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As bizarre as it might sound, high school skiing is an overlooked sport on the Front Range in Colorado.
Skiing may connote Colorado between the months of November through March, but any high school skier from Front Range schools has to join mountain schools to compete in the Colorado High School Activities Association’s state championships.
It is a winter sport that doesn’t garner much attention in the Denver area compared to basketball, wrestling, girls swimming and hockey.
Luke Bailey, a senior at Chaparral who was skiing for Platte Canyon High School, was the state giant slalom champ at the CHSAA state meet held Feb. 22-23 at Ski Cooper near Leadville. He was also second in the slalom and was named the co-Alpine Skier of the Year along with Michael Resnick of Vail Mountain.
In the 53-history of the ski program at Platte Canyon, nobody had ever won an individual state championship until Bailey and Alex Cregan captured state titles last month. Cregan won the girls giant slalom.
Bailey will continue his athletic endeavors at St. Cloud State after his graduation from Chaparral but he will be playing baseball. Bailey is an outfielder and captain on the Wolverines baseball team.
“It’s pretty cool to be a state champion,” said Bailey. “I think once school winds down it will sink in. It would be nice to see my name at Chaparral but it’s not a team sport at school.”
Bailey followed his brother Nick, who skied for Platte Canyon six years ago. Nick placed third in the giant slalom in 2013 and sixth in the slalom.
Luke, who was seventh last winter in the giant slalom, had the two fastest runs in the GS and finished with a two-run total of 2:09.09 to beat Resnick. In the slalom, he had a total time of 1:10.23 and was second behind Resnick.
“I skied well in the giant slalom, the course definitely suited me,” said Bailey. “There were a few technical spots that you definitely had to watch out for down at the bottom of the course.
“It was one of my better slalom runs. It was on a new run I had never skied before. It was pretty fun. To perform that well was pretty cool for me because I’m more of a GS specialist kind of guy.”
Bailey has set aside his skis and is roaming the Chatfield outfield which brings up the obvious question of which sport is his favorite.
“Baseball to me is a huge mental game,” he explained. “I really enjoy that. It’s not all about athletic ability. You have to be able to handle failure. In skiing you get two opportunities and if you don’t perform that day, that’s just how it goes.
“It’s hard to say which is my favorite because they are both so different. I really like the individual aspect of ski racing. It can be nerve-wracking especially getting into the starting gate. I really like the team aspect of baseball. And you know that if you succeed only three out of 10 times you are going to be in the Hall of Fame. I like that as well but if I had to pick, I would say baseball.”
Gatorade honors Masten
Rock Canyon’s Sam Masten, who is one of the Colorado’s best players at driving to the basket to score points and draw fouls, has been named the Gatorade Colorado Player of the Year.
The 6-foot-3 senior guard who will play next season at the University of Northern Colorado was averaging 22.5 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals a game before Rock Canyon’s March 9 Final Four game against George Washington.
New Chaparral grid boss
Jeff Ketron introduced himself to players and parents on March 8 at Chaparral only days after he was named the Wolverines’ new head football coach.
He replaces Rod Dobbs who resigned last month.
Ketron was the head coach at Douglas County between 1999-2013. The Huskies won the state championship in 2005 and were the runners-up in 2007.
Ketron’s appointment was the latest in what has been a revolving change of football coaches from last season as many of the departing coaches wound up continuing to coach but at different schools.
Mike Campbell left Arapahoe and is the new coach at Class 2A Englewood. Former Valor coach Rod Sherman resurfaced at Arapahoe. New Castle View coach Todd Casebier comes from 4A Fruita Monument. Tom Thenell turned in his Mullen coaching gear and is the new coach at Smoky Hill. Nick Trombetta went from Denver North to Thornton. John Trahan moved from Smoky Hill to Highlands Ranch.
No word yet on who will replace Wayne Voorhees at Legacy. Voorhees was hired as the coach at Riverdale Ridge, the new high school in Thornton.
Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 303-566-4083.
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