Silver finish for Sunlight skiers at J5 Championships
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
One year ago, the Sunlight Winter Sports Club’s racers and coaches were caught by surprise upon earning a second-place overall team trophy at the J5 Championships.
Last weekend, Sunlight proved that last year’s podium showing was no fluke, repeating that result and, like the previous season, finishing behind only Vail in the overall team standings.
Fifteen other teams from Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona were represented in the field of 184 young racers.
Ninety-one girls and 93 boys, all 10 years old and younger, competed in four races: two giant slaloms on Saturday and two slaloms on Sunday at Powderhorn Resort in Mesa.
Though the J5 category is officially comprised of 9- and 10-year-olds, the championships allowed younger racers to compete as well. Sunlight had four 7- and 8-year-old J6 skiers racing.
Garrett Dollahan, 8, placed third and second in giant slaloms and third and fifth in the slaloms among the J6s.
Allyson Cornelius placed third and first in the giant slalom. She added another third place in the final slalom.
Summer McSwain and Tucker Sheldrake also had strong top-10 showings as J6s.
Sunlight’s top finishers at Powderhorn were Tyler Dollahan, Devan McSwain and Alexis Naylor – all 10 years old.
Dollahan missed getting on the podium by a mere one-hundreth of a second in the first giant slalom race of the championships and ended up fourth. He repeated that position in the following giant slalom. The next day in the slaloms, he raced to a fifth and ninth place.
Devan McSwain, unable to train the previous week due to illness and still under the weather, toughed out a 10th and a seventh in the giant slaloms and shined in the final slalom, bringing home a silver medal.
Alexis Naylor had strong giant slalom finishes, with a seventh and an eighth, and finished the series on the podium in the final slalom with a bronze medal.
McSwain and Naylor had solid seasons, with numerous wins and podiums between them. It was only fitting that they both took home medals in their final race.
Elle Murphy and Skylar Adelman, both first-year Sunlight racers, both had some bright moments, with each defeating half of the field of 91 girls.
Henry Barth, who has shown glimpses of high-quality competitiveness throughout the season with some top-five results at the Age Class Open and a win at the Aspen Valley Series race earlier this season, raced to 14th place in the final slalom.
The most improved newcomer to the Sunlight this year was 9-year-old Ethan DeMoreas, who began this season finishing in the last 10 percent of race field. He had a result at the J5 Championships that beat more than half the field.
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