SSWSC athletes wrap up season with strong performances
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Over the past two weeks, athletes in the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club have competed in their season-concluding events. As usual, Steamboat competitors put up impressive performances.
At U.S. Nationals at Aspen Highlands, SSWSC U16 and FIS coach Garrett Driller took third overall, while Cooper Puckett took 13th overall. Pucket finished 18th in giant slalom, while teammate Jay Poulter finished 15th, and Jordan Simon earned 20th. In the super combined standings, Puckett earned 10th overall and second in the junior classification. Poulter was 13th in super combined.
The Steamboat women were led by Sequoia Anstine who took 17th in downhill and 26th in Super G, 23rd in the combined event.
In a season that coaches and athletes expected to end at any moment, SSWSC competitors logged more training than ever, something that left alpine coach Ben Brown pleasantly surprised.
“This was possible thanks to our amazing partnerships with the Steamboat Resort, the city of Steamboat Springs, Howelsen Hill, Copper Mountain Resort and Timberline Ski Area in Mt. Hood, Oregon. All of these organizations worked incredibly hard to be able to provide us safe and world class training environments. By training more and racing less, our athletes developed strong fundamentals that will serve them well in the long run.”
In U14 and U16 skiers competed in the first Campbell Sullivan Cup earlier this month. Abby Olson finished second and fourth overall, and Logan Grosdidier took eighth and 11th overall, and Noelle Roth earned a top-10 finish.
Jeremy Nolting finished third and fourth as Thomas Mennen reached the podium with a second-place finish. Ian Haupt just missed the podium in fourth, and Alex Orozco took fifth and seventh, and Roman Elvidge finished seventh.
The racers then went to the Loveland Derby where Roth finished first and second in the pair of races. Olson also impressed with fifth- and seventh-place finishes.
In place of U16 nationals, a dozen SSWSC Alpine skiers attended a regional training project in Breckenridge this week.
“Unfortunately, our athletes were not able to compare themselves to the best U16’s from the other regions and countries,” said Brown. “They will get their chance next season, though.”
Earlier this month, the freeskiing big mountain athletes attended the Rocky Mountain Freeride Series Regional Champs, an invite-only event for athletes in the region. The younger athletes, 12-4, competed first, with Gage Adrian taking 16th, and Darian Squires earned 34th. Ellie Reynolds and Ivy Ladrow had “impressive lines into an awesome cut,” according to coach Matti Hill, but he crashed on their final cliff drops.
On day two, athletes 15-18 competed, highlighted by August Menetre, who topped off a fast line with a 360, earning him 14th.
Freeskiing program director Tony Lodico said the pandemic forced him to move away from old habits and find new, refreshing approaches to training.
“The most surprising element of this winter was how excited kids were to train and be in a social environment,” he said. “Specifically. at the start of the year in the fall, I saw more joy than I have ever seen to come to training and run up a hill.”
In the only FIS snowboardcross race in Colorado this year, SSWSC athletes excelled. On day one and two of competition, Cody Winters took second, and in the national championships, he earned silver. After back-to-back 17th-place finishes on day one and day two, Jacy Werner placed 13th in the national championships. Nick Pierce snuck into the top 20 on the final day and Ben Carpenter took 32nd.
Kendall Harrington fifth on day one, sixth on day two and sixth in the championship race. Sarah Keck took eighth, 10th and seventh on championship day.
“We’re stoked on the results,” Snowboard Program Interim Director Maddy Schaffrick said. “And stoked the committee was able to pull an event off with heat racing; everyone able to race together in heats on the same course, opposed to single time trials.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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Of 44 Alpine athletes nominated for the 2021-22 U.S. Alpine Ski Teams, three hail from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.