Cornelius, Sunlight racers fare well at J4 championships
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
Few, if any, Sunlight Winter Sports Club athletes have reached the heights Cooper Cornelius did last weekend.
Placing second overall at the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s J4 Junior Championships in Steamboat Springs, the Glenwood Springs Middle School student qualified for the J4 Can-Am competition in Sugarloaf, Maine.
“He’s the first [to qualify] since I’ve been here,” Sunlight Ski Team head coach John Bresnitz said. “I don’t think we’ve had a kid on the podium, and for Cooper to be second, a really close second, is big.”
Cornelius kicked off the Junior Championships by placing third in a super-G race. The next day, he placed second and third in two giant slalom races. In two slalom races to close out the weekend, he finished first and third.
The 12-year-old was the only boy to reach the podium in all five events.
The Junior Championships field included the top 80 boys and top 80 girls from the Rocky Mountain Division and the Central Division.
By finishing in the top five overall, Cornelius punched his ticket to Maine. The Can-Am event, which will feature racers from throughout the U.S. and Canada, starts March 30.
Cornelius’ three J4 teammates were also in action at Steamboat.
Alexis Naylor took 19th in the girls super-G race and Devan McSwain finished ahead of half the field.
In the girls giant slalom races, Naylor’s top finish was a 17th. McSwain’s top showing netted her 31st place. Tyler Dollahan had a 32nd-place finish on the boys side.
In the slalom races, Naylor had an eighth-place finish and McSwain beat well over half the field.
“This was a race we’ve been working toward since last fall, since summer even,” Bresnitz said. “All four of our J4s at Sunlight qualified for this race, and they all peaked at this race.”
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