Standing at the apex of the Telluride alpine sovereignty at the J4 JOs, was TSSC's Victor Major, who landed top 15 finishes in each of the week's five races. Major began his racecourse reign on Wednesday at the Super G event, where blazing-fast times earned him a top five finish worth ogling over, in an impressive fourth place. The following day found Major's grip on the top times in the Giant Slalom race holding fast, where he finished fourth again. While Major slipped to 11th place in the second Giant Slalom race of the day, he had nevertheless staked his claim on the J4 race scene at the Junior Olympics.
Day three of the races proved to be more challenging for Major, who fell in both Slalom races. Even with the falls, however, Major still pulled off strong enough overall times to harness top 15 finishes – at 13th and 14th – putting this aspiring young Telluride racer in the "Top Seed" (top 15 overall) in every event of the Junior Olympics.
"If every one of his runs had been clean, he would have definitely been in the top five for every race," said his coach, TSSC's Executive Director Justin Chandler. "To take a fall and then still take a top 15 finish among the very best kids in Colorado is very admirable."
Telluride Mountain School's Morgan Pihl was on the top of his game at the Winter Park contest, in which he was racing against nearly 100 other J4 competitors. Pihl pulled out all the stops in the final race of the competition, finishing in 13th place in the second Slalom race on Saturday. His earlier 26th place in Slalom, 28th and 43rd places in Giant Slalom, and 32nd in Super G confirmed that Pihl has proven himself as one of the division's up-and-coming young competitors this year.
TMS's Keo Brown also improved on his earlier week's standings to take home his best finish in the last race of the event, with a well-earned 32nd place in Saturday's second Slalom event. Brown finished close to the top half in all of the other races during the week.
Shane McLean, expected to finish in the top five, hurt her knee before the event and was unable to participate. This was a replay from last year when she injured her ankle before the Junior Olympics and couldn't ski. "She is probably the hardest worker," said coach Barrett Stein.
For TSSC's Kailee Winslow, Friday's back-to-back Giant Slalom events enabled this second-year J4 to strut her stuff with a smoking 35th and 44th in her tough girls' class. Tarja Berry and Winslow finished close in the other events, maintaining an inter-team challenge for both of these rising young alpine starlets.
Last week's Telluride performance at the J4 Junior Olympics finished out an end-of-season Telluride rampage – with Telluride-trained racers making the cut to Junior Olympics events in every age class, the season was deemed "great" by TSSC's Chandler.
"This season we've had consistently strong finishes across the board, which is something to be proud of," he said.
Although the final events of the season are now over, four of Telluride's older racers will get the chance to have one last hurrah as the Garner-Smartwool Series takes on the Milk Run course in Telluride this week. Races began on Wednesday, with TSSC's Ashley Story cleaning up with a top 20 finish in the girls division. Other Telluride racers Mia Mclaughlin, Riley Miller, Maddie Fansler, and Maddie Crowell will also join the 210 other 13-and-over aged athletes at the event, which continues today with a Slalom event and ends tomorrow with a Dual Slalom contest – the only such duals race in the entire division.
TSSC's Chandler admits that although Tuesday night's snows made for tough race conditions, competitors will garner important real-world race experience on Milk Run's difficult course.
"A lot of these kids are used to training and competing on moderate terrain, but here, they have to contend with a super steep pitch, ice, ruts…the visiting coaches are really liking the venue, and for our kids who train and race here, everything else looks pretty easy to them," Chandler said.