olson.
“He is one of my coches on the hill, but he also supports me as my dad,” Olson said. “I get both sides of the spectrum, and he pushes me harder because he knows what I’m capable of.”
A Steamboat skier won every girls race, as Mollie McTigue was the victor in the super-G and giant slalom. She also finished 22nd in the slalom. She ended up third in the overall standings.
“She is pretty fearless as far as I can tell,” Brown said of McTigue. “I think she skied without much fear of failure. She was just going out there and she was going to try to win the race.”
Additionally, Noelle Roth finished fifth overall and Katherina Cosby was 31st.
The boys were led by Adrian Beauregard, who finished second in the SkillsQuest Challenge and fifth in the super-G. He ended up sixth overall.
“After winning the overall at regionals, I was excited to see how the West and the East squared up against us, and Rocky was pretty dominant,” Beauregard said. “It just shows that what we’re doing works.”
He also competed in the team dual parallel slalom event, in which he and Olson helped a pair from Summit take third.
Adrian’s brother Caman finished 10th overall, thanks to a fourth-place finish in super-G. He was also 31st in slalom and eighth in SkillQuest. His favorite race was GS, though.
“That’s just my event in general. I got third in the first run and (did not finish),” Caman said. “I definitely had potential in that first run. … To perform, you really have to bring your skiing to the next level because you’re with the best athletes in the country. You just got to put it all out there.”
Caman went in with the thought that nationals is a bonus competition. No longer did he have to qualify for anything. He had the luxury of just going out there and doing everything he could in that one race without having a negative effect on the future.
Caspian Troan earned eighth in giant slalom and 16th in slalom, which helped him take 20th overall. Curtis Zanni finished 13th overall, thanks to a 15th-place finish in slalom and fourth in the SkillsQuest.
Brown was happy but admitted that the guys left a little out there on the course. Thankfully, both Beauregards are first-year U16 athletes and will have a chance to get back to U16 nationals next year.
“That’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Brown said. “I think it’ll help to motivate them this summer. I think they are all capable of podiums.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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