Racers roar through dark
Club skiers pick up three podiums in Friday relays
Even if the air was chilly, the atmosphere was warm Friday night in Brent Romick Rodeo Arena at the foot of Howelsen Hill in downtown Steamboat Springs.
The stadium lights lit the snow and a crowd cheered as skiers raced from the starting line to the finish line in the second and final day of Nordic combined action at the 2015 Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Junior Nationals.
That all changed when a skier left those friendly confines behind, Steamboat Springs skier Grant Andrews explained. The trail turned dark, the air colder and a skier was left alone with his or her thoughts.
“When you go out on your own, you get to think,” Andrews said. “You don’t have anyone yelling at you, screaming at you, so it’s more peaceful.”
Alone or in the crowd, he skied quite well Friday, helping lead the way for a flurry of Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club podiums on the second day of the event.
Andrews teamed up with Nicholas Madden and together the pair won the U20 mixed division.
“It was just great with a teammate like that, especially coming from 14 seconds behind and in third place,” Andrews said.
Steamboat also got a win in the U16 girls division where Annika Belshaw and Esther Rose DelliQuadri turned a small lead into a commanding victory.
At the U16 boys level, Steamboat’s Decker Dean and Elijah Vargas were outdone only by Intermountain Division skiers Stephen Schumann and Jared Shumate, who won, leaving Steamboat’s pair second.
Andrews led the way in the U20 race, starting first for his two-man team, but third overall. Racing alone in the dark, he made up the 14 seconds that initially separated him from the leader and as he approached the first tag-off to Madden, his team was in control.
Each racer was responsible for three laps and when Madden came flying into the bright stadium for the finish, the second-place team was a safe distance back.
“It was great to go out and win with a teammate,” Madden said. “It was 100 times better than winning on your own.”
It was a huge weekend for Madden as he also won Friday’s individual Nordic combined race.
Tucker Hoefler and Somer Schrock of the Intermountain Division placed second in the U20 class while Central Division skiers Luke Tschida and Ben Loomis were third.
The Intermountain team of Samantha Macuga and Sophia Nester were second in the girls U16 division. Andrew Urlaub and Aidan Ripp, from Central, were third in the U16 class.
The event wraps up Saturday with a elimination jumping round, beginning at 9 a.m. at Howelsen Hill.
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