Two cross-country skiers from the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation program made news Friday in a collegiate competition near Vail and Beaver Creek, Co.
University of Denver redshirt senior Makayla Cappel of Hailey and University of Utah sophomore Sloan Storey landed atop the leaderboard Friday on the first day of the NCAA West Regionals/Rocky Mountain Collegiate (RMISA) Regionals at Minturn.
Both Cappel and Storey were also soccer stars at Hailey’s Wood River High School.
Cappel, 22, earned her first collegiate victory for the Pioneers Nordic squad by winning the women’s 5-kilometer classic race in a field of 28 racers at 14:30.
In her final full collegiate meet, U-23 Cappel finished 16 seconds ahead of U-20 Storey, 19. Storey’s time was 14:46.
Cappel said, “It was a good day for the team and a great way to start regionals. I’m very proud of how the team handled it today and excited to get the win.”
Denver Nordic head coach Dave Stewart added, “Makayla earned her first-ever win after a number of podium results during her career. I’m pleased to see her start to hit her stride as the season progresses.”
SVSEF 1995 alumni Abi Holt, the Utah Nordic team head coach, said, “Makayla and Sloan came through the SVSEF program and beat a tough international field. It was pretty awesome!”
On Saturday, Cappel (41:19) climbed the podium again with a third-place finish 1:26 back in 15k freestyle at Minturn. Storey (41:26) was right behind in fourth of 25 women. It was Cappel’s highest career finish in skate.
University of Utah won the RMISA Championships encompassing alpine and Nordic competitions with 640 points ahead of Colorado (636) and New Mexico (617.5). Denver finished fourth among the teams with 578.5 points.
“It’s very special to see Makayla on the podium again,” said head coach Stewart. “She has come a long way in her five years at DU. It looked like everything came together for her on the final weekend of our regular season and to see the best results of her career.”
With her weekend results after a senior season dealing with illness, Cappel qualified for the 2014 NCAA Championships next week in Utah. Utah co-captain Storey will also compete at nationals, hosted by the Utes.
Cross-country skiers competing at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah will race women’s 5k/men’s 10k classic Thursday, March 6, and women’s 15k/men’s 20k freestyle on Saturday, March 8.