Devon Anderson has accumulated plenty of memories as a ski racer these past seven years. He has been successful at the local and national level as an age group competitor - even done well enough to celebrate some victories along the way. And while it probably won't go down as his best all-time performance, the Carson High School senior was quite happy to leave the NIAA 4A State Championships at Mount Rose Sunday afternoon with a giant slalom gold medal in hand.
Like any racer, his goal is always to win. But this one was a little extra special to Anderson. It was his second state giant slalom title, it came in his last high school race and it came in front of an audience at East Bowl.
"I'm really excited. That was a good victory," Anderson said. "I went in with quite a bit of confidence. I had a lot of support because my family and friends went up to watch."
They didn't leave disappointed because Anderson posted a time of 28.91 seconds to win the state giant slalom by three-tenths over Reno's Christoph Weber. The win was fitting for another reason.
"The g.s. (giant slalom) is my best event," he said, flashing a smile.
The goal was to win. But at the same time, the 6-foot, 155-pound Anderson wanted to stay within himself and make sure he got to the finish line.
"I put in my best effort, I went for it the whole race, but I also knew some of my strongest opponents had already fallen so I tried not to (be too aggressive)."
There was just one downside. He was unable to enter the state slalom on Saturday because of a schedule conflict in which he was committed to race with the Heavenly Ski Foundation at a Far West Grand Prix Junior Olympic qualifier at Mammoth. The state slalom was originally scheduled for Feb. 21, but adverse weather forced officials to postpone and move the race to Saturday.
"I didn't get a chance to win the (state) combined, which was disappointing because I'd never done that," said Anderson said, who won the giant slalom but fell on his slalom run at the 2004 NIAA State Championships.
Weber, the son of six-time world Austrian speed-skiing champion Franz Weber, won the combined title thanks to his second-place finish on Sunday and third-place on Saturday.
"Christoph and I get along," Anderson said. "If anyone else was going to win it, I'm glad it was him."
Anderson is back at Mammoth today for three days of downhill competition as part of the week-long Grand Prix Junior Olympic qualifier. He does expect to qualify for the Western Region Junior Championships on March 17-24 at Snow King Resort in Jackson, Wyo. He has been to the Junior Olympics each of the last four years, and at one time, was ranked top-10 nationally as a J3 (13- and 14-year-old) junior racer.
However, Anderson has begun to focus on other objectives.
"I've been skiing since I was 2 and racing since I was 10," he said. "I'm starting to phase myself out (of racing), though. This season, I've cut back on my skiing because I've got a lot of work to do to get ready for college. I had to fit in one more AP (advanced placement) class and I've been trying to keep up with calculus, so I've only been skiing every other day during the week."
Anderson ranked among the top 10 in his graduating class academically with his 4.0 grade point average - which helped Carson High's boys team win the state academic championship - he has been involved with student government (he was the student representative to the school board during the first semester) and also served as captain for the Carson boys tennis team during the fall season. He also participated in the "Mr. Carson High School" pageant on Tuesday night before leaving for Mammoth. In the meantime, he has also taken up rock climbing as part of his Senior Class Project.
"I've been pretty busy this year," he said with a shrug. "Sometimes it gets to be a lot.
"I set my goals and work to achieve them."
Then again, Anderson's ambitions in life are high. The list of schools he has applied to include Dartmouth, Middlebury College (Vermont), Bates College (Maine) and Colby College (Maine). He wants to study biology - his eventual goal is to become a doctor - with a minor in politics.
He hasn't ruled out trying to race in the future. Ah, yes, that old competitive spirit flickers.
"I'll concentrate on my studies the first year, but maybe the second year, I might think about racing again," Anderson said. "That's why I only applied to schools that have ski programs."
n Contact Dave Price at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 881-1220.