The boys J5 group boasted the most competitors of the multi-age contest, and it also boasted the strongest results from Team Telluride. Telluride racers claimed an almost clean-sweep of the J5 top ten, taking all but four places in both the morning and the afternoon’s events on both Saturday and Sunday.
Samson Schuiling sped to three podium finishes over the weekend, finishing 2nd Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, then again stood on the podium taking the bronze Sunday afternoon. Max Dwight was close on his heels in all events, taking 3rd Sunday morning and adding a 5th place and a 6th place finish as well. Will Plantz added to the J5 mix, taking a 4th, 6th, and two 7th place places. Meanwhile, J5 teammates Finley Bailis, Lyons Brown, and Chandler Bennett rounded out the J5 boys top ten in all of the weekend’s races.
While Telluride’s J5 boys went home laden with ribbons, the girls J5 contingent finished the weekend similarly decorated – with ribbons as well as some shiny hardware to hang from their mantles. Anna Fake opened the weekend by winning the girls J5 race, after crossing the finish line in 34.20. She finished the weekend with two more bronze medals. Ebba Green also achieved podium finishes, taking 2nd and 3rd on Saturday and another 3rd on Sunday.
“Almost all of our athletes were in the top ten in both races every day, so overall it was a really great weekend for the whole team,” said alpine coach Kevin Riley of Telluride’s 9 and 10-year-old J5 racers. He added that not a single J5 from Telluride posted a DQ all weekend, which is a significant feat in and of itself. “To make all the gates and finish all the races, at that young of an age, is quite an accomplishment,” he said. He noted that first-time racer Morgan Omar even snuck into the top ten over the weekend, finishing 10th on Saturday.
While Telluride’s J5 competitors definitely had a little swagger in their post-race walk, with so many competitors making the trek up and down the podium, the team’s older racers also had much to be proud in Crested Butte. J4 competitors Jack Plantz, Lawson Omer, Malcolm Major, and Tagert Mueller all took among the top ten skiers, while J3 Hayden Fake finished with a 4th and two 5th places.
Telluride’s J4 girls’ saw podium finishes from Mikaela Balkind and Griffin Mueller on Saturday (finishing 2nd and 3rd, respectively), another podium place for Mueller on Sunday (3rd), as well as several top ten finishes for Katherine Bush. Telluride’s Marina Marlens broke into the J3 girls’ top ten as well, posting her best, 3rd place result on Sunday afternoon.
TSSC alpine program director Mike Bowman, who is currently attending a race in Keystone with some of the team’s older racers, was encouraged by his younger racers’ results. “Telluride stood on the podium quite a bit in Crested Butte – they all did a great job,” he said.
Telluride’s young up-and-coming racers will race on home turf next month, February 7-8, when Telluride hosts a slalom event on Competition Hill. TSSC is looking for volunteers for this race; along with a free lunch and lots of race watching, volunteers will receive one complimentary lift ticket. To volunteer, contact the TSSC office at 728-6163.