PCST contests speed event at Snowbasin
Travis captures a first, while others podium
Snowbasin Ski Resort hosted the second qualifier for the Intermountain Division (IMD) Under-14 (U14) of alpine ski racing Feb. 3-5. Over 200 racers competed for three days in the speed discipline of Super-G. Athletes hailed from all over the IMD Region (Utah, Idaho and Wyoming), including racers from Mt. Hood Academy in Oregon and Peak Ski Racing Academy in Australia. The race provided first-year U14 athletes their first try at the long and fast Super-G format, so it was an exciting three days of pre-run jitters, high-speed crashes and conquered fears.
Racers met early on Friday for training runs and a competition run for the women. Out of a field of 95 competitors, Sophia Tozzi of Jackson Hole put down the fastest run of the day with a 1:02:63. She shared the podium with Park City Ski Team athlete Mia Hunt who earned fifth place. Other Park City Ski Team athletes in the Top 15 included Emme Ryan (6th) and Alyssa Gorsch (14th).
Saturday dawned warm and cloudy, and racers combated flat light and difficult visibility throughout the day. Over 20% of racers did not finish the run.
In Saturday’s women’s division, Mary Bocock of Rowmark captured the first place finish with a time of 1:06:58, 1.20 seconds faster than the next competitor. Park City Ski Team placed two competitors in the Top 15, including Emme Ryan (8th) and Madison Kaiserman (14th).
The men contested two runs on Saturday. In the first run of the men’s division, with a field of 111 competitors, Gunnar Travis of the Park City Ski Team captured the top podium spot with a 1:04:66. PCST had two other athletes in the Top 15, including Bjorn Karlen (12th) and from Leyton Sheppard (13th). In the men’s second competition run, Grant Hagen of Jackson Hole earned the first place spot with a time of 59.55. PCST’s Leyton Sheppard and Gunnar Travis tied for second place, and two teammates placed in the Top 15, Jack Pollard (7th) and Justin Bigatel (11th).
On Super Bowl Sunday, ski-racing fans were focused on the hill for the final day of the U14 speed qualifier. Under partly cloudy skies, racers contested one women’s and one men’s Super-G. Despite running last, Mary Bocock repeated with the fastest run of the day in the women’s division. PCST’s Mia Hunt captured second place. Also skiing into strong points to qualify for championships were Alyssa Gorsch (9th), Fiona Sawyer (12th) and Lindsey Aten (13th).
In the men’s division, Jimmy Walsh from the Ogden Valley Ski Club won on his home hill with a time of 1.00.08. PCST’s Jack Pollard was just off the pace, with +.29 to capture third, and Gunnar Travis earned the fourth-place podium spot. Other PCST athletes in the top 15 included Justin Bigatel (6th), Leyton Sheppard (9th) and Benny Brown (14th).
The next and final U14 qualifier of the season will be at Snow King, Feb. 24-26. That race series will be a technical event with two slalom races and one giant slalom. For more information on the Park City Ski Team, please visit http://www.parkcityskiteam.org.
Park City High School senior Ben Agnew plays several significant roles on the baseball team, but his character off the field is just as important.