Howelsen Hill hosts NCAA race |

Howelsen Hill hosts NCAA race

Natives Iverson, Gleason and Steitz in college field

Mike Gleason had some top-secret Howelsen Hill trail advice for his Montana State University teammates.

“I just told them they are hard,” the former Steamboat Springs Win-ter Sports Club skier said.

Maybe the advice wasn’t top secret, but it was all Gleason needed to say as he and his teammates pre–pare for this weekend’s University of Colorado Invi-tational, a series of four cross-country ski races.

“We went to training (Thurs-day) morning,” Gleason said. “It’s going to be a brutal course. We are actually coming up to altitude from Bozeman, (Mont). At least one girl said she thought she had never raced at this elevation — 7,000 feet — before.”

Three former Steamboat Springs skiers are in the NCAA field, and Gleason, Korie Steitz and Mark Iverson all compete for Montana State.

Gleason and Steitz are freshmen and staying at home this weekend. Iverson is a senior and is hosting the out-of-towners at his house.

Iverson, the top skier for the Grizzlies, is positioned well to qualify for the 2006 NCAA Championships, which are at Howelsen Hill in March. Glea-son said he is on the bubble, but that’s impressive considering his Montana State career started after he left a note on the coach’s desk.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it going in,” he said. “I was planning on training and getting familiar with the coach. I had a feeling it was a huge step up from a club program to an NCAA Division I school, which it was. I guess I managed it pretty well.”

Steitz, on the other hand, was well-acquainted with the program going in. She also made the varsity team in her first year and is skiing well.

“It’s been a pretty close race for the girls all year,” Gleason said.

This weekend’s races will serve as NCAA Championship qualifier races. The NCAA Alpine ski races hosted by CU are Feb. 3 and 4.

— To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail

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