Steamboat Springs The word of the week for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club is “perspective,” and Saturday, club U14 Alpine skiing coach Erik Gilbert explained how that was important for his racers.
For the 12- and 13-year olds he’s coaching, it’s not so much about where they finish in a race. It’s about how they feel on the snow during their runs, how they control their speed and their turns.
Saturday, he said his team felt very well on the snow, and, whether it was top on the list of things to worry about or not, that showed up in the results.
Cooper Puckett won two more races, winning both of the day’s boys giant slalom events. With Friday’s win in super-G, that keeps Puckett perfectly in first place.
Plenty of skiers put up strong results behind him, as well.
On the girls side, Emilia Cooper placed eighth in both her races, capping one of her best days of the season.
“She is a calculating skier and skis with precision and strength,” Gilbert said. “She’s an incredible athlete and an awesome kid. She has a quiet demeanor, and she’s just beginning to learn how to release her skis and take speed down the hill, which is Alpine racing in a nutshell.”
Natalia Tatge was right on her heels, placing ninth in one race and 11th in another.
Marissa Drobek was 32nd twice, Caroline Gilchrist 65th and 68th, Ryli Adrian 21st in one race and Annika Ort 62nd in another.
For the boys, Jordan Simon was sixth in one race and 30th in the other. Alden Wade was 25th and 46th, while Colin Kagan was 63rd in one race.
Then, there was Puckett, who won both his races by more than a second.
Gilbert said another coach commented on Puckett’s ability to perform under pressure. Gilbert wasn’t surprised, however, because of how well Puckett has been at keeping each race, each day, in perspective.
“I don’t think he feels pressure,” Gilbert said. “He knows what his goals are and how he can achieve them, and he doesn’t think about results.
“He didn’t fall. He didn’t mess up. It wasn’t a surprise. That’s just what he does.”
To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9