Steamboat skiers strong in Nordic combined finale
Winter sports club athletes earn podium finishes
Steamboat Springs — Decker Dean’s face split into a smile 100 yards from the finish line, but, considering the lead he had earned, that was far from premature celebration.
Dean crossed the finish line first in the J3 boys Nordic combined Western Regional Championships on Saturday in Steamboat Springs, kept the smile and added a huge fist pump.
It was a fist-pumping kind of day as the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club tallied up a heap of podium performances in the final event of the year for the club’s Nordic combined athletes.
“I was thrilled,” Winter Sports Club Nordic program director Todd Wilson said. “It was great to see our kids get out there and compete with such enthusiasm.”
Dean was joined atop the podium by seven teammates as Steamboat dominated the event, which drew racers from across the state, a strong contingent from Park City and a few elite competitors from Canada.
Steamboat’s Aleck Gantick, Jessie Taylor, Natalie Bohlmann, Bode Flanigan, Waverly Gebhardt, Gunnar Gilbertson and Tess Arnone all won their divisions in the two-day competition at and around Steamboat’s Howelsen Hill.
“It was pretty easy,” Flanigan said, hesitating a second before thinking back on his race.
He won the J5 boys division, capping what was an all-Steamboat podium. Flanigan had the best jump, earning him a 14-second head start in the race. He recorded the third-fastest cross-country skiing time on the 1-kilometer course, but it was enough to earn him an 11-second victory.
Murphy Bohlmann was second, and Bennett Gamber was third.
“It was very fun and a little hard,” Flanigan said. “Coming up the hills was
hard. You have to make sure you keep your place. You can’t look back.”
Natalie Bohlmann didn’t spend any time looking back. She started her J3 girls race in second place, 29 seconds behind Canada’s Raven Yip.
Bohlmann ran side-by-side through much of the race with Steamboat’s Dominique Katthain, and the pair wasted little time tracking down Yip. Bohlmann then surged late in the race to earn the victory. Katthain was second, and teammate Margaret Lichtenfels was third.
“Those three girls, any of them could win on any day,” Wilson said. “I’m really proud of them.”
Dean didn’t have to run any opponents down for his victory, but at least early in the race he had to hold one off. He was the top jumper in his class, but only barely, and started the race with a 1-second lead.
He expanded that to 10 seconds on the first of the race’s two laps and finished 12 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor.
“That was fun,” he said. “It feels really good. You have to race really hard.”
Steamboat also picked up podium finishes from Mae Thorp, Esther DelliQuadri, Finn O’Connell and Nicholas Madden, all in second; and Jasper Good, Jake Barker, Koby Vargas, Tatum Burger and Madison Knutson, all third.
— To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or e-mail jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com
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