Kirkwood’s Collins skis to first FIS win |

Kirkwood’s Collins skis to first FIS win

By Jeremy Evans

Tribune staff writer

Heavenly and Kirkwood were both well-represented, including several who posted career bests, earlier this week at an open Far West FIS Skiing event at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.

Nobody was more impressive than Kirkwood’s Shane Collins, who posted his first FIS win on Tuesday in giant slalom, which was preceded by a third-place finish on Monday. Collins also had two top-12 finishes in both slalom races over the weekend.

“I always knew that Shane would win a FIS race,” said Kirkwood coach Guenther Birgmann. “We didn’t know it was going to happen this soon, but we knew that it was going to happen sooner rather than later.”

Kirkwood’s Bryce Wehan placed ninth in Sunday’s GS race, finishing one spot ahead of Heavenly’s Chris McKean. On Sunday, Heavenly’s Marty Harris posted his best slalom finish ever by finishing in fifth place in a time of 1:37.93, one spot behind Sugar Bowl’s Kevin Sheehan. Kirkwood’s Errol Kerr took 14th in Sunday’s slalom race and 12th in Monday’s GS race.

Travis Ganong, Squaw Valley’s J2 sensation, placed sixth in Monday’s GS race, while Diamond Peak’s Greg Bartels took 12th in Tuesday’s GS race.

For the girls, Heavenly’s Holly O’Brien finished 13th out of 117 girls in Sunday’s slalom race, the Whittell High School junior’s best slalom finish ever. Heavenly’s Andrea Killebrew placed 15th in Monday’s giant slalom race.

“Holly probably should’ve finished in the top six, but I don’t think she knew how fast she was,” said Heavenly Ski Foundation director Noel Dufty. “She probably made a few mistakes in the soft snow that slowed her down a little bit, but it was a good experience for her.”

Sugar Bowl’s Katie Lyons earned three top-3 finishes, two in slalom and one in giant slalom. Brandy Barna, also of Sugar Bowl, had two top-12 finishes, one in both slalom and GS. Corrinne Rotter, an up and coming J2 star out of Carson City, posted three top-15 finishes, including an eighth-place effort in Sunday’s slalom race.

“They have a good idea of where they are ranking right now,” Dufty said. “Everyone had at least one good result and I think that’s the most important thing. Basically, all these races are just preparing us for the national qualifiers in Utah. That’s what all this is leading up to. This was more like a warm-up to kind of see how we are comparing with everyone else. As you can see, we had some really good finishes.”

J3s perform well at Boreal race

Heavenly Ski Foundation’s J3s posted some impressive results in its first slalom race of the season on Dec. 11-12 at Boreal Mountain Resort. On the first day of racing, Dana Nott finished fifth out of 51 racers with a combined time of 1:16.28, three seconds behind winner Kaylee Cortopassi of Mammoth. Heavenly’s Christine Pulford earned a 14th-place finish with a time of 1:19.36. In her first race as a J3, Lindsey Martin placed 38th (1:33.34).

On the boys’ side, Michael Radford and Robbie Souza were separated by just more than a second in placing sixth and seventh, respectively. Kyle Smaine finished 17th with a time of 1:21.12. Ryan Macken of Sugar Bowl won the race in a time of 1:09.02, more than five seconds ahead of Radford.

On the second day of racing, Nott placed fourth with a combined time of 1:12.51, narrowing her gap by several seconds with Cortopassi, who was a repeat winner. Martin placed 46th in her second race.

On the second day, Radford placed fourth with a time of 1:13.08, and Derek Holmgren finished 12th (1:17.10). Smaine again had a solid two races, placing 18th.

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