Torn between schools

With one child at Utah and another in Boulder, one Steamboat Springs family could have had a family feud during last week's NCAA National Championships.

Fortunately, Gaspar Perricone and his younger sister, Lisa, will not let school pride cloud family ties. Both qualified to race in Alpine events at the national championships held from Wednesday to Saturday in Steamboat, and they were each other's biggest fans.

In a perfect world, they would have been racing for the same school, but we all know this isn't a perfect world.

Lisa's loyalties are to the University of Colorado and her team's push for a national title, but she said that hasn't stopped her from cheering for her brother in the men's events. Gaspar said he was thrilled to see his sister race to fifth place in the women's giant slalom, even though his biggest goal is to land a national title for the University of Utah.

In many families, the school and sibling rivalry would make for an interesting dinner conversation that could finish in a scene resembling something from "Animal House."

But for Lisa and Gaspar, their NCAA rivalry is just another day of ski racing. They always have shared a competitive relationship on the slopes, but it's not about winning as much as it is pushing each other to new levels.

"This is so cool," Lisa said. "We've always fed off of each other's energy. I can still cheer for him and be a part of my own team."

So last week, the Perricones proved that college ski racing isn't all about winning national titles. In fact, if you stood along the racecourse, it wasn't uncommon to hear a Pioneer cheering for a Ute or a Wildcat encouraging a Buffalo.

It's true that only one team was crowned national champion (CU) Saturday afternoon.

But when the racing was finished, Lisa and Gaspar were still brother and sister, and their parents still were torn about whether to side with Colorado or Utah. They no doubt ended up cheering for both.

The student athletes who came to Steamboat last week shared a common bond that is cemented in the desire to go fast and ski hard.

In a perfect world, Lisa and Gaspar would ski for the same team, and both of them would have won national titles in their hometown.

But this is not a perfect world, and the Perricone children understand that.

They were thrilled to ski in Steamboat and share the national championships experience with each other.

-- To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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