Sailors cross-country skiers shine in home meet
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Members of the Steamboat Springs High School Nordic ski teams just missed out on winning at home last weekend, but that didn’t stop the athletes from finding a silver lining in the first official races of the season at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center.
“Our boys and girls teams had our best results since I’ve been coaching,” coach Jesse Wilkins said. “Our ski league is 14 schools, and as far as I remember I don’t think we have ever placed second either on the boys side or the girls side. On Saturday, we were second on both sides and not too far from winning the whole thing outright — at least on the boys side.”
Leading the way on the girls team was Sailor Winter Boese, who finished the 5-kilometer individual classic race in a time of 19:21 to finish in third. She nearly took second but lost out in a photo-finish with Battle Mountain’s Naomi Harding, who crossed the finish line a heart beat in front of Boese.
Lizzy Harding, also of Battle Mountain, won the race in a time of 19:03.
Steamboat’ s Annika Malacinski was fourth at 19:25, and Zoe Bennett-Manke was 19th at 22.12 to round out the Sailors scoring efforts at 161 points.
Battle Mountain won the meet with 174 points, and Aspen and Lake County finished in a tie for third at 148 points.
Other top Steamboat finishers included freshman Claire Bohmer, who skied to 25th place at 23:16, and junior Maggi Congdon, who placed 30th at 23:35. Both of those skiers posted state-qualifying times.
The Steamboat boys also finished second in the team results, just a few points behind the winning team from Battle Mountain that finished with 147 points. Steamboat and Lake County tied for second with 162 points and Aspen was fourth at 153.
The Sailors were led by freshman Wyatt Mortenson, who raced to second place overall with a time of 16:50. The race was won by Nicholas Apps. The Battle Mountain skier finished the 5K individual classic race in a time of 16:22.
Steamboat sophomores Mitch Meissner placed ninth at 18:09, and Chase Weynand was 10th at 18:12 to round at the Sailors points. The The Sailors’ Tanner Richard was 22nd at 18:46, Matai Curzon was 24th at 18:48, Gabe Rabenal was 30th at 19:15, Quinn Wellman was 33rd and James Bradley was 39th. All of those skiers met state-qualifying criteria in the race.
The race was the first of the season and Wilkins is thrilled to see so many of his skiers already making the qualifying cut.
“The race was a really good opportunity for our kids to get off to a good start, and they totally took advantage of it,” the coach said. “The energy on the team this year is just incredible, and everyone contributes to that. I’m so excited about the momentum we’ve got going right now.”
The teams will be back in action Saturday at the Vail Nordic Center. This time the skiers will compete in a mass start skate race.
John F. Russell is the business reporter at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach him, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.
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