Shane Cole raced to his second state championship in as many days in Durango, while Gretchen Pavelich got redemption one day after she was second in giant slalom.
Cole, a senior at Vail Mountain, backed up his giant slalom title Thursday at Purgatory Resort with a win Friday at Chapman Hill in a unique slalom race at the Colorado High School Activities Association state skiing championships in Durango. Pavelich, a Battle Mountain senior who was a close second to Aspen’s Levyn Thomas a day earlier, dominated Friday’s slalom on the in-town ski hill to get a title.
Cole completed his two runs in 45.24 seconds, 0.18 ahead of Aspen’s Trey Thorpe and 0.96 clear of Vail Mountain teammate Mackay Pattison.
“It’s a sprint, everything counts, you can’t make a mistake, you have to be clean,” Cole said. “I charged both runs and stayed clean, and that was it.”
Pavelich finished with a time of 45.59. Berit Frischolz, Pavelich’s teammate, was second in 47.22 after she was third in giant slalom. Ella Wiser of Middle Park was third in 47.31. Thomas, the girls giant slalom winner, finished sixth in 48.96.
Friday’s race originally was scheduled for Purgatory Resort. With heavy snowfall of two feet at Purgatory in 48 hours, alpine coaches decided Thursday night to move the slalom races to Chapman Hill, where it was also snowing heavily. Because Chapman Hill is a small ski hill, athletes had to complete two runs that would typically be as long as only one at a bigger mountain. Slalom also is typically a two-run event with the combined time deciding the winner. Only two runs were held at Chapman Hill instead of four.
Cole fell during both state championship races a year ago and did not finish. His title sweep this week was redemption, and he said he learned to go with the flow and not put pressure on himself during a week that saw plenty of schedule and course changes.
“This season, I’ve been getting anxious before a lot of races,” Cole said. “I was putting expectations upon myself. I realized these last two races that I didn’t have to do it. I rolled with the punches, went with the flow and skied really well.
“Last season, I fell both times at states, and this regular season I didn’t have a win the entire time with two seconds, two thirds and a fourth. I’m really hyped to climax at a good time.”
Durango’s Harry LeSage finished 42nd in slalom in 52.58. Levi Tichi was 54th in 55.60. Miles Bronson placed 58th in 58.43, and Jian Cohen, a disabled skier without arms, was 69th in 1:20.00. He was the only Demon boy to finish both giant slalom and slalom.
Aspen won the boys state skiing championship, while Battle Mountain clinched the girls state title after two Nordic events and the two alpine events. Official team scores were not made available at press time Friday.
Durango was led in the girls race by junior Claudia Luthy, who placed 66th in 1:03.98. Skylar Thorpe was 73rd in 1:07.69. Analise Gates did not finish after she completed her first run in 26.93 seconds. She was battling an injury and unable to compete at as high of a level as she hoped.
Cole said the conditions for the girls race continually deteriorated, and he was happy to have skied first.