Sprock wins two golds, leads Heavenly to Far West Championship | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Sprock wins two golds, leads Heavenly to Far West Championship

Jeremy Evans

Ty Sprock, who won two gold medals at last weekend's Far West Champion-ships at Sugar Bowl, wore Jonna Mendes' Olympic helmet during a visit to the nationals Monday at Mammoth.

Before last year, the Heavenly Ski Foundation had never won the team title at the J4/J5 Far West Championships. Led by Ty Sprock’s two gold medals and a slew of other top finishes, Heavenly won the team title for the second consecutive season last weekend at Sugar Bowl.

Sprock, a J5 skier (10 and under), took first in both slalom and giant slalom, and his second-place finish in super-G was the first time he didn’t win a race all season. Still, his three-medal performance at Sugar Bowl was unsurpassed.

“I was pretty excited,” Sprock said. “I just tried to do the best I could. I was fine (with finishing second). There was a lot of competition.”

It was so impressive that U.S. Ski Team member Daron Rahlves, who skis out of Sugar Bowl, provided his stamp of approval by personally handing the medals to Sprock.

Rahlves, who finished fifth this season in the World Cup overall standings, did the same for the other individuals and team award winners. Rahlves made time in his schedule to be at the event after driving back from Mammoth Lakes, where he was competing in the U.S. Alpine Championships.

“The kids were excited,” Norton said. “Daron has always been good about being as nice as you could be to kids of the Far West. He even handed us our team trophy. Sugar Bowl’s one of the biggest and wealthiest clubs in Far West. To win on their home turf was pretty nice.”

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Also in J5 boys, Heavenly’s Hughston Norton won bronze medals in giant slalom and super-G and finished fifth slalom. Jordan Fuller had two seventh-place finishes.

In J5 girls, Courtney Norton led Heavenly by winning gold in slalom and bronze in giant slalom and also finished fifth in super-G. Elizabeth Ryan placed three times in the top-11, while Andi Ebright and Whitney Gardner each had three top-14 finishes.

Heavenly’s Danny Souza led the J4 boys (11/12 year olds) with a silver medal in slalom and a bronze in giant slalom. Luc Chevalier placed fifth in one race and 13th in the other two. Michael Suglian had two top-11 finishes.

“This is the most depth we’ve ever had here,” said Heavenly coach Mark Norton. “It’s been just a good group of hard-working kids. It’s a challenge for a medium-sized team to compete with the bigger teams.”

Larger clubs such as Alpine-Auburn, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and Mammoth Mountain have won most of the team titles in the past. Squaw, though, is the only other team other than Heavenly to win back-to-back team titles.

Norton believes Heavenly is capable of winning another next season. Many of his athletes will continue to train throughout the spring and summer in locales such as Mammoth Lakes and as far as away as New Zealand.

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