Winter Sports Club's alpine ski team looks to end season on strong note

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Deb Armstrong, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club’s Alpine ski director, said the strength of her program can’t be defined by a skier or even a race.

“No individual part ever tells the whole story,” she said.

Still, she said those parts are adding up to a top season as the squad closes in on the end of the year. The club’s Alpine skiers recorded a number of top finishes at various championship events, and Armstrong hopes for more in the coming week.

Serena Kidd had one of the best results so far, placing eighth in the slalom at the U18 National Championships in Mammoth, Calif.

She followed that up with a 30th-place showing in the downhill Monday. Jill Jennerjahn was 15th on Monday, Chandler Sedberry was 22nd, and Vreni Lupear was 25th. On the men’s side, Nick Veth also secured a top finish, placing eighth. Devin De Jong was 56th.

The U18 event continues today with the super G.

Steamboat also showed well at the U16 championships in Beaver Creek last week.

There, Zack Monson had the top Steamboat result, grabbing second place in the slalom and fourth in the giant slalom, faltering only in the super G when he missed a gate.

Logan Sankey placed 14th in slalom, while Perri Meeks was 10th in super G.

The U14 championships, meanwhile, run this week in Winter Park, and the Winter Sports Club skiers have big expectations after a strong run-up to the event.

Nine skiers qualified for the championships in a Crested Butte race that featured a gigantic field of skiers. Madeline Bocher was sixth in slalom and eighth in super G, Margaret Dickson was eighth in slalom, Taylor Olson was 10th in slalom, and Cole Puckett was eighth in slalom.

Trey Seymour and Dickson, meanwhile, both placed first in the Skills Quest competition, a first-year U.S. Ski Team-backed program designed to heighten the skills of young Alpine racers.

Riley Smith was second in one slalom and fourth in another, and was fifth in GS at the Skills Quest. Cooper Puckett, competing up from his usual U10 class, was third in both a GS and a slalom and fourth in another GS.

“The Skills Quest is extremely important,” Armstrong said. “The U.S. Ski Team has made it a pivotal program in what they want us to focus on in the development of athletes. We’ve always worked on developing skills, so I like that where we’re coming from is consistent with what the Ski Team is pushing with Skills Quest.”

Puckett also shined when competing against racers his own age at a Skills Quest competition at Powderhorn. He won both runs of a GS event Saturday, then won a slalom Sunday.

Ryli Adrian was fifth in GS and picked up a fourth and a pair of sevenths in two slalom races. Jordan Simon was ninth and 10th in GS races, Riley Smith was fifth in a slalom and Emi Cooper was ninth in another.

Alden Wade was fifth, Colin Kagan was seventh and Brooks Overstake was 10th in the U10 boys slalom, while Annika Ort was sixth on the girls side.

Nico Richeda and Kyler Armstrong each placed second in U12 boys slalom races. Bode Flanigan had a sixth, Jake Olson had an eighth and Jack Rotermund had a 10th in the same races. Abi Berlet was fourth in the U12 girls slalom.

“I’m extremely pleased,” Armstrong said. “It’s a marathon, this journey. Nothing tells the whole story, but all these things can paint a picture. The number of athletes we got to the U18 championships is a part of that picture. Our success at Skills Quest is a part of that picture. I’m very pleased with what we have going on.”

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