Millard, Grabb strong in Sailor Alpine team’s lone home race | SteamboatToday.com

Millard, Grabb strong in Sailor Alpine team’s lone home race

Ben Ingersoll

Micah Gibbons, a brand-new Alpine skier this time last winer, took ninth overall in the boys state qualifier slalom on Friday at Howelsen Hill.

— Steamboat Springs High School senior McKenzie Millard may have been the happiest prep Alpine skier at the base of Howelsen Hill on Friday.

The senior’s smile said it all. The smile meant a successful home event for the Sailors, their only competition in town of the season. More than anything, Steamboat coach Jim Winn said, Millard’s smile reflected slalom confidence that is finally translating into success on the course.

Millard threw down a pair of solid runs — the second run of 43.57 being more than a second faster than the first — and secured herself a podium slot, finishing in third place behind Summit’s Ellie Brown-Wolf (10th in 2014 state slalom) and Battle Mountain’s Haley Frischholz.

"I felt awesome today," Millard said. "I didn’t really expect to start the season this strong, to be honest."

Millard, the girls team captain, finished less than 2 seconds behind Brown-Wolf’s top two-run time and comfortably edged out Aspen’s Elena Felace, who finished in fourth place.

Joining Millard in the Steamboat top 10 was Lindsey Adler who shrugged off a 47 second first run to finish eighth overall. Mariah Hoots came in 21st place, and all three finished in the top 30 percent of the season’s first slalom race, punching their tickets for that discipline at Keystone’s state championship next month.

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"It was really nice to have some home-snow advantage because we ski this every day," Hoots said.

Katie Brodie finished in 41st and Steamboat disabled freshman skier Paige VanArsdale completed her two runs in 57th.

Even more home-snow advantages were felt on the Sailors’ boys team, where some Steamboat skiers were jumping way up on the leader board and impressing their coach.

Rio Grabb paced all Steamboat boys Alpine skiers, using a two-run time of 1:31.23 to take sixth place overall.

"Rio was so excited," Winn said. "He’s been hard on himself about slalom skiing and I was really happy to see him up there."

Micah Gibbons, a Soroco student who was brand new to Alpine skiing this time last winter, took ninth overall.

"Last year, Micah barely qualified for state and it was his first time ever around a gate, period," Winn said. "Now he’s ninth in a high school race. That’s amazing."

Senior Channing Conner had a stellar first-run time of 43.81, good enough for fourth overall, but ended up sliding off line and hiking twice in Run 2, but he still finished in 14th place to secure his ticket to state. Charlie Fisher finished in 19th place and is expected to also have a state championship slot, Winn said.

The boys were skiing Friday without their captain Riley Brodie, who took a fall in Thursday’s practice and is awaiting results from the doctor on his injury.

River Ludwick made strides, Winn said, and finished in 31st.

The Sailors boys and girls still have a few more slaloms and a giant slalom to qualify more skiers to state. Steamboat Skimeisters (Alpine and Nordic racers) have a Nordic competition in Minturn on Saturday.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll