Sugar Bowl Academy dominates Snow King FIS Series
Special to the Sun
Sugar Bowl Academy’s limited but consistent on-snow training paid huge dividends with a dominant performance at a Western Region FIS event held at Snow King in Jackson Hole, Wyo., earlier this month.
An early departure for the race series allowed the Sugar Bowl Academy (SBA) Alpine teams the opportunity to train on the race hill prior to the start. Said Men’s Head Coach Guenther Birgmann, and#8220;We put a lot of effort into coming here early to prepare for these peak races thanks to the parents and the school. I think we got rewarded for that today.and#8221;
By and#8220;rewarded,and#8221; Birgmann meant witnessing a dominating performance by the SBA men’s team.
On Day 1, the men started their race knowing that teammate Julia Bjorkman was sitting in third place after the first run and gained confidence after each racer crossed the finish line. After the first run, SBA occupied the top three positions in the race, along with the better half of the 30 athletes in the flip. Just moments after the first run concluded, Bjorkman laid down a stellar second run to finish third on the women’s side.
As the second run began, the SBA men’s team was sitting in a great position to have a successful race, and they proved hungry as they swept both the J1 and J2 podium. Ty Sprock (6th overall) took the J2 win and was followed by Riley Plant and Marc Talbott. With the J2 podium secured, SBA graduates Adam Barwood, Derek Strand and Dylan Brooks took first, second and third, respectively.
Student-athletes and coaches knew that matching the first day’s performance would be difficult. But once again the men’s team posted some strong performances by team members of all ages.
A second sweep of the overall podium was solidified by Strand, Barwood and Finley Neeson, and Plant continued his solid beginning to the year by putting in another second place on the J2 podium.
The entire SBA team felt confident moving into the slalom races on Saturday given the great training conditioning in the Sugar Bowl race arena. After one solid GS result in place, Bjorkman was the top SBA women’s finisher in seventh place.
Once again the men’s team took home nine of the top 20 positions. SBA second-year J2s Chuck Klein, Brian Francis and Talbott finished 16th, 17th and 18th, respectively. Former SBA athlete and current Middlebury Ski Team member James Clifford was 15th with the second-fastest time on the second run.
Sprock was ninth among J2s; just ahead of him was Neeson in seventh. Brooks, a 2010 SBA grad, finished fourth, Strand was second and Barwood took home his second victory of the trip.
The second day of slalom again featured some great skiing from SBA athletes. Bjorkman put in her third top-10 finish with an eighth-place result and the SBA men secured 10 of the top 20 spots in the final race of the series.
SBA senior Dylan Murtha jumped on the board with a 16th place. Just ahead of him were Francis, Plant, Scott Cooper and Sprock in 14th, 13th, 12th and 11th, respectively. SBA then took five of the top seven places, as Brooks finished seventh, Neeson was sixth, former University of Nevada athlete and current SBA men’s coach Aldo Ballabio was fourth, Strand was third and Barwood was SBA’s top athlete on the day in second.
and#8220;Everyone can take something from this race,and#8221; said Birgmann. and#8220;The young guys can see how the older guys perform, and the older guys can see how close the younger men are getting to them at a series like this.and#8221;