BRECKENRIDGE — Aspen's Taiga Moore won both boys nordic races as the state skiing championships opened competition on Saturday at Gold Run Nordic Center.
The Skiers' senior, who finished runner-up in both races last season, opened the day with a win of more than 30 seconds in the 5 km classic race in the morning, finishing in 14:11.0. Aspen's Noah Wheeless (15:25.7, 8th) and Corbin Carpenter (15:38.7, 10th) also placed in the top-10 as the Skiers amassed 164 points in the event.
Eagle Valley's Ferguson St John placed second in the event, finishing in 14:49.0. Others in the top five included Steamboat Springs' Sumner Cotton (14:50.5), Battle Mountain's Sullivan Middaugh (15:06.4) and Lake County's Jace Peters (15:10.5).
In the afternoon's 3 km skate race, Moore raced to a win in 7:21. St. John also placed second in that race, as he finished in 7:38. Wheeless was third (7:39), Evegreen's Zach Footer (7:42) was fourth, and Carpenter (7:47) was fifth — giving Aspen three among the top five.
The Skiers also had Christian Kelly place eighth (8:00), and Eske Roennau finished tenth (8:04), though a team's top three finishers are the ones who account for team points. As it was, Aspen scored 174 team points in the skate.
So after the nordic competition, Aspen leads the boys team race with 338 total points. Eagle Valley sits in second with 301, Middle Park and Vail Mountain are tied for third with 291, and Evergreen is fifth with 281.
Aspen is the three-time defending boys team champion, and is seeking to become the first team to win four in a row since Summit won five in 1986-90.
The Skiers also lead the girls team race with 333 points, thanks in large part to a 1-3-5 finish in the skate. In that race, Aspen's Elsie Weiss defended her individual title from a year ago, winning in 8:29. Lake County's Rose Horning placed second in 8:38, capping a wonderful day that saw her win the classic event.
Aspen's Eva McDonough placed third in the skate (8:55), Steamboat Springs' Zoe Bennett-Manke (8:57) was fourth, and Vail Mountain's Elliot Pribramsky (9:02) was fifth. Aspen's Kylie Kenny rounded out Aspen's team score with her seventh place finish, just behind Summit's Tai-lee Smith.
As mentioned, Lake County's Horning won the classic race in the morning as she finished in 16:41.2. Lola Villafranco of Colorado Rocky Mountain School was runner-up in 17:05.5. Rounding out the top five were Izzy Glackin of Vail Mountain, Smith of Summit, and Weiss, the skate winner.
Aspens girls put up an event-best 164 points in the classic, thanks to an eighth place finish from McDonough and ninth-place from Kylie Kenny, giving them 333 total team points after the nordic competition. Aspen's girls are the defending champion, and also won in 2018.
In the girls team race, Summit is second with 301 points, Lake County is third with 296, Middle Park is fourth with 286, and Vail Mountain is fifth with 261.
The state skiing championships conclude next weekend with the alpine events at Loveland Ski Area on March 11 & 12.