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Steamboat men wrap up fast week

Nick Santaniello, who trained in Steamboat Springs before starting at University of Denver, charges down the slalom course at Howelsen Hill on Wednesday. He placed in a tie for third in the men's field.
Joel Reichenberger

Wednesday slalom results

Men

1 Vegard Busengdal, University of New Mexico, 1:23.74

2 Max Luukko, University of Colorado, 1:24.30

3 Nick Santaniello, University of Denver, 1:24.92

3 Alex Leever, University of Denver, 1:24.92

Women

1 Monica Huebner, University of Denver, 1:33.64

2 Sofija Novoselic, Westminster, 1:34.21

3 Rosie Hust, Buck Hill, 1:35.19

— Hig Roberts skidded to an unplanned stop high on the slalom course at Howelsen Hill in downtown Steamboat Springs on Wednesday. With that, for the second day in a row, the Steamboat skier was unable to hang on to a first-run lead and pull out a win on his home hill at the Murphy Roberts Holiday Classic.

It was nevertheless a strong day and a strong event for Steamboat’s men.

University of New Mexico skier Vegard Busengdal, from Norway, took advantage of Roberts’ mistake for the second day in a row, winning Wednesday’s slalom just as he’d won Tuesday’s to make it a clean sweep of this year’s two-race event.

He added $500 Wednesday to the $1,000 he won for taking Tuesday night’s race.

Steamboat skiers piled into the top 30, however.

“It says we’re doing awesome, and we have a super great program,” said Jett Seymour, one of those skiers who came away with a pair of strong finishes on the weekend.

Seymour, a senior at Steamboat Springs High School, is in the midst of his busiest and biggest season of racing. He just returned to town from a pack of Nor-Am Cup races in Canada.

Those went particularly well, especially a giant slalom in which he placed 25th and a slalom where he was 29th. Both results earned him points on the circuit, the first of his career.

Those points are the key to climbing even higher.

“Once you start scoring Nor-Am points, you keep going up and up,” he said. “I’m working my way up there.”

Seymour is off again after Christmas to more Nor-Am races in Vermont.

He piled up a pair of top-10 finishes this week, placing fifth Tuesday and eighth Wednesday.

“I was happy with it. I’m just super happy to be back in Steamboat, ripping it up on my home hill,” Seymour said.

He was one of four skiers with local ties to log a top-30 finish this week in Steamboat.

Roberts, who was the fastest of the entire field on two of the week’s four runs, was second on Tuesday and 27th after that second-run mistake Wednesday.

Nick Veth, a former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier now competing at University of New Mexico, was 22nd Wednesday.

Nick Santaniello, meanwhile, was fourth on Tuesday night and tied for third Wednesday.

Santaniello has had an on-again, off-again relationship with the Winter Sports Club. He trained with the program growing up but moved to Vail for several years and graduated high school there.

He then moved back to Steamboat last year, taking a gap year before college. Now he’s away again, attending school and competing at University of Denver — the reigning NCAA skiing national champions.

“So far, it’s been great,” said Santaniello, who is majoring in hospitality management.

He missed some time early this season after sustaining a foot injury while riding his bike but was back on snow and plenty fast this week.

“The repetitions at DU are less, for sure, but I got such a good foundation here the transition to skiing with Denver has been really good,” he said.

Kidd flies into top 10

German skier Monica Huebner was nearly as dominant on the women’s side as Busengdal was on the men’s. She was second Tuesday night, then roared into first place Wednesday to win the overall event championship.

Leading the way for Steamboat was Serina Kidd, who had an up-and-down week that ended on a high note. She started with a third-place finish in a national juniors race on Monday, then struggled Tuesday night, placing 67th after enduring major trouble on her second run.

Wednesday, she avoided such mistakes and finished ninth overall.

Four other local skiers cracked the top 30. Hannah Soria was 19th, Natalie Pearl 23rd, Elsie Halvorsen 27th and Margaret Dickson 30th.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9


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