Champions of the sport: Sailors Nordic team captains inspire a new generation
In an effort to be champions of their sport with an intention of growing Nordic skiing, Steamboat Springs High School Nordic team captains Wren Capra and Thomas Reilley have put a lot of their energy into helping the underclassmen on the team.
The pair has more than 20 years of combined skiing experience, and they are using it to help those around them get better and fall in love with Nordic skiing.
“I’ve been skiing for a really long time and I really love it,” Capra said. “It’s cool to help people who have either been skiing forever or haven’t skied for a long time.”
Both Capra and Reilley were chosen as captains by first-year head coach Katie Lindquist. With only a handful of seniors on the roster, Steamboat fields a young team that looks to the older athletes for guidance and support.
“There’s a lot of passion in this team, which is really nice,” Reilley said. “It makes it really enjoyable. There’s never a day where you’re like, ‘Aw, I have to come to practice.’”
Reilley said a lot of that passion comes from how the program is structured. There is an emphasis on getting prepared for a race, while also giving the athletes a chance for their bodies to recover.
The captains said a lot of that praise goes to Lindquist, who sets up every practice and gives direction but also allows her senior leaders the opportunity to be leading voices on the course.
“While we’re out there, we’re the ones instructing everyone else on how to improve their technique,” Reilley said. “Katie is a great leader, but it’s also nice to have more people out there to help supervise everything.”
The efforts of Steamboat’s two captains have paid off this season. The team most recently raced at home for a 5K around the Steamboat Ski Touring Center on Saturday, Jan. 21.
The boys and girls teams both took fourth place, with Steamboat senior Griffin Rillos winning the event for the boys and freshman Dixie Barnes taking home bronze for the girls.
It has been rewarding for Capra and Reilley to see their team and teammates succeed at such high levels, as Capra explained that Nordic skiing is such a massive part of the Steamboat blueprint and part of what makes the city so great.
Being captains of a ski team in Steamboat is not something the two take lightly, and they enjoy sharing the sport with their classmates.
“If you haven’t Nordic skied and you’re a kid in Steamboat, it’s kind of a sad thing,” Capra said. “It’s fun to get new people out on skis if you haven’t done it before.”
Girls Team Results: 1. Poudre, 216.5 points. 2. Battle Mountain, 204. 3. Lake County, 194. 4. Steamboat Springs, 190.5. 5. Eagle Valley, 148. 6. Summit, 145. 7. Nederland, 144. 8. Middle Park, 142. 9. Aspen, 134. 10. Clear Creek, 98. 11. Evergreen, 93.
Boys Team Results: 1. Battle Mountain, 210. 2. Poudre, 197. 3. Middle Park, 186. 4. Steamboat Springs, 174. 5. Summit, 170. 6. Eagle Valley, 168. 7. Evergreen, 125. 8. Vail Mountain, 114. 9. Lake County, 113. 10. Colorado Rocky Mountain School, 110. 11. Aspen, 88. 12. Nederland, 87. 13. Clear Creek, 82.
Steamboat Girls Top 4: 3. Dixie Barnes, 18:28. 7. Wren Capra, 18:43. 25. Meaghan Maitre, 20:47. 26. Autumn Oslowski, 20:52.
Steamboat Boys Top 4: 1. Griffin Rillos, 14:34. 16. Connor Frithsen, 16:31. 30. Thomas Reilley, 17:08. 57. Erik Yeiser, 18:38.
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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