Taylor Duel competes in the state championship

The Lake County High School girls ski team headed over the pass to the Vail Valley this past Thursday and Friday for the 2020 Colorado State High School Ski Championships. Alpine races took place at Beaver Creek while Nordic races were at Maloit Park.

The sunny skies and warm weather were welcome, and the excellent conditions allowed the athletes to focus on their races and throw down their best amongst the fastest racers in the state. Even on a team filled with freshman and sophomores, the team had the strongest overall showing in recent years, placing sixth overall.

The first event was the giant slalom. Junior Taylor Duel led the girls with a very fast 10th place finish after two runs. Also scoring points for the team were freshman Lanee Dziura in 22nd overall and Sophomore Gwen Ramsey in 35th, placing the Panthers squarely in the middle of the team rankings at sixth behind Aspen (first), Evergreen (second), Summit (third), Battle Mountain (fourth), and Vail Mountain School (fifth). Finishing in the middle of the field were Freshman Rowynn Slivka in 50th and Junior Cassidy Gillis in 57th.

Next up was a mass start Nordic classic race. Despite having had the flu for the past week, Adele Horning led the Panthers with a ninth place finish. Hot on her heels was Elona Greene who finished in 15th. Michaela Main rounded out the scoring in 33rd. Morgan Holm was 59th and Abby Holm was 64th. For the classic race, Lake County was third. Combined with the strong showing in giant slalom, the team headed into the second day tied for third as a team.

“It was fun to see such a strong showing from all the girls on day one. I talked to the Summit coach later and he mentioned that his team went into the second day a little scared of us beating them,” said Nordic coach Karl Remsen.

Friday’s slalom race brought a bit more conservative skiing from the Panther ladies. Freshman Dziura took her chance to lead the team finishing 25th overall, followed by Duel in 29th, Slivka in 44th, Ramsey in 53rd, and Gillis in 67th. The team finished eighth overall in the slalom rankings.

The final event was an individual start skate race. With Horning sitting out due to her illness, Greene led the Nordic squad with a 16th place finish. “Elona was so consistent all season and was arguably the most improved skier in the entire state” said coach Remsen. Main saved her best race for the last one of the season and placed 23rd. Abby Holm was 44th, Morgan Holm was 52nd, and the team finished seventh in skate.

At the awards ceremony, the girls Nordic team was recognized for being third in the league standings for both classic and skate. Duel was named to the All-State GS team (made up of only 8 skiers) due to her finishes in the discipline over the entire season.

With almost every scoring member of the team returning next year and a strong group of eighth graders moving up, the girls ski team has a bright future ahead.

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