Six Cody skiers competed in California last weekend, including (front, from left) David Reed, Jasper Crofts, Nicole Wagler, Catherine Lovera, James Davis and Sterling Banks, with assistant coach Bret Reed in back. (Courtesy photo)

Six members of the Cody Alpine ski team represented the squad on the national stage at the Western U.S. High School Championships at Mammoth Mountain in California last weekend.

Nicole Wagler, Sterling Banks, Jasper Crofts, James Davis, David Reed and Catherine Lovera all competed for Team Wyoming in the inaugural event. Each of the Broncs and Fillies qualified by earning All-State points over the course of the past season.

“They all skied well,” said assistant coach Bret Reed, who accompanied the team.

Wagler was part of the Wyoming girls team that took third at the six-team competition. In addition to Wyoming there was a team from California and two teams apiece representing Oregon and Nevada on hand.

“It was cool to have a different perspective,” Wagler said.

Jackson’s Sophie Morgan led the Wyoming girls, taking fourth place in the race.

Sterling Banks was the top Cody finisher at the event, taking 45th in giant slalom. Saturday’s slalom was cancelled due to high winds.

“That kind of stunk because we were all really excited to ski slalom,” Banks said.

He said the course was one of the longest the team has seen all year. In contrast to last week’s state competition, conditions were firm and fast.

“It was a really long, minute-long course,” he said.

The Wyoming boys finished sixth.

“Ski racing is about getting better,” Reed said, “having a good time and improving.”

Most of the Cody skiers only pursue skiing as a winter sport. In contrast, many of the racers at the Western Championships compete in both club and high school racing, dedicated to the sport nearly all-year round since a young age.

“Most other kids have been doing it a while longer than we have,” Banks said.

Although the level of talent displayed may have been humbling for the Cody athletes, Banks said the experience was a motivation for what he can achieve in years to come.

“There’s a skill ceiling I haven’t even hit yet,” he said. “I’m definitely really excited for next year. Most of the guys there I’ll be skiing with for the rest of my high school career.”

The Cody skiers took the 15-hour car ride with Reed to the competition, skipping the coronavirus threat at airports. Reed said the team was served a buffet dinner on Saturday to avoid use of communal utensils.

“It was a long ride, I think the kids thought it was long too,” Reed said.

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