The Durango High School ski team will send six of its eight girls competitors to the Colorado High School Activities Association’s state championships Feb. 22-24 at Ski Cooper in Leadville.
Zoe Kiesel and Claudia Luthy qualified for the state meet in the slalom event after strong performances last weekend at Winter Park Resort.
“They just both skied really solid,” DHS head coach Leah LeSage said.
“They have to put two runs together in order to finish and get a qualifying score. That day, I think they took the top-28 qualifiers and Claudia was 20th and Zoe was 22nd, so they had a pretty good showing. It was definitely their best results this year.”
The Demons’ duo will join Annalise Gates, Maddie Jo Robbins and Abbey Shepard, who all qualified for the slalom and giant slalom, and Jualina Gans, who qualified in GS, at the state meet.
On the boys side, DHS will send three athletes to the state meet. Jack Eggleston qualified in slalom and GS, and Miles Bronson and Alex Fleitz received byes into state in both events.
“If we don’t have three athletes to qualify, we have the option to use some discretion to fill those spots,” LeSage said of the byes.
“Each school gets a minimum of three to compete at state. They don’t have to qualify, but they do have to be eligible, which means they have started in at least two of the specific event races.”
Harry LeSage qualified in GS but suffered a knee injury earlier this season that will likely keep him out of the state field.
In addition to competing in the slalom and GS at state, Bronson will participate in classic Nordic as part of the skimeister competition. He’s the first Demon in the skimeister in decades, coach LeSage said.
LeSage said that to the best of her knowledge, the last DHS win in skimeister was in 1978 and it has been 25-30 years since a Demon competed in skimeister at state.
Durango has won nine state championships in boys skiing but none since 1976. The Demons have the second-most boys titles in the state behind Summit, which has 18, including the most recent in 2013. Durango’s girls also won a state title in 1976 for its lone girls title.
The Demons will have a few days to prepare for the state championships in Durango before making the trip to Leadville.
“The recent snow has helped the conditions at Chapman (Hill) so we’ve been out there,” LeSage said.
“We’re really excited about it. We’re excited to bring three quarters of our team and have a really good showing there.”