Kirk Petrik has been coaching the Evergreen ski program for five years, and he’s seen his fair share of success. But nothing could top what the Cougars did during the 2012-13 season.
The EHS boys dominated on the alpine side, winning state team titles in the slalom and giant slalom and placing second overall. The girls team, not to be outdone, won the giant slalom, narrowly finished third in the slalom, and was fifth overall at the state championships at Winter Park this past February.
Not to mention that his top skier — Jake Bender — won an individual slalom title a year after taking first in the giant slalom, and there’s little wonder why Petrik has been named the 2012-13 Canyon Courier Coach of the Year.
“I knew on the girls side I thought we would actually do quite well, either first or second place. The guys side, I had no idea,” Petrik said. “I knew Jake was coming back, but we had a bunch of young skiers. I knew that we’d be up there around four, five. We just cleaned up all year long.”
While Bender was the catalyst, he had help. Christopher Morris, Owen Tallmadge and Maxl Freeman all finished in the top 10 in the giant slalom, while Tucker Gordon, JP Fourie and Morris were top-10 finishers in the slalom.
As for the girls, Clara Hawthorne, Rae Lemon and Brenna Hattler paved the way in the giant slalom, while Lemon and Maggie Cleaver were top-10 finishers in the slalom.
“Maybe the girls team was stronger than the boys team. It just didn’t have better results at state in the slalom,” Petrik said.
The modest Petrik shared credit for the team’s success with Kelly Gordon. A team parent who will return to that role in 2013-14, Gordon made up half of the equation, Petrik said.
“She helped so much, especially with the all the tasks in hand,” Petrik said.
Evergreen’s ski program, with 70 or so skiers and growing, has built a culture. A handful have come into the program having never raced before, but by the time they leave, they excel, Petrik noted. They compete with the state’s best. No doubt, his coaching style is part of the reason why.
— Michael Hicks