Snow place like home for this athleteThere was no use wasting time, so I popped the tough question to RJ McLennan early in the interview.
I asked the Rock Canyon senior if he is a skier or a lacrosse player.
To be fair, I knew he was a state champion skier who also plays lacrosse.
"I've dedicated most of my life to skiing so I'd have to say I'm a better skier than a lacrosse player, but I enjoy both," McLennan answered.
On Feb. 24 on the All Out run at the Steamboat Springs Ski Resort, McLennan was skiing for the Evergreen co-op team and won the boys giant slalom at the Colorado State Skiing Championships.
He was the fastest during the first run in 51.60 and ensured the state title with a 46.17 time in the second run for an overall 1:37.8 showing.
"I went in feeling pretty confident about my GS skiing," he said. "After the first run, I was in first and thought I could really do it my second run."
McLennan injured his knee while ski racing in 2015 and had surgery. Still he was able to play lacrosse last spring for the Jaguars. He scored 11 goals and had 17 points.
In the slalom state championship event on Feb. 25, McLennan finished 18th.
"On my second run, I straddled a gate so it wasn't what I was looking to do," he said. "I was looking for a podium in slalom also.
"It felt pretty good to be a state ski champion. I wanted to finish the high school ski season strong and I plan to go to CU next year just to go to college."
But first, there is the lacrosse season, which starts for Rock Canyon with a March 10 game against Grand Junction at All-City Stadium.
"I will take a lot of good conditioning from skiing into lacrosse," he said.
Spring is here
After weeks of above average temperatures, snow and cold weather arrived just in time for the opening of practice for spring sports teams.
Spring sports practice started Feb. 27 for baseball, girls golf, boys and girls lacrosse, girls soccer, boys swimming, girls tennis, and boys and girls track and field.
Among the area's defending state champions are Faith Christian (3A) and Valor Christian (4A) in baseball, Valor in boys lacrosse (4A), Lutheran in boys track (3A) and Pomona in boys track (5A).
There will be a meeting for teams interested in playing in the Colorado Senior Softball Association on March 8 at the Denver Elks Club.
The CSSA is for players 50 years old and older, and teams are divided into seven divisions based on competitive level. The season runs from the third week of April until August.
Last year, there were area teams competing in the various regionwide divisions from Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, Arvada, Westminster, Englewood, Littleton/Centennial and Castle Rock.
Information can be obtained from CSSA Commissioner Stan Harbour at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Benton is a sports writer for Colorado Community Media. He has been covering sports in the Denver area since 1968. He can be reached at email@example.com or at 303-566-4083.