Steamboat’s Haerter just misses GS podium as Nolting, Ferucci win big on final day of junior champs
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Every U16 male skier came off the second giant slalom run frustrated, groaning and slouching to express their disappointment.
“We’re all doing it,” a racer sympathized.
A delay ahead of the flats before the finish was making the skiers carry less speed across the finish. They hated it. Speed is everything, especially when competing in the Rocky/Central Junior Championships.
Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Daniel Ferucci, the leader going into the second run, was warned about the delay. He knew how to handle it.
“Oh, he’s going so much faster than me,” said Vail’s Carson Hume, who sat in first as Ferucci came into the finish. Hume was right. Ferucci was going faster than everyone else. His efforts in giant slalom earned him first in the event, his second victory of the week.
“I just had the mindset I had to attack to win,” Ferucci said. “Especially before the second run, I was pretty nervous. There were a couple guys pretty close to me; I kind of took it away that run.”
Both Ferucci and teammate Jeremy Nolting won twice over the course of the week, so it was no surprise when Nolting was named the overall winner and Ferucci, a close second.
Steamboat’s Nick DeMarco finished fourth, Thomas Mennen in seventh and Alex Orozco in 10th. No other team had five contenders in the top 10 overall standings.
“This is a particularly strong group this year,” SSWSC U16 coach Ben Brown said. “It’s kind of bounced back and forth between Vail and Steamboat the last several years. It seems to be tilted in our favor a little bit right now. It’s good for the region to have such healthy competition. It helps lift and make everybody better.”
Four Steamboat female skiers competed in the U16 championships this week and all four had at least one top 10 finish.
In Friday’s giant slalom event, Lauren Haerter earned the third-fastest first run. After crossing the finish line for the second run, she collapsed in pain, having hooked her arm on a gate midrun. She persisted to the finish line and ended up taking fourth, adding to fifth- and second-place finishes from earlier in the week.
Rylee McLouth was one spot out of the top 10 in the giant slalom, adding to her list of achievements for the week. She also earned third in downhill.
“I had a good start of champs with my downhill,” McLouth said. “I wish I could have done better in super-G, but I crashed. In (giant slalom), I messed up at the bottom, but I’m pretty happy with my result.”
Noelle Roth was attacking the course so hard Friday, she stumbled and missed a gate in the top third of the giant slalom race. She was on track to finish high in every race. She tied for first in the women’s super combined, took fourth in the super-G and 11th in downhill.
Elena Dziura finished 18th on Friday, but her best finish came in the super-G where she took 10th.
“It’s not as big a group as the boys, but they have tremendous potential as well,” Brown said. “They’re every bit as focused and working every bit as hard. They have that strong sense of team. I know they’re motivated to keep improving and finish the season strong in the spring races.”
Despite not finishing the giant slalom race, Roth still earned seventh in the overall standings. Haerter’s effort earned her sixth overall and McLouth took 12th.
“I think my team did amazing,” said McLouth. “I know the boys took a top-five sweep in the super combined, which was really amazing for our team. I’m really proud of just everyone because I know that they really pushed themselves since we all got into champs this year.”
Top 3: 1. Daniel Ferucci, SSWSC, 1:35.58. 2. Carson Hume, SSCV, 1:37.16. 3. Nick DeMarco, SSWSC, 1:37.29.
Steamboat finishers: 6. Thomas Mennen 1:37.54. 9. Alex Orozco 1:38.03. 13. Ian Haupt 1:38.75.
Top 3: 1. Tommie Jo Springer 1:33.03. 2. Kyleena Lathram, SSCV, 1:33.94. 3. Nicole Wordley, LSC, 1:34.96.
Steamboat finishers: 4. Lauren Haerter 1:35.03. 11. Rylee McLouth 1:35.52. 18. Elena Dziura 1:36.69.
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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