Times Staff Writer
Lily Redden and Ashley MacLennan know just how much a year of competition under the belt can aid an athlete.
The Gunnison High School sophomore duo actually competes for the Lake County High School alpine ski team. A Colorado High School Activities Association rule allows for as much when an athlete’s own school does not offer a specific sports program.
Redden comes into this season with the pressure of living up to her older sister Madaline’s feats.
“I would like to say ‘no,’ but in reality there is a small part of me that feels like I’ll never live up to what my sister has accomplished,” said Lily Redden.
In Madaline Redden’s final season on the Lake County High School alpine ski team, she went to state ranked No. 3 in giant slalom. That set up Madaline Redden to accomplish her goal of making the all-state team for her senior year. However, after a strong 10th-place first run on the giant slalom course, her second run resulted in a disappointing 29th place, giving her a 20th-place finish for the day.
“I really enjoy skiing and training with my sister,” said Lily Redden. “She has taught me so many things ... and I’ve learned from her accomplishments and her downfalls.”
Lily Redden took the opportunity last season as a freshman to learn more about racing at the high school level from her sister.
It’s seemed to result in early success.
“My main goal is to qualify in both slalom and giant slalom for state at Cooper (ski area) this year,” said Redden. “I’m also just hoping to improve my skiing with each race and practice.”
In Redden’s first giant slalom race this season, she qualified for state — no surprise, given that, similar to MacLennan, she favors giant slalom over slalom races.
“I like giant slalom the best because it is not as technical as slalom,” said Redden.
MacLennan too feels more comfortable in her second high school season on the slopes.
“As a sophomore, racing overall is not necessarily easier but more comfortable than it was my freshman year,” said MacLennan. “There are things you learn as you go, such as how much time you have before your run, how to memorize a course and just overall skill.”
MacLennan’s season, however, was cut short after her first race as a result of a knee injury. On Monday, Jan. 22 MacLennan found out that she would not be able to race for the rest of the season.
“I have made new goals to help me get back on the race hill,” said MacLennan. “My goals now are to participate in weekend practices as my knee allows, and make it to as many races as I can to support my team and help the race crew.”
Currently, MacLennan is receiving physical therapy prior to possible surgery in hopes of recovering quickly and coming back stronger next season.
As a result, MacLennan has been cheering on Redden.
Recently, Redden and the Lake County alpine skiers traveled to Winter Park to compete in slalom. While teammates Nancy Brown, Taylor Duel, Cassidy Gillis, Michaelah Main and Brayhan Reveles have all qualified for the state championships in both giant slalom and slalom, Redden will have to wait a little longer to join that list. Her 38th-place finish was just outside of the qualifying mark.
“I was close at the slalom race but was still off a few places,” said Redden.
In order to qualify a racer must be in the top third of the racers who start at each race.
This past Friday at Gold Peak in Vail, Redden placed 44th in slalom.
Still, she will have one more opportunity at Beaver Creek today, Feb. 8 to qualify for state in the event.
(Brandon Warr can be reached at 970.641.1414 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)