Steamboat’s McCawley lands title in his final Alpine ski race at Colorado State Championships | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat’s McCawley lands title in his final Alpine ski race at Colorado State Championships

Steamboat Springs ski racer Andrew McCawley races to a state title in the slalom event at the Colorado High School Skiing Championships Feb. 24.

— A million thoughts raced through ski racer Andrew McCawley’s mind as he stepped into the starting gates at the top of Howelsen Hill for his final run at the Colorado State High School Skiing Championships Friday afternoon.

The Steamboat Springs senior won the first run and was sitting in the top position, with a chance to bring home an individual state title in the slalom race. But there are two runs in a slalom race, and they both count.

Men’s slalom results:

1) Andrew McCawley, Steamboat — 1:26.15

2) Trey Thorpe, Aspen — 1:27.94

3) Michael Resnick, Vail Mountain — 1:28.36

4) Alex Coffey, Steamboat — 1:28.94

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5) Trig Campbell, Nederland — 1:31.14

6) Shane Cole, Vail Mountain — 1:31.87

7) Peer Carnes, Vail Mountain — 1:31.95

8) Chad Mulligan, Evergreen — 1:33.26

9) Luke Bailey, Platte Canyon — 1:34.67

10) Colin Suxzynski, Evergreen — 1:35.02

24) Wyatt Reynolds, Steamboat — 1:44.76

"A lot of times you will put down one good run and the other will not be as good, and the lead will slip away,” McCawley said. "I'm glad I survived that course because a lot of people were going down."

In the moments before he pushed out of the gate, McCawley said he considered taking a conservative approach to the race. He considered playing it safe, but in the end, he just couldn't do it.

"Normally I ski a little more conservative. I knew this was going to be my last race ever, so I just wanted to put the hammer down and have a solid run."

The plan paid off as McCawley laid down the second-fastest, second-run time for a combined total of 1 minute, 26.15 seconds. He topped Aspen's Trey Thorpe, who was second at 1:27.94, and Vail Mountain's Michael Resnick, who placed third at 1:28.36.

McCawley's teammate Alex Coffey just missed the podium after surviving a couple of wild runs to placed fourth at 1:28.94.

"I was all over the place," Coffey said. "For some reason, that's kind of how I like to ski. It makes it more fun for me."

The two Steamboat skiers had both skied into the top-five after the opening run and then held their positions on a challenging course that threw many of the state contenders off their game.

"The run didn't feel too good," McCawley said. "It was a really tough course. It was kind of swingy, and the surface was super hard. I was really happy that I put down two runs."

Pietras rebounds in slalom race

Ella Pietras wasn't about to let a rocky start to this year's state skiing championships ruin her week.

On Thursday, the Steamboat Springs freshman was sitting in sixth place after the first run of the giant slalom but fell on the upper section of her second run and did not finish. But the young ski racer said she quickly put that moment behind her, and on Friday, she returned to the race course and finished fifth in the slalom event in her first Colorado State High School Skiing Championships.

Women’s slalom race:

1) Trinity Chelain, Battle Mountain — 1:35.52

2) Margo McHugh, Aspen — 1:36.50

3) Haley Frischholz, Battle Mountain — 1:36.55

4) India Cardamone, Aspen — 1:38.47

5) Ella Pietras, Steamboat — 1:38.55

6) Whitney Merriman, Vail Mountain — 1:39.12

7) Estelle Sweeney, Aspen — 1:39.77

8) Maddie Jo Robbins, Durango — 1:40.28

9) Delaney Pratt, Nederland — 1:41.01

10) Kiana Brausch, Battle Mountain — 1:41.70

23) AnnMarie Hackworthy, Steamboat — 1:50.21

24) Lily Van Ness, Steamboat — 1:51.12

38) Amy Speer, Steamboat — 1:56.23

"I did good on my first run, but I crashed on my second,” Pietras said of her giant slalom race. “I was really disappointed, but I put everything I had into this race.”

The finish highlighted a strong showing for the Sailors on the final day of the state championships. Her teammates AnnMarie Hackworthy was 23rd, and Lilly Van Ness was 25th. Amy Speer, a junior who led the team in the giant slalom, placed 38th and senior Alessandra Peliari did not finish.

The Sailors will not contend for a state title this season, but the future looks bright as Pietras, Hackworthy and Van Ness are all freshmen and Speer is a junior.

"I'm hoping that we will get bigger … I'm hoping that we will have more skiers join us next year and that we can just keep growing," Pietras said. “This has been a lot of fun and I would recommend it to anyone."

The battle for the state title also took centerstage during the girls slalom on Friday as Battle Mountain, Aspen and Vail Mountain School all had skiers near the top of the pack. Battle Mountain gained the most as Trinity Chelain edged Aspen's Margo McHugh for the slalom title.

"Today was a huge accomplishment for me …. I've been working my way up my whole life,” Chelain said. “I went from like 80th (starting position) to first, so i just goes to show if you work really hard at something you love you can actually accomplish it."

Chelain finished the race in a time of 1:35.52, but McHugh was hot on her heels at 1:36.50. Battle Mountain's Haley Frischholz was third at 1:36.55, and Aspen's India Cardamone was fourth at 1:38.47.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

Men’s slalom results:

1) Andrew McCawley, Steamboat — 1:26.15

2) Trey Thorpe, Aspen — 1:27.94

3) Michael Resnick, Vail Mountain — 1:28.36

4) Alex Coffey, Steamboat — 1:28.94

5) Trig Campbell, Nederland — 1:31.14

6) Shane Cole, Vail Mountain — 1:31.87

7) Peer Carnes, Vail Mountain — 1:31.95

8) Chad Mulligan, Evergreen — 1:33.26

9) Luke Bailey, Platte Canyon — 1:34.67

10) Colin Suxzynski, Evergreen — 1:35.02

24) Wyatt Reynolds, Steamboat — 1:44.76

Women’s slalom race:

1) Trinity Chelain, Battle Mountain — 1:35.52

2) Margo McHugh, Aspen — 1:36.50

3) Haley Frischholz, Battle Mountain — 1:36.55

4) India Cardamone, Aspen — 1:38.47

5) Ella Pietras, Steamboat — 1:38.55

6) Whitney Merriman, Vail Mountain — 1:39.12

7) Estelle Sweeney, Aspen — 1:39.77

8) Maddie Jo Robbins, Durango — 1:40.28

9) Delaney Pratt, Nederland — 1:41.01

10) Kiana Brausch, Battle Mountain — 1:41.70

23) AnnMarie Hackworthy, Steamboat — 1:50.21

24) Lily Van Ness, Steamboat — 1:51.12

38) Amy Speer, Steamboat — 1:56.23