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Saturday, February 26, 2000 - Monday, February 28, 2000 -- Snowshoe, WV
Wendy's Southern Alpine Racing Association (SARA) Championships
Story by Don Parks with photos by Marty Lamp and Don Parks

[Details] [Coverage]
Results: [Sat SL] [Sun GS] [Mon GS] [Overall]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5] [Set 6] [Set 7] [Set 8]
(Picture sets 1-3 are from Saturdays Slalom, 4-8 are from Monday's GS)

Will Hagna
Will Hagna goes through the slalom gates on Widowmaker
Snowshoe Mountain Resort was host to the Southern Alpine Racing Association Championships where three days of racing would determine who would be invited to the 2000 Junior Olympics. The top 2 boys and girls in the 13-14 age group (J3) would be heading to Cranmore, NH, for the J3 Junior Olympics March 9-12. Meanwhile, the top 2 boys and girls in the 15 and over age group (J1 & J2) would travel to Sugarloaf, ME, for the J1/2 Junior Olympics March 6-12. After that, there were still another roughly half-dozen spots available for each group at the J1/2 Eastern Regional Finals to be held March 13-19 at Whiteface, NY, and the J3 Eastern Regional Finals March 16-19 in Sugarbush, VT.

With all this on the line it was great to have pleasant spring-like weather on the well groomed slopes of Snowshoe. Chief of Course, Buster Hendricks, from Sugar Mountain, NC, was very impressed and said, "This is the best conditions we've had in the last few years." It was a little warm for the second half of Saturday's racing, but with great cooperation from Snowshoe the courses held up well all weekend.

The first event was Saturday's slalom race on Widowmaker trail with 41 gates for the first run and 49 for the second. Under warm sunny skies it didn't take long for the contenders to make their statements.

Victoria Long
Victoria Long fights for a clean sweep in all three events
In the J1/2 women's class Meghan Fairbrother dominated her competition in recording a combined time of 1:34.06, six seconds better than her closest rival. Among the J3 women it took a great second run for Victoria Long (1:42.31) to take the victory away from second place Chelsea Stamer (1:47.25) who had a three second edge after her first run.

Both Andrew Jochl, 1:22.51 in the men's J1/2, and Roland Lindhurst, 1:29.44 in the men's J3, put on equally as impressive performances as both won their respective divisions by nearly five seconds.

In the senior divisions, racing with no Olympic invitations on the line, Karen Perkins (1:58.59) won uncontested in the female class. Phil Perkins took the the 50+ mens win with a 1:28.47, fifth best overall on the day, while Neil McCaisiand (1:35.14) took home the men's 49-Under medal.

Sunday's racing took the competitors back to Widowmaker for some GS racing on a 19 gate course. While clouds rolled in throughout the day, the rain held off until after all the racing was complete.

On the day's more wide open course, Fairbrother (1:10.13) came out on top once again. However, Tracy Owen kept it a little closer this day for another women's J1/2 second place finish in 1:11.48. For the J3 women their was no stumbling for Long (1:09.42) on this day as she cruised to a commanding victory over Stamer (1:18.52) who took second once again.

Pamela Kaupinen
Pamela Kaupinen concentrates on her form down Cupp Run
In the men's field Jochl would not return to the J1/2 podium after having trouble on his second run. This opened the door for Keenan Bracey (1:06.87) whose strong first run kept him in the first place position to go with his second place from the previous day. In the J3 class Jacob Davis, who had trouble on Saturday's course, came back strong to take a solid win in 1:07.22. Meanwhile, Alex Ragsdale (1:09.12) edged out Lindhurst (1:09.18) for second place by just 6/100 of a second

Sunday's senior titles went to Perkins (1:22.41) once again on the women's side with McCaisiand (1:12.77) also doing it again for the Men 49-Under. In the men 50+ it was Bill Millman's turn as he grabbed the win in 1:20.66.

The final day's racing took everyone to the 37 GS gates lined down the long Cupp Run in Snowshoe's Western Territory. It was a beautifully sunny day with cool wind blowing up the mountainside. From the fastest to the not so fast, it was unanimously agreed upon as a thrilling ride that had everyone smiling.

For the J1/2 women, Fairbrother's bid for a third victory was cut short by Rachel Collins whose tremendous second run gave her the win in 2:34.24. Fairbrother's solid weekend performances still gave her the overall title with Owen needing the tie breaker edge to take second overall from the strong finishing Collins.

Jacob Davis
Jacob Davis comes back strong on Cupp after a tough Saturday
The J3 women watched again as Long made it a clean sweep for the three events with a winning time of 2:38.17. Stamer's two second place finishes from the previous days were enough to secure her the second overall honors.

Once again it was Jochl avoiding any trouble to take a comfortable first place win in 2:22.04, which placed him first overall for the weekend. Bracey finished a few places back in the field but his showing on Saturday and Sunday was plenty to hold down second overall.

In the very competitive men's J3 class it was Davis (2:23.38) and Lindhurst (2:24.03) finishing first and second, respectively, both in the Cupp Run GS and in the overall points standings.

In the senior women's class it was Karen Perkins challenging Cupp's demanding course and taking home another win in 2:50.31. In the men's 50+ class Phil Perkins (2:31.24) took back first while Eric Stamer (2:34.28) pulled out the 49-Under win giving James Huber (2:36.10) his second second place finish in as many days.

Congratulations goes out to all those who gave it their best and showed their mettle throughout the weekend's racing. Also, everyone is hoping that those who qualified for the Junior Olympics and Eastern Regional Finals continue to do well. Lastly, we can't forget all the hard work put in by all the volunteers, the Snowshoe Ski Patrol, Mark Poore, Bob Koontz, and the generous race sponsors, Wendy's and MCM Business Systems. These are the folks that make it all possible and they should know that their work is appreciated by all.