Simonton sweeps boys skiing's alpine events; Aspen, Summit win titles

Battle Mountain's Sands Simonton. (Ryan Casey/

Battle Mountain's Sands Simonton. More photos. (Ryan Casey/

NEDERLAND -- All season, Battle Mountain teammates Sands Simonton and Quintin Cook battled one another on the alpine courses.

One week, Simonton would win the giant slalom and Cook would finish second. The next, Cook would take the slalom and Simonton would finish second. It was a weekly occurrence, and the duo, who are close friends, would go 1-2 in every race they entered.

"That was definitely one of my top competitors throughout my whole entire season," Simonton, a junior, said Friday afternoon.

So, it wasn't much of a surprise Thursday when Simonton won the giant slalom at the state ski championships hosted at Eldora Mountain Resort. What was surprising was that it wasn't Cook who won the slalom Friday, but instead Simonton again.

(Ryan Casey/

More photos. (Ryan Casey/

"When I won today, I felt really, really happy," Simonton said, "but at the same time, I knew that he had deserved it with all the work that he had put it.

"Right now, it's almost a little bit hard to celebrate. He's one of my best friends. Something feels like he deserves it. I mean, I'm happy, obviously. It's almost like an anti-climatic finish. It just doesn’t feel right."

Cook, a sophomore, finished sixth in the slalom and fifth in the giant slalom. But he also competed in both Nordic events -- finishing 44th in the classic event Thursday, and 26th in the skate Friday.

Simonton captured the giant slalom on Thursday with a two-run time of 1:36.06. Friday, he avoided near disaster on his first run of the slalom when he caught up to the skier on the course in front of him, Eagle Valley's Austin Darrough.

"He hiked up the pitch, and when I came over the pitch, I actually saw that he was almost in front of me," Simonton said. "The gates were wobbling just a little bit still, and I didn't want to pull out quite yet, but if I got any closer, I would've.

"At the very end, I think he straddled a gate and pulled out and then gave me room, so I just kept on going. And it didn't affect my speed at all, I almost felt like I was going faster."

Simonton finished his first run in 41.83, 0.64 seconds faster than Cook, who had the second-best time. He then went 47.38 his second time down the mountain to win with a time of 1:29.21. Aspen's Luca Woehrle, the runner-up to Simonton in the giant slalom, was also second in the slalom (1:31.13).

"Winning both of them? I don't know, this is kind of the first time that this has ever happened to me," Simonton said. "When I came here, I knew that it was going to be good. But I'd never really felt the feeling of actually winning."

Simonton's efforts helped Battle Mountain to a second-place finish in the boys' team race. Aspen reclaimed the boys championship with 624 total points to Battle Mountain's 613. Defending champion Summit was third (608).

The aptly-named Skiers won their most recent title in 2012, and now have seven boys championships -- all since 2000.

Summit's Cameron Bobb won the skate event in 14:39. The Tigers went 1-2-3 in the skate, with Henry Trowbridge finishing second (14:49) and Joel Sawyer third (15:14).

Steamboat Springs' Peter White won the boys' Skimeister award, given each year to the top overall skier based upon a season-long competition spanning all four ski events. Cook finished fourth in that competition.

Summit repeated its girls championship in totaling 665 points. Aspen was second with 648, followed by host Nederland with 599. Summit now has 19 girls titles.

This one was built on the strength of their Nordic team. A day after going 1-2-3 in the classic event, Summit had the top two finishers in the skate.

(Ryan Casey/

More photos. (Ryan Casey/

Taeler McCrerey won another individual title a day after winning her first. She finished the skate in 17:27, while teammate Ruthie Boyd tied for second with Vail Mountain's Maddie Donovan in 17:43. Boyd was also second in the classic event.

Still, the Alpine team made major contributions. That included Anne Parker's win the slalom on Friday. She finished with a combined time of 1:32:02. Nederland's Keile Kropf was second (1:33.20).

Nederland's Bailey Kuechenmeister won the girls Skimeister award for the third year in a row. She is the state's first three-time girls winner.