Steamboat Springs girls ski to 4th, as heavy snow grabs headlines at state high school skiing championships in Durango
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Nordic skier Winter Boese’s fifth-place finish in the 5K classic race at the Durango Nordic Center was the top Steamboat Springs finish Thursday as heavy snow dominated the headlines on the opening day of the Colorado High School State Skiing Championships in Durango.
“I think we did pretty well,” Nordic ski coach Jesse Wilkins said Thursday. “It’s really good for Winter. She has had a good season, but she has been dealing with some injuries … She finally hit on it right when she needed to.”
Boese, a senior, finished the race in a time of 19 minutes 59 seconds to place fifth overall. Summit’s Tai-Lee Smith won the race in a time of 19:14 and was followed by a pair of Battle Mountain skiers in the first cross-country race of the championships
Top Steamboat finishes in the classic race came from Zoe Bennett-Manke, who was 21st (21:26); Maggi Congdon, who was 23rd (21:35); and Margaret Redfern, who crossed the finish line in 32nd place (23:05). Steamboat was represented by Macayla Scheidt, in 47th (23:59); Claire Bohmer, in 56th (24:55); Anne Hager, in 58th (25:17); and Catcher Weynand, in 59th (25:29).
The team scores in high school ski racing are a combination of the Nordic and Alpine ski racing results.
On the first day of the state skiing championships, the Alpine skiers were scheduled to test their skills in a two-run giant slalom race. Unfortunately, more than a foot of snow in Durango forced the officials to scale back the giant slalom race at the Purgatory Ski Resort to just one run.
The Sailors were led by Ella Pietras who raced to ninth place with a time of 41.59 seconds. That finish was combined with senior Kendal Flake’s 13th (42.71), Ann Marie Hackworthy’s 20th (43.34), Annika Ort’s 30th (45.09) and Morgan Sauerbrey’s 63rd (50.47).
The Sailors’ combined efforts placed them fourth on the women’s side with 288 points after the first day of skiing behind Battle Mountain (340), Aspen (328) and Summit (297).
Steamboat Springs was sitting in eighth place in the boys standings with 215 points after the first day. Aspen led the pack on the boy’s side with 338 points, followed by Battle Mountain with 303 and Middle Park with 289.
The top Sailor was Wyatt Mortenson, who posted an 11th place in the boy’s 5K classic race with a time of 17:23. He was followed by teammates Mitchell Meissner, who was 30th (18:37); Gabriel Rabanal, 42nd (19:29); Chase Weynand, 46th (19:55); Quinn Wellman, 54th (20:24); Jeremiah Kelley, 68th (21:34); and Nathanial Swindle, 73rd (21:59).
It was also a rough day on the Alpine course for the Sailors who made the best of tricky race conditions between the gates. Head Alpine coach Mike Farny said the snow conditions favored skiers who started later because the course got faster as the powder was pushed to the side
“There was so much snow up there, it was unbelievable,” Farny said. “It snowed about 14 inches, and we had zero visibility. On a good day, it would have been very challenging, but everyone would have skied a little better. Today it was total survival mode.”
Kai Scott, one of two Sailors who finished the boys giant slalom race, was the top Steamboat finisher, placing 31st with a time of 44.60 seconds. His teammate Alden Wade placed 32nd in the race at 44.63.
Farny said the results may not have been what his skiers were hoping for, but he said the conditions and the course will be something his skiers remember for the rest of their lives.
“Our kids all had a great attitude,” Farny added.
Racing was slated to continue Friday as more snow was expected in the forecast. The Nordic skiers were scheduled to return to the Durango Nordic Center for the 5K skate race, while the Alpine skiers were headed to Chapman Hill for the slalom races.
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