Middle Park takes one individual, one team title at home Alpine meet

Sophomore Rylie Riggs approaches a gate during her first run in the slalom race at Winter Park on Feb. 10.
Kyle McCabe/Sky-Hi News

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the number of Middle Park Alpine racers that will compete at the state meet Feb. 16-17.

The Middle Park High School Alpine ski team hosted its home meet Friday at Winter Park. The slalom races took place on Lower Hughes, a run between The Gondola and Arrow lifts, and saw the Panthers claim an individual and team win.

Junior Olivia Niedzwieck placed first, with runs of 47.04 and 46.49 seconds, totaling 1:33.53. Freshman Ashley Bailey followed closely behind with a total time of 1:35.89, putting her in second place. Sophomore Rylie Riggs rounded out Middle Park’s scoring taking fifth place with a 1:41.15 total time, and freshman Maggie Bellatty placed sixth in 1:43.18.

Junior Olivia Niedzwieck on her first slalom run of the day at Winter Park on Feb. 10.
Kyle McCabe/Sky-Hi News

The Panthers scored 175 points on the girls side, taking the team title with 6 points more than second-place Steamboat Springs High School. Out of 68 skiers from seven schools, the Panthers’ seven racers included five in the top 20, and two who did not finish.

The boys team raced seven skiers as well, but three did not finish and one disqualified on his second run. Sophomore Alex Noerdlinger and freshman Salvador Stokled, who were in first and seventh place after their first runs, respectively, both did not finish their second runs. The boys team finished in fourth place.

Senior Micah Byrum, who signed to play football at Colorado Mesa University four days before the race, led the boys with a second-place finish with runs of 47.27 and 44.86 seconds, totaling 1:32.13. Middle Park’s other two finishers, junior Calvin Ciccarelli and freshman Brecken Payne, placed 21st and 35th with total times of 1:53.22 and 2:22.64.

Senior Micah Byrum knocks down a slalom gate during his first run Feb. 10 at Winter Park.
Kyle McCabe/Sky-Hi News

The last slalom race for the Panthers, on Jan. 20 at Eldora, saw the boys take the team title with defending state champion senior Sebastian Wiser taking the top spot. Garrett Gillest, who placed sixth at last year’s state meet, took second at Eldora. Wiser and Gillest did not race at Winter Park.

Emma Bellatty, who did not finish her fist run at Winter Park, won an individual title at Eldora, but only two of her teammates — Cambree Burke (15th) and Niedzwiecki (did not finish) — raced with her, and the team finished sixth out of seven teams.

The Alpine team has recorded several wins this season in the giant slalom as well. Gillest won at Loveland on Jan. 6, with Noerdlinger (third) and Byrum (fourth) coming in behind him to claim the team title. The Bellattys and Bailey placed second through third to lead the girls to a team title as well.

Gillest won in the giant slalom again at Loveland on Feb. 3, where the team finished third with three racers not finishing.

Middle Park’s Alpine racers only have the state championships left, with giant slalom races Feb. 16 and slalom Feb. 17 at Copper Mountain. Racers qualify throughout the season, and 10 Panther skiers have qualified — five of them in slalom and giant slalom.

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