Middle Park boys ski team wins state Alpine slalom, Nordic classic titles
2 Panthers win individual championships: Sylvia Brower in classic and Sebastian Wiser in slalom
Summit Daily News
This year, the Middle Park Alpine and Nordic ski teams served as the hosts of the 2022 Colorado state ski championships.
The Alpine competition was held at Winter Park Resort while the Nordic races took place at Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby.
The Alpine events got underway Thursday, Feb. 17, with the giant slalom race as Middle Park had three girls and two boys among the competition.
On the girls side, Ashtyn Laraby led the way for the Panthers, placing 35th with a combined time of 2:39.71. Laraby was followed by Lily Smith in 41st place and Lena Moss in 48th.
The boys competed well as Zackary Niedzwiecki and Micah Byrum both placed in the top 10. Niedzwiecki placed fifth with a combined time of 2:08.07 while Byrum placed eighth in 2:08.66.
Kasen Hofsetz and Alex Noerdlinger were entered in the race but did not start.
Also on Thursday, the 5-kilometer Nordic skate race took place at Snow Mountain Ranch, and Middle Park was hard to miss in its purple speed suits as 10 competitors zipped around the marked course.
In the girls race, Sylvia Brower placed fifth overall, crossing the finish line in a rapid time of 18:45.8. Brower was quickly followed by Elizabeth Hammond, who finished in 12th place.
The Panthers third and fourth skiers were Annie Kuhns and Haley Miller, who finished next to each other in the final results in 22nd and 23rd places, respectively.
The final Panthers skier for the girls team was Gabrielle Pellini, who finished 39th among the 62-girl field.
In the boys race, Gray Barker was the top finisher for the team, squeaking in the top 10 with a time of 16:23.6 in 10th.
Dane Jensen was not far behind Barker as he placed 13th with a time of 16:47.8. After Jensen, Ewan Gallagher was next to dart across the finish line in 15th place. Gallagher dipped under the 17-minute barrier with a time of 16:56.5.
The rest of the Panthers’ skiers all finished within the top 25, as Kadin Starr placed 21st and Kyle Vogelbacher placed 23rd.
On the second day, of competition Friday, Feb, 18, the Panthers had several outstanding performances.
In the Alpine slalom competition, Olivia Niedzwiecki matched her brother’s fifth-place performance from the day prior while Sofia Olsson placed seventh.
The Panthers also had freshman Rylie Riggs notch a top-20 performance by placing 16th.
It was junior Sebastian Wiser in the boys race who stole the show, though, as he won the competition with a combined time of 1:25.58. Wiser was in a league of his own on the hill, making the tight slalom turns look effortless.
The Panthers placed three more boys within the top 10 to win the state title in the slalom. James Briggs placed fifth, Garrett Gillest finished in sixth, and Noah Kauffman placed eighth.
In the classic Nordic race, the Panthers also looked strong on their home course as three girls and three boys were able to place within the top 10.
Brower led the Panthers as she won the state title in a time of 19:51.2. Kuhns notched a fifth-place finish, and Hammond placed sixth.
In the boys event, the team raced strong as a pack tucking behind one another on hills to maximize their speed and position.
Barker was the first Panther across the finish line in 16:59.4, good enough for fourth. Jensen placed eighth in a time of 17:309 and was followed by Vogelbacher in 10th. Gallagher finished six seconds behind his teammate Vogelbacher in 11th in a time of 18:07.1.
The pack skiing by the Panthers led to a boys team title in the classic race.
The Panthers concluded the 2022 state ski meet with two individual state champions and two team titles in both Alpine and Nordic.
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