On the road to the JO show
Cross-country skiers find success in qualifier
Steamboat Springs — Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cross-country ability coach Brian Tate thinks his athletes are stepping up to stiff competition.
At Friday’s 5K classic race near Carbondale, 19-year-old Marty Smith missed a victory in the OJ boys division by 7 seconds.
“To give him a fair shake, the winner (Durango’s Tad Elliot), will be competing at the Nordic Junior World Championships in Italy,” Tate said.
Smith also took second to Elliot at the Saturday mass-start skate event at Snowmass. The two races were the fifth and sixth of eight Junior Olympic qualifiers for cross-county Nordic skiers, from OJs down to the J5s. The races provided ample opportunity for Steamboat’s 35 skiers to earn spots at the U.S. Junior National Championships, March 5 to 10 in Soldier Hollow, Utah.
The Steamboat skiers responded with plenty of top finishes – 51 in the top 10, counting all age and gender divisions.
Katherine Ingalls won Friday’s event in the J2 girls division with the second-fastest overall female time and followed it with a Saturday win in the skate event.
Dori McNeill, who Tate said “continues to dominate her age group,” won both events in the J4 girls division – a stacked Steamboat age division where Kate Cooper, Cara Piske and Olivia Rose took the third-, fourth-, and fifth-place spots, respectively Saturday.
Tate highlighted the performance of 15-year-old Molly Newman, who “toughed it out” and took third in the Friday race, only her second race back from a recent Achilles tendon injury.
Liza Stout posted the best finish of her race career with a fourth-place finish Friday in the J2 girls division, Max Scrimgeour took second Friday and won Saturday in the J3 boys division and Carter Miller grabbed a third-place win Saturday in the J2 boys division.
The juniors head to their final JO qualifying races of the season Feb. 23 and 24 in Crested Butte.
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Emma Harmon, of Durango, is pictured with journals she has kept about her mental health challenges. She said Axis Health System would not help her when in crisis. “The way things seem to work there, you’d actually have to have killed yourself before they’d meet with you.” | Jerry McBride/Durango Herald