Cross country teams head to Gold Run looking for Junior National berths
Steamboat Springs — It’s only December, but a group of cross country skiers from Steamboat Springs competed in two of the biggest events of the season at the Gold Run Nordic Center in Breckenridge last weekend with hopes of qualifying for the Junior Nationals, which will take place the first week of March in Lake Placid.
The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes joined a field that included college racers home for the holiday break who use the Rocky Mountain Junior National Qualifying Races to sharpen their race form before the collegiate season shifts into high gear in January.
Many of the racers were also looking to get into top form before a series of World Junior Championships races that will take place in Park City in February.
Steamboat’s Wyatt Gebhardt stunned the field in the boys race Dec. 17. He beat a former NCAA champion and placed second overall to Cal Deline of Dartmouth in the 10-kilometer race. The 17-year-old Steamboat racer was the fastest junior (U18 class), crossing the finish line 1 minute, 27 seconds faster than the next closest junior.
Tyler Terranova was 10th overall and third in the junior class, and Noel Keeffe was 12th overall and fourth in the junior class.
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The girls raced a 5K course with junior Ezra Smith of Breckenridge topping a half dozen college racers in the event. Steamboat’s Kathleen O’Connell, who skies for Montana State, was third, and current Winter Sports Club racer Dasha Kuznetsova placed ninth overall and third among juniors.
Other top local finishers included Waverly Gebhardt, 10th overall and first amoug the U16 skiers, and Sadie Cotton, 12th overall and fifth among U18 skiers.
The U16 boys skied a separate 5K course with Steamboat’s Kieran Hahn placing eighth, Chase High placing ninth, Cooper Jones placing 12th Wyatt Mortenson placing 14th and Chase Weynand placing 20th.
Steamboat athletes swept the U14 class in the 3K race Sumner Cotton took first, and Wally Magill placed second. Grey Barbier won the U12 boys race with teammate Henry Magill placing 10th and first-time competitor Peter Cooper finishing 10th in the U10 race.
On the girls side, Heidi Andre finished 16th and Ellery Hodges was 17th in the U14 girls race, Jade Henderson was seventh and Suzy Magill was 12th in the U12 division and Nikita Andre was first in the U10 race.
On Dec. 18, the local racers returned to the course with the U16 and older racers competing on a 5K course,
Tyler Terranove raced to eighth place overall n the men’a race and second in the U18 class, His teammate Wyatt Gebhardt placed 11th overall and third in the U18 class, with Neck Sweeney finishing 13th and Noel Keeffe placing 14th.
Sadie Cotton led the way for the Steamboat girls taking fifth overall and second in the U18 class. She was joined by Kuznetsova, who was 14th overall and sixth in the U18.
The U16 race came down to a sprint with Vail’s Bridget Donovan edging Steamboat’s Wavery Gebhardt at the finish line. Anna Terranova was 10th, Avery Harrington was 13th and Elise Barbier was 16th.
Steamboat’s Chase High had a career best sixth in the U16 race with teammates Kieran Hahn taking ninth, Cooper Jones 11th, Wyatt Mortenson 17th and Chase Weynand 19th.
Sumner Cotton was second and Griff Rilos was 13th in the U14 boys race with Ellery Hodges taking 15th in the girls U14 race.
Grey Barbier won the U12 boys race with Henry Magill in seventh, Thomas Cooper in 13th and Tor Norling in 16th.
On the girls side, Jade Henderson was seventh, Suzy Magill was 10th. Tristan Thrasher finished fifth and Peter Cooper was eighth in the boys U10 race, and Nikita Andre came in second for the girls.
“I felt like it was a strong performance for this team “ coach Brain Tate said. “This is a larger team than we have ever had before, so the skill and performance level is spread throughout the results. Still, I think we had some very notable finishes at this event.”
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A cold front moved through the area Sunday evening bringing cooler temperatures and snow to the higher peaks surrounding Steamboat Springs.