Sunlight Ski Teamers take Eldora by storm
Eldora Mountain Resort hosted the second age-class series of the season for the Sunlight Ski Team this past weekend.
The area was one of the very few hit hard by last week’s storm. As such, enormous crowds resulted in the cancellation of the first day of competition.
Under blue skies and warm temperatures, Eldora pulled off two ski races on Sunday.
Competing against much larger Front Range teams like Lake Eldora, Loveland, Breckenridge and Summit, the small but gritty team from Sunlight posted impressive results.
In Sunday’s first race, Sunlight’s J5 girls were led by Allison Cornelius, who finished with her first-ever podium finish in third.
Skylar Adelman aggressively raced to her highest result ever, placing just two back of Cornelius in fifth. Right behind her was Summer McSwain in sixth. Michal Hale just missed the top 10, placing a respectable 13th.
Sunlight Ski Team’s J5 boys race couldn’t have been scripted any better for the squad.
Rookie 10-year-old Jonathan Simpson and 8-year-old Garrett Dollahan took to the podium for their first time in the 9-10 age category.
Simpson and Dollahan surprised everyone but head coach John Bresnitz and full-time coach Leigh Sheldrake when they took the gold and silver.
“We dubbed our 10-and-under group the ‘fab fives’ back in December when they all began to show their potential,” said Bresnitz. “The entire J5 squad has incredible potential.”
Getting into the top 10 to join those two was Ethan de Moraes, who skied to his best slalom result with a ninth-place finish.
Sunlight’s J4s were on fire Sunday. All four of them are on the Rocky Mountain Division Team, which means they are top eight for their age in this division.
Sunday morning, both Devan McSwain and Alexis Naylor skied on to the podium in second and third. McSwain, who has had a slow start to the season, returned to her true form.
Both girls traded wins here last year as J5s and now, as first-year J4s, proved they are threats in their new age class as well.
In the afternoon race, Naylor brought her “A” game and won her first J4 slalom.
Special to that victory was that Naylor’s great-grandparents and extended family from Missouri were on site to share in the moment.
In the same race, McSwain reconfirmed her newfound confidence and stepped onto the podium again by taking third.
Sunlight’s two J4 boys, 11-year-old Tyler Dollahan and Cooper Cornelius, 12, are competing against arguably the most talented group of 11- and 12-year-old boys in the nation in the Rocky Mountain Division.
Dollahan was skiing fast in his first race when, a third of the way down, he had an impressive skis-over-helmet crash.
A few skiers later, Cornelius crossed the finish with his first victory of the season.
In the second competition, Cornelius stepped it up another level and skied his best race run of the season, winning handily again.
Cornelius also beat all the 13- and 14-year-old J3 boys in both races.
Dollahan, still a bit shaken from the fall, skied into seventh that afternoon.
Garrett Dollahan provided another exciting run Sunday afternoon. His impressive run would have put him top 10 in J4s had he not missed the very last gate.
Finishing ninth was de Moraes and just ahead of first race-winner Simpson in 10th. Just outside of the top 10 was Tucker Sheldrake.
Sunlight came home with 11 top-three podium results.
Said Bresnitz: “These skiers get faster each race.”
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