Nordic skiers open high school season on classic note
Steamboat Springs — Members of the Steamboat Springs High School cross country team traveled to Snow Mountain Ranch during the weekend for the first race of the season and returned home with a handful of promising results.
“It was the first race of the season and the first race ever for several of our skiers,” coach Jesse Wilkins said. “I feel really good about the start. We have a lot to build on … we should only get stronger.”
The Steamboat boys placed seventh in a field of 12 teams at the meet, which was won by Aspen. Aspen finished with 168 points, followed by Summit with 162 and Middle Park with 159. Steamboat finished with 121 team points.
Steamboat’s Richard Tanner completed the 5-kilometer course in 22 minutes, 22 seconds to lead the Sailors with a 24th-place finish. He was one of five Sailors to post a state qualifying time in the classic event. Those skiers will need to compete in one more classic race this season ito qualify for the state meet, which will be held in Steamboat in February.
Other Steamboat skiers making the state qualifying cut were Matai Curzon, who finished 26th (22:24); Liam Hahn, who was 27th (22:25); and Mitch Meissner, who was 33rd (22:42).
Andrew McCawley placed 48th (24:41) in his first cross county race. McCawley is an Alpine skier who stepped into cross country skis for the race, hoping to make a run for the Skimeister honors, which go to athletes who excel in both the Alpine and Nordic disciplines.
Several skiers narrowly missed an invitation to the state meet, including Quinn Wellman, who finished 58th (25:18); Eric Phalen, who finished 59th (25:39); Aubrey Morrison, who finished 65th (26:05); Oscar Gilbert, who finished 67th (26:13); Dane Freckleton, who finished 73rd (27:14); and Wyatt Reynolds, who finished 78th (27:58). Reynolds is also an Alpine skier who is hoping to compete for Skimeister honors.
Wilkins was pleased with all the finishes and feels the team will add more skiers to the state qualifying list before the state meet. It was the first meet for several of the skiers, and the coach expects times to fall at the next race.
“We have a lot of first-time skiers,” Wilkins said. “They are only going to get stronger, and we have several that were right there.”
The Steamboat girls team placed 10th in the meet out of 12 teams in the field. Colorado Rocky Mountain School won the meet with a score of 175 points. Lake County was second with 149 points, and Summit was third with 146 points. Steamboat was just back at 104 team points.
The Steamboat girls were led by a 26th-place finish from Jenny Alder, who finished the 5-kilometer race in 27:41. Teammates Claire Traverse placed 44th (29:45), Macayla Scheidt was 59th (31:470 and Aubrey Rohde was 69th (33:39). Alder and Traverse both posted state-qualifying times and will need to compete in one more classic race this season to qualify for state.
The Nordic skiers will head to Lake County for freestyle cross country races on Tennessee Pass on Saturday. In high school skiing, athletes compete in classic and freestyle (skate) skiing competitions and must qualify for state in each event.
On the Alpine side, the skiers compete in slalom and giant slalom races. At the state meet, the school posting the top score in all four events will be crowned state champion. This year’s Colorado High School State Skiing Championships will take place Feb. 23 and 24 in Steamboat.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS ¬— Just inside the doors of Kevin Dietrich’s Natural Exposure Gallery in downtown Steamboat Springs, there are moose, bears and some of the town’s most scenic landscapes captured in perfect light.