Steamboat racers return from Junior Nationals with best cross-county showing in club’s history
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Wally Magill lost a ski at the starting line of the 5-kilometer individual freestyle race at last week’s Junior National Cross Country Championships, it appeared that his streak of top-10 finishes would come to an end.
“Wally got tangled up with a skier in front of him and his ski flew off,” coach Brian Tate said of the race that took place on March 9 at Soldier Hollow, Utah. “He had to turn around, go fetch the ski and struggled to put it back on. He was in last place when the skiers left the stadium.”
But Magill, who had already placed fifth in the classic event earlier in the week and 10th in the freestyle sprint, never gave up. He worked his way through 62 other skiers to finish the race in fifth place with a time of 18 minutes, 10.1 seconds — his third top-10 finish of the week.
Will Koch, of Stratton Mountain School, won the race in a time of 17:16.3.
The scrappy performance was just one of the highlights from a strong week for the members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Waverly Gebhardt, Noel Keeffe and Jordi Floyd, a former Winter Sports Club athlete who now races for Montana State University, all collected junior national titles.
“These are historically the best results in the history of our club,” Tate said. “That was good.”
The group of 11 skiers also came home with a host of other top results.
In the U16 women’s race Waverly Gebhardt led the way on the 5-kilometer course with a fourth-place finish. Teammate Avery Harrington turned in a 40th-place showing, and Sadie Cotton crossed the finish line in 45th.
The top Steamboat finisher in the U18 race, which was held on a 10-kilometer course, was Dasha Kuznetsova, who led local skiers with a time of 32:51.7. The race was won by Anja Maijala, of the University of Alaska, with a time of 30.09.
Among Steamboat athletes competing in the boys U20 class, which was held on a 15-kilometer course, Wyatt Gebhardt placed fifth with a time of 33:40.2. The event was won by Hunter Wonders, of Alaska Pacific University, who finished with a time of 33:30.6. Steamboat’s Noel Keeffe was 27th with a time of 36:17.9.
Steamboat’s Sven Tate was the top Winter Sports Club finisher in the U18 division placing 17th with a time of 22:21.3, and Jimmy Colfer was 29th at 23:13.2 on the 10K course. The race was won by Gus Schumacher, of the Alaska Winter Stars, who finished with a time of 21:31.2.
Several Steamboat relay teams also posted top finishes.
In the girls races, a U18 team from the Rocky Mountain Division that included Waverly Gebhardt, Sadie Cotton and Vail’s Luci Anderson placed fourth. Another RMD team that included Harrington, Vail’s Emma Blakslee and Summit’s Noelle Resignolo placed fifth, and a U20 team that included Kuznetsova, Boulder’s Ellie Smith and Vail’s Sophia Grewal placed sixth.
The boys teams from the Rocky Mountain Division also posted top finishes including a U20 team made up of Keeffe, Wyatt Gebhardt and Vail’s Nolan Herzog that placed third and a team that included Magill, Steamboat’s Sumner Cotton and Durango’s Wiley Corra, which placed fifth.
Most races marked the close of the season for many of the Steamboat skiers; however, six skiers including Wyatt Gebhardt, Keeffe, Sven Tate, Jimmy Colfer, Waverly Gebhardt and Sadie Cotton will travel to Super Tour Finals in Vermont. Racing starts March 21.
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