State skiing: Nederland’s Kuechenmeister repeats as Skimeister

Brad Cochi/
Bailey Kuechenmeister crosses the finish line in the Nordic 5K classic race at the Colorado state skiing championships on Friday.

WINTER PARK — Nederland junior skier Bailey Kuechenmeister’s name is too difficult for most ski announcers to say or scorers to spell correctly.

It might be easier to just start calling her Skimeister.

On Friday at the Colorado state skiing championships, Kuechenmeister was named Colorado Skimeister for the second straight year.

The award is given to the best alpine and Nordic combined skier during the regular season. Though Skimeister is a regular season award, Kuechenmeister showed how it translates to versatility in the postseason as well.

At the state tournament, Kuechenmeister placed in the top 15 in all four events. On Thursday, she took 14th in the giant slalom and 10th in the Nordic 5K Freestyle. On Friday, she place seventh in the Nordic 5K Classic, normally her weakest event, and 15th in the alpine slalom.

“This weekend was great, finishing top 15 in all four events,” Kuechenmeister said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better. I had some ups and downs during the season.”

Repeating as Skimeister, Kuechenmeister claimed the Nederland Panthers ski program its eighth such award since 2006. Keegan Harris won two for the boys team. Past girls winners include current senior Dayna Larsen, who took first in the alpine slalom on Friday, Mariah Colton and Jessica Hadford (twice).

“I’ve met some great girls and they’re all really great competitors,” Kuechenmeister said. “It’s really nice to know them because they’re going through the same thing as you.”

Kuechenmeister laughed when asked if she could become the lone Panther among the bevy of recent winners to earn the award a third time in her senior year.

“I’m going for a three-peat, I guess,” Kuechenmeister said with a laugh. “I wasn’t expecting it again at all and it was such a great experience.”

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