Heavenly puts three on podium in J2 Junior Olympics
Returning to race against skiers their own ages brought out the best in Heavenly Ski Foundation’s J2 competitors at the Chevy Truck Junior Olympic Western Region Championships recently at Mount Bachelor, Ore.
Heavenly claimed three podium finishes, including a pair by Chris McKean, to conclude the season with a flourish.
“These guys are all ranked pretty highly in their age group in the nation and mostly been off doing FIS races, which are step above their regular USASA racing,” said Heavenly J2 coach Brad Saxe. “They’re in an elite group and have had some highlights here and there, but to show up at this regional and show the way they did is pretty phenomenal.”
McKean climbed to the third rung of the podium with third-place finishes in GS and super-G. Cory Harris collected the foundation’s other medal for the 15-16 age bracket, placing third in downhill.
Downhill brought out the best in Heavenly’s abilities. Besides Harris’ podium, Danny Lear was fourth, McKean eighth and Chris Little 11th. Not bad for a group who doesn’t make too many downhill runs.
“That pretty much made us one of the best representative clubs in the West,” Saxe said. “Some of our guys only had four downhill starts this year, so we get into it a lot less than GS and slalom and we definitely don’t get to train it that much.”
Lear and Harris also had top-15 performances in other events. Lear was 10th in the super-G and Harris placed 13th in GS.
Other Heavenly representatives at the championships were Sean Weatherston, Diana Higman and Lily Palmieri.
Ted Ligety of Park City, Utah, topped the men with a combined gold medal after claiming gold medals in both the super-G and slalom and a silver in GS. Following Ligety in combined results were Eric Mann of Mammoth Lakes and Zachary Brown of Sun Valley, Idaho. Mann was also runner-up in downhill and super-G.
For the girls, Christina Kim of Everett, Wash., won the combined gold, adding it to a first place in downhill and second place in super-G. In overall standings, she was followed by Stacey Cook of Truckee. Cook won the gold in super-G and silvers in giant slalom and downhill.
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