SSWSC alumni and current Nordic skiers put together strong finishes at C.U. Invite
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes, old and new, competed at the University of Colorado Boulder Invitational at Howelsen Hill Nordic Center last weekend.
The invitational hosted four races over the span of two days, including a women’s 5-kilometer freestyle, men’s 10K freestyle, men’s 10K classic and women’s 10K classic.
“From a coaching and director perspective, the races came off well,” SSWSC Nordic director Brian Tate said. “And we’re just blessed with great snow and a super great facility and awesome support from the city, the Winter Sports Club and local volunteers who come out the of woodwork to help us achieve a great event.”
Both the 5K and 10K freestyle races included an interval start. Taylor McCreery, a senior at the University of Denver who is from Breckenridge, placed the highest of any American, taking second overall.
SSWSC alum Dasha Kuznetsova, a member of the University of New Mexico’s team, was the top finisher of any winter sports club athlete, taking 22nd overall.
A collection of current Winter Sports Club athletes also participated to take advantage of elite competition in home territory. They’d collect a number of impressive finishes against a field of older, collegiate competitors.
SSWSC athlete Sidney Barbier, 16, a junior at Steamboat Springs High School, finished 19th overall in a field of 60 women. Ellery Hodges, 15, finished 32nd; Ellory Kearns, 18, came in 442nd; Heidi Andre, 15, finished 47th and Anna Terranova, 17, 49th.
“Sidney can attribute her success to focus, her drive and commitment to sport whether it’s skiing or cross-country running,” Tate said. “She’s very attentive to what needs to be done and never lacking in effort and focused on the task at hand. She has the skillset and the desire and the drive to accomplish to ski in college.”
In the men’s 10K, Logan Dieckman emerged as the top American, taking fourth overall. Wyatt Gebhardt, SSWSC alum and a freshman at CU, finished in eighth place. Simon Zink, Winter Sports Club alum and current DU athlete, placed 28th.
Current SSWSC athlete Chase High, 17, took 38th in a field of 75 men. Wally Magill, 15, placed 41st; Kieran Hahn, 17, came in 46th; and Cooper Jones, 17, and 14-year-old Griff Rillos finished 47th and 53rd respectively.
“I would commend Chase on one of his better races within this season,” Tate said. “He was able to take all the time and energy into the sport and gain a result that he could be proud of. In the depth of the field that was there, and his age and experience, it was quite a good result.”
Rillos, the youngest competitor out of all the SSWSC athletes, normally skis 5K races, but he made the jump to the 10K with ease.
The mass start classic races couldn’t have had better conditions on Saturday, where a fresh layer of snow awaited the athletes.
University of Utah skier Leah Lang raced to a sixth place finish in the women’s 10K to claim the top American spot. SSWSC alum and current Montana State skier Kathleen O’Connell wasn’t far behind in seventh place. Other notable finishes by SSWSC alumni included Montana State’s Jordi Floyd and DU’s Saide Cotton, who placed 22nd and 29th respectively.
Dieckman, once again, claimed the top spot for the American men, taking second overall. Nick Sweeney, a one-year SSWSC veteran, coasted to a 12th-place finish for DU.
Gebhardt finished in 19th place, and current SSWSC skier Sumner Cotton, 15, raced to 42nd.
Current SSWSC athletes will travel to Utah on Thursday to compete in the Super Junior National Qualifier at Soldier Hollow.
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