Sunlight Ski Team shows promise at Vail competition |

Sunlight Ski Team shows promise at Vail competition

Contributed photoThe Sunlight Ski Team is off to a fast start this season.

The young and ambitious Sunlight Ski Team had a strong start to the racing season last weekend.

Competing at Vail against a field of roughly 210 J4 (11- and 12-year-olds) and J5 (9- and 10-year-olds) boys and girls, the Sunlight skiers proved that they could be competitive with the top racers in the Rocky Mountain Division.

On the first day of giant slalom competition, Sunlight had seven top-10 finishes.

Leading the way was Ethan de Moraes, posting a best-ever performance with a fourth in the Saturday morning race.

Just a year ago, de Moraes was placing close to dead last. He made steady progress throughout last season and ended the year with middle-of-the-pack results – far from top 10s. He proved it was no fluke with a solid run that afternoon, skiing his way into seventh.

De Moraes’ J5 teammates, Garrett Dollahan, Jonathan Simpson and Tucker Sheldrake, all proved that Sunlight’s J5 boys are going to be a tough, competitive group to race against.

Dollahan, an 8-year-old racing against skiers 9 and 10, had the most consistent weekend of all Sunlight’s racers. He placed 12th in the first competition and followed up with three ninth-place finishes. Sunlight’s other J5s, Simpson and Sheldrake had an 11th and a 17th, respectively, as bests for the weekend.

Sunlight’s J5 girls, led by Allison Cornelius’ seventh-place finish on Saturday, showed promise for this season.

Summer McSwain’s best finish was an 18th and Skylar Adelman’s top result was a 21st. Michal Hale, in her first season on the ski team, raced to a respectable 25th. Elizabeth Barsness, also in her rookie year on the team, raced to a 42nd.

Sunlight had three J4s competing against the strongest field in the Rocky Mountain Division. Alexis Naylor and Devan McSwain competed as J4s for the first time. Naylor skied to a 10th in Saturday’s second race for her best of the weekend. McSwain had a pair of 24ths for her top results of the Vail races.

Cooper Cornelius had three top-10 finishes and one fall. He finished off the weekend just missing the podium by two-tenths of a second and ended up fourth.

Two Sunlight athletes were unable to compete last weekend due to injuries. Both Elle Murphy and Tyler Dollahan had been skiing well early this season. Murphy had to have knee surgery, but is expected to make a full recovery. Dollahan sustained injuries to his heels, but is back and skiing well as of Tuesday.

“I am extremely excited about this young team and its potential to achieve a great deal in the future,” Sunlight Ski Team coach John Bresnitz said.

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