Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation alpine racers celebrated the 2013-14 season at their annual awards banquet April 8 at Elkhorn Springs Restaurant. U-14, U-16, U-18, U-21 and FIS team members and coaches attended the ceremony.
SVSEF Alpine Program Director Ruben Macaya thanked volunteers who helped with various events and races this season, according to a press release from SVSEF communications director Jody Zarkos.
He gave thanks to event chairs Nancy Williams and Kris Josey (Laura Flood and Cheeso memorials), Heather Daves and Louise Stumph (Monroe Cup), and Heather Daves, Kris Josey, Jen Milgard and Mimi Crocker (Western Region FIS Spring Series).
He recognized longtime foundation photographers Heather Black and Dave Wheelock for shooting several events. He thanked Annie Kaiser for organizing the banquet.
Regarding race results, Macaya noted that the season was an extremely productive one with 73 alpine athletes reaching end-of the-year championships, a gain of 22 from the 2012-13 winter.
“This shows the success of the team on all levels which takes perseverance and hard work,” he said, adding that having fun plays an equally big part of the equation in being a successful ski racer.
Longtime SVSEF supporter Peggy Dean and her son, alumni and current coach Ryan Dean, presented the Howard Dean Memorial Scholarship, which covers tuition for next season. The recipient was Noah Leininger, who will be a second-year U-16 next season.
U-14 award winners were Libby Kaiser and Logan Chai for Most Improved, along with Sophia Mazzoni and Charlie Stumph for Most Inspirational.
Margot Griffith was Most Inspirational and Most Improved for U-16 girls. Yuri McClure earned Most Inspirational. Most Improved recipient was Kristian DeWolfe, who came back from a broken leg.
Amanda Stelling of the U-21 team was also a two-time recipient for Most Improved and Most Inspirational. Griffin Curtis earned Most Improved and Will Harder was voted Most Inspirational by peers.
The Leif Odmark Award was given to team members with exemplary sportsmanship and great attitudes. Austin Savaria, Karina Schwartznau, Ben Travers and Molly Milgard were this year’s recipients.
The foundation’s most prestigious award in honor of Peggy and Sigi Engl went to Haley Cutler and Tanner Josey.
Academics a strong point
Academic Director Matt Leidecker recognized Stockton Troyer, a junior at Boise High, for carrying the highest grade-point average of alpine racers in the grades 9-12. “He excelled throughout the season,” Leidecker said about Troyer.
Student/athletes from every discipline (grades 9-12) carried a cumulative GPA of 3.47, which Leidecker said was “really astounding.”
Cross-country ski team members had the highest combined GPA of 3.69, followed by freestyle 3.45, alpine 3.34 and snowboard 3.21.
Twenty student/athletes from The Sage School, Community School and Wood River High School were recognized for achieving cumulative GPAs of 3.5 or higher—measurements that include all their grades from the start of high school.
They were Mackenzie Bachmeier, John Blackburn, Ransom Bleyer, Sam Busby, Haley Cutler, Cooper Dart, Jordan Fitzgerald, Trenor Gould, Margot Griffith, Bailey Holter, Tanner Josey, Ava Mazzoni, Kyla Miller, Mac Mizer, Katelyn Rathfon, Royce Rheinschild, Austin Savaria, Will Snyder, Stockton Troyer and Olivia Wentzell.
Community School senior Jordan Fitzgerald created and raised $3,000 for the first annual “Life Coach Award.”
The award was given in honor of Ruben Macaya to the coach or person in the SVSEF whose “dedication, effort, passion, commitment, support, desire to be the best person they can on and off the hill and fosters a love of sport that makes a significant difference in the lives of their racers.”
FIS/U-18 women’s coach Erika Hogan was the first recipient of the “Life Coach Award.”
Fitzgerald explained, “These are people who build a fire not by lighting a fire beneath their racers but by igniting a fire within.”
Jordan Fitzgerald herself captured the “Mountain Kidd” award for being “a phenomenal young woman,” said Assistant Alpine Director and U-16 head coach Scott McGrew. Fitzgerald also took home a “Longevity Award” for being a member of the SVSEF for 11 years.
Graduating seniors of the program include Fitzgerald, Mackenzie Bachmeier and Marc Leroux. Departing post-graduate racers are Ben Kanellitsas, Kipling Weisel, KJ Savaria, Linnea Baysinger, Karina Schwartznau and Amanda Stelling.
Kanellitsas said, “I have been tremendously blessed to click into my skis with the people I love most. The SVSEF raised me and my coaches have done a lot more than teach me how to ski.”
It’s a wrap for alpine group at Bachelor
Twelve Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation alpine racers ended their 2013-14 season by competing in the Western Region FIS Open Series at Mt. Bachelor, Ore. covering six races from April 10-14.
Top placings among 43 women and 92 men included Amanda Stelling fifth overall in Thursday’s slalom, and Karina Schwartznau and Linnea Baysinger fifth and sixth in Monday’s super giant slalom.
Bachelor class placings for SVSEF by day (giant slalom and slalom Thursday through Sunday, super giant slalom Monday) were:
U-21 women: Amanda Stelling 3-SL (5th overall), DNF-SL, 5-GS (8th overall), 7-GS; Karina Schwartznau 4-SL (7th overall), 5-SL, DNF-GS, 5-GS (7th overall), 3-SG (6th overall), 3-SG (5th overall); and Linnea Baysinger 5-SL, 7-SL, 6-GS, 8-GS, 4-SG, 4-SG (6th overall) .
U-21 men: Ben Kanellitsas DNF-GS, 21-GS, 21-SL, DNF-SL, 11-SG, 15-SG.
U-18 women: Madison Milgard 14-SL, 22-SL, 16-GS; and Olivia Wentzell 21-SL, 25-SL, 26-GS, 21-GS, 15-SG, 13-SG.
U-18 men: Austin Savaria 6-GS, 10-GS, 12-SL, 9-SL, 14-SG, 17-SG; Taylor Cooper 7-GS, DNF-GS, 8-SL, DNF-SL, 13-SG, 13-SG; Montana Kurahara 19-GS, DF-GS, 24-SL, DNF-SL; Emmett Say 22-GS, 23-GS, DNF-SL, 20-SL, 30-SG, 30-SG; Hunter Kern 25-GS, 28-GS, DSQ-SL, 31-SL, 28-SG, 29-SG; Jay Fitzgerald DNF-GS, 17-GS, 19-SL, 13-SL, 25-SG, 28-SG; and Griffin Curtis DNF-GS, 21-GS, 21-SL, 26-SL, 22-SG, 23-SG.