HS SKIING: Mountain View's Barnes, Keating qualify for Eastern Finals

Mar. 18—A lack of heavy snow this winter couldn't slow Noah Barnes and Tyler Keating.

Mountain View High School's two ski standouts enjoyed success on the slopes and qualified for the Eastern United States Finals at Attitash Mountain in New Hampshire on March 22-25.

Both had top-10 finishes during the seven-week season of the Pennsylvania Alpine Racing Association State Championships that concluded at Elk Mountain.

"We missed many, many trainings this year because of the weather, but we still had great seasons," said Barnes, a junior, who finished fifth in the standings with 327 Cup points. "We haven't had a big snowstorm, so training has been difficult. Even if there are no gates, we were free skiing and trying to get our miles in, so we made it work."

Keating, a senior, who has competed for 12 years, finished just behind Barnes in sixth place with 302 points. Both skiers represent Elk Mountain Ski Club.

Van Glantz of Tussey Mountain won the season title with 575 Cup points.

"The season went pretty well," Keating said. "My goal was to make the top 10. I put in a lot of work. Spent a lot of time at the mountain, and it paid off. I have spent more than 70 days on the slopes, and I am there just about every day.

"We never really got good snow, so training on a good, true snow surface was tough, but Elk Mountain did a good job all season."

Skiers compete in a series of events that start in January at various locations. The races include slalom and giant slalom, and each athlete receives points for their finish. The giant slalom has a greater distance between gates, and skiers take two runs for each race on different course setups.

The first two slalom runs were held at Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Somerset County. Barnes earned 26 points for his first run and 45 on his second. Keating grabbed 16 points and 40 points on his.

Blue Mountain Resort in the Pocono Mountains hosted the next event and featured two giant slalom runs and a slalom. Barnes gained 29 and 36 points on his giant slalom, respectively, and 80 for his slalom. Keating added 36 points and 80 on his second giant slalom, and he finished with 40 points for his slalom.

"My second giant slalom at Blue Mountain was my best race," Keating said. "That was a really big race for me."

Barnes and Keating finished at their home course at Elk Mountain with two giant slalom runs and a slalom. Barnes had 40 and 60 points on his two giant slalom runs and added 11 on his slalom. Keating gathered 32 points and 29 on his giant slalom runs, while finishing with 29 points on his slalom.

Barnes and Keating were two of only four skiers among the top 10 to complete all eight runs.

"It was an amazing season," said Barnes, who took a year off from racing last year to coach. "At the beginning of the year, I had no idea that I could be close to the top. I was looking for a top-20 finish, not a top-5."

Barnes, who is balancing preseason baseball practice at Mountain View with his skiing, looks forward to the opportunity at the Eastern Finals.

"I would like to be in the middle of the pack," Barnes said. "I had a year off, so I am going to try and do my best. This is my favorite sport. I am stoked to be back. I was hesitant to come back, but I am very happy that I did.

"It has been an awesome year for me and Tyler."

Keating, who also had success at the U16 level in his career, makes a return to the Eastern Finals. He plans to attend the University of Utah and continue skiing. His sister, Isabel, who finished third in her final Cup Series in 2020, lives in Utah.

"There is really good competition up at the finals," Keating said. "I am just looking forward to going there and having some fun."

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