Alpine Skiing: Chaney poised for another All-State finish
The Brainerd Warriors
BIWABIK — If things go to plan, Calia Chaney has a pretty good grasp of how she’ll finish.
The Pequot Lakes junior who competes on the Brainerd Warriors team will be vying for her second All-State finish at the state Alpine ski meet Tuesday, Feb. 14, at Giants Ridge Resort in Biwabik.
“I’ll say my goal is top 15, top 20 for sure,” Chaney said. “To improve on last year as I have said before. The course is never the same as any race beforehand. That’s the thing about skiing. You never know what you’re going to get. Every course is different. We’ll be on the same hill and the same runs that we’re always on, but you never know what the course is going to look like.”
The recent warmer temperatures will also play a factor in what Chaney and the rest of the state meet participants encounter. Regardless, Chaney loves Giants Ridge and is excited to show off her skills.
“I like the pitch that it has,” Chaney said. “I ski a lot better on pitches normally, but it also gives you a bigger chance of falling, which is scary because once you fall you’re done. I’m excited for it. I like Giants Ridge. The only concern is the snow. The snow conditions might not be the best.”
There’s not really a point in it if I ski conservatively and don’t ski super well then I’m not going to place super well either.
Last season, Chaney finished 23rd with a combined time of 1:24.36 for All-State honors. Placing 25th in last year’s state meet was this year’s Section 5 winner Ella Dols of St. Cloud.
“She has had some big wins this year,” Brainerd head coach Jim Ruttger said of Chaney. “You just look at our section and our section champion was Ella and they’ve raced against each other several times this year and sometimes Ella has been on top and sometimes Calia has won. We know she’s got it in her. It’s just figuring out how to pull that out of her next Tuesday.
“She loves that hill. I think she feels she has a little bit of an advantage at Giants Ridge because it’s a little steeper course. Maybe requires a little more technical ability. She does well there. Her small size doesn’t impact her as much there as it might on some of the flatter courses. A top 10 is certainly in the realm of possibilities. If she’s at 110% then even greater things could happen.”
Chaney skied to a seventh-place finish in the section meet with a 1:08.03.
“I’m very confident,” Chaney said. “I didn’t ski my best race ever at sections, but I skied well enough to make it, which was all I was really looking for. I have a lot of confidence from the past couple of races. I’m ready for it for sure.”
In last year’s state meet, Chaney opened with the 25th fastest time of 41.50. She then skied the 25th-fastest second run with a 42.86.
“The girls run Helsinki on the first run and that’s the run that is on the steepest pitch,” Ruttger said. “They’ll get what most would likely consider the more difficult course out of the way first thing that morning. She’s historically done really well on that course.”
Chaney will see Giants Ridge prior to the state meet as she will be competing in a USSA event there over the weekend.
“I just need to be in there with the mix,” Chaney said when asked how she wants to attack that first run. “I’m going to try not to be conservative. There’s not really a point in it if I ski conservatively and don’t ski super well then I’m not going to place super well either. I might as well go for it and if things go badly then that’s how it goes. I just need to make sure I’m super aggressive and get myself in the mix of all the top girls.”
Chaney is the only Warrior going this year compared to entire Brainerd teams advancing in the past. She said she’s bummed her teammates won’t be with her, but Ruttger believes it could be a blessing in disguise.
“It’s different when you are skiing as an individual and not as a team,” Ruttger said. “When you’re skiing for team points you may be a bit more reserved because the team needs your points and you don’t want to blow out of the course. I think generally, skiers ski less aggressively when they are part of a team than they do when it’s just them against the clock and the other competitors. How she handles that will be interesting to see and we’ll know after that first run with how she attacks that first run.”
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 218-855-5856 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.
State Alpine Ski meet
Who: Brainerd’s Calia Chaney
Where: Giants Ridge Resort, Biwabik
When: Tuesday, Feb. 14; 10 a.m. first run, 1 p.m. second run