By Frank Rizzo
BRIDGEVILLE January 30, 2001 -Eldred Central School and skiing are not words one usually connects, but that changed on Saturday, when Michael Swope of the Liberty/Eldred ski team won the fifth annual Manny Bogner Memorial High School Invitational, held at Holiday Mountain in Bridgeville.
Samantha Tucker of Monticello won the girls individual titles while host Monticello swept both races in the team divisions.
Swope, the only varsity skier at his school, raced two years as an independent before joining up officially with Liberty this season. He had practiced with the team his two previous years.
This is his third year with us, said Liberty coach Cindy Ellmauer. Hes always here seven days a week, continuously working on his skiing.
He deserves this win, hes very dedicated, Ellmauer added.
Swope said a motivation for him on Saturday was to improve on his fourth place finish of a year ago.
Getting new ski equipment for this season has helped, he noted.
Swope, a senior, recalled that he played modified basketball at Eldred but also skied recreationally and skiing won out.
I think I knew that if I nailed the grand slalom, Id be in good shape, Swope said of his race strategy on Saturday.
The boys did the giant slalom first, on Mannys Run, named after Bog-ner. Swope had a lead of nearly one second, considerable in a sport where hundredths of a second can determine places.
Then, after a break, the boys switched to the Roman Candle hill for the slalom, where Swope beat out J.J. Pavese of Monticello (second overall, see results) 26.51 to 27.23.
After the races, while most competitors headed for the warmth of the chalet to await the awards celebration, Swope took the lift back up for more downhill cruising.
And later that day, he revealed, he was going skiing at Mount Hope in Pennsylvania.
This is something Monticello wants to win, commented Tucker, who won the girls race for a second straight year, once again beating Fallsburg/Tri-Valleys Colleen Carey.
Finishing first in the slalom, according to Tucker, adds more pressure, but I wasnt worried. I just wanted to finish the race.
It also marked the second straight year that both Monticello teams won their respective races.
Meet director Warren Buddy Goldsmith, who stepped down as Monticello skiing coach after last season, noted that the one-week delay cut down on the number of entrants.
Originally scheduled for February 20, the meet was pushed back by last weekends bad weather.
That hurt us, Goldstein said. We lost a good amount of skiers, probably 50.
As he presided over the awards ceremony in the ski chalet Goldsmith thanked the members of the Bogner family, some of whom flew in from Colorado to be on hand at the race named in their relatives honor. Manny Bogner was a founding member along with Don Hammond, Bob Benson, and John Kroeger.
The foursome, according to Mannys son, Bobby Fuzzy Bogner, decided to resurrect what had been a defunct ski area at the location.
They really liked to ski and thought it would be good for the community, Bogner said. They put in snow-making equipment right off the bat.
Bogner, a classmate of Goldsmiths at Monticello who is still involved in the familys Monticello business (Bogner-Seitel Lumber Co.) is a ski instructor in Aspen, Colorado.
On Saturday he favorably compared the conditions at Holiday Mountain with those of his own slopes.
The snow is better right [here] now, Bogner said, then laughed, saying he hoped no one back in Colorado would read his comments.
The Bogners, according to Goldsmith, have been wonderful to us the last five years. Without them it would be impossible to hold [the meet].
Goldsmith was out early at Holiday Mountain preparing the course, and thanked all the volunteers who made the race possible.