By PAIGE ROUSE
Special to the News
The Cooper Spur Race Team made Mt. Hood history last weekend, doing what many believed to be unthinkable: winning the 2003 Buddy Werner Championship.
Twenty-six teams from the Northwest brought 130 girls and 160 boys to compete at Mt. Hood Meadows for the three day event. Teams were greeted by five feet of snow — 18 inches on Friday and 10 inches more on Saturday — making for some extremely daring race conditions.
Whether it was the advantage of being on home territory, skiing in similar conditions two weeks before in the Meadows Challenge, or simply some very focused, deliberate training over the season, we’ll never know. But what we do know is significant — never, in 12 years of Buddy Werner history — has a Mt. Hood ski club won the team championship, considered the greatest recognition in Northwest youth ski racing.
“This is as big as it gets at this age level,” CSRT head coach Jesse Scroggins said. “It’s their Olympics. We’re a small team from a small ski area. The other teams who have won this championship are usually large teams from Mt. Bachelor, Crystal Mountain or Steven’s Pass. It was a David vs. Goliath situation.”
Not only did the Cooper Spur team win first place; another bit of CSRT team history was made when 12-year-old Maggie Greene took the team’s first-ever top placement in Women’s Giant Slalom. Meanwhile, many other team members posted personal bests, and the hard work and focus paid off.
“Obviously, we’ve been preparing all season, training hard for this,” explained coach Cynthia Steele. “We knew our team had some good skills, and we wanted them to focus on skiing hard and fast. It can be overwhelming, especially for first time Buddy Werner team members. All these great racers competing from teams all over the Northwest can create anxiety. There’s a lot of psyche involved.”
As a relatively small club, Cooper Spur Race Team was boosted primarily by the incredible performance by the girls team.
The CSRT Buddy team is composed of the team’s best eight boys and eight girls, based on a series of qualifiers throughout the season. The boys raced Giant Slalom on Middle Fork Saturday, while the girls had their turn on Sunday. Greene took first place for the girls with a combined time of 1:28.29 for two runs, followed impressively by team mate Whitney Reynier in fifth place with a time of 1:32.84.
Kaytlin Hughes placed 14th with 1:36.25, and Whitney Fox, with her best run of the season, placed 24th with 1:38.78. Jacqueline Wiles placed 30th (1:40.32), Toby Carratt placed 34th (1:40.94), Hannah Young placed 74th (1:49.81), and Ashley Kastner placed 99th (1:56.71).
“Sunday’s weather was a mixed bag of everything: snow, rain, wind,” Steele said. “When the race conditions got difficult, our girls really turned it on!”
For the boys, Travis Carratt took fifth place in some stiff boys GS competition, with a combined time of 1:36.06. Eli Pynch placed 20th (1:40.33), Scott Boudreau placed 23rd (1:40.68), Aidan Daly-Jensen placed 35th (1:43.03), Kristoff Fowler placed 38th (1:43.37), Tanner Boudreau placed 58th (1:46.29), and Aaron Mallon placed 65th (1:47.58).
The CSRT boys performed better in Sunday’s Slalom, held on Stadium, off Meadows’ yellow chair. Travis Carratt placed ninth with a combined time of 1:13.85, while Isaac Bubb finished 12th at 1:14.74. Scott Boudreau placed 17th (1:16.49), Aidan Daly-Jensen in 27th (1:18.82), Tanner Boudreau in 28th (1:18.87), and Kristoff Fowler in 47th (1:22.42).
Maggie Greene took third in the Women’s Slalom, with 1:27.18, followed closely again by Whitney Reynier in sixth (1:29.30). Jacqueline Wiles placed 12th (1:32.60), Toby Carratt placed 26th (1:38.29), Kaytlin Hughes placed 54th (1:45.92), Whitney Fox placed 56th (1:46.41), and Hannah Young placed 95th (2:06.04).
“I am very proud of our entire club,” Scroggins said. “These kids represented our ‘elite’, but it took all the club’s effort to get us to this level.”
The Buddy Werner event is the PNSA annual championship event, named for the man recognized as America’s first truly world-class skier. Each year, making the “Buddy Werner team” is an honor in itself for CSRT racers.
Last year, the Buddy Werner Championships were held at Mission Ridge, Wash., with the CSRT girls placing third.