Steitz overcomes start position to finish fifth |

Steitz overcomes start position to finish fifth

Luke Graham

— The circumstances just kept building up against Steamboat Springs High School Nordic skier Kyle Steitz.

After showing top-three potential at the beginning of the season, Steitz suffered a torn disc in his back. Then, after making it all the way back, Steitz and the rest of the Sailors drew lane 10, the worst position to start from during Friday’s 5-kilometer mass start classic race at Howelsen Hill.

But Steitz, who had hoped for a podium finish at the Colorado High School Activities Association’s State Skiing Championships, gritted through the bad luck on his way to a fifth-place finish.

“I was disappointed (Thursday), and I would have been (Friday) if it ended like” Thursday, Steitz said of his 13th-place finish in Thursday’s skate event. “I know I tried my hardest, and I’m happy with that.”

Initially, it looked like Steitz would have his day on the podium.

The Sailors senior was with the lead pack for the first four kilometers, before his old nemesis kicked back in.

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“That’s when my back started to tighten up,” Steitz said. “I was feeling really good until I dropped back that last bit. Plus I had to start out really hard because we drew a really bad lane. I probably started out a little harder than I wanted.”

Peter Daley followed up his eighth-place finish Thursday with a 12th-place finish Friday. Jasper Gantick finished 26th.

Chris Woods from Vail Mountain finished first, Aspen’s Whit Parker came in second and Sean Woods from Vail Mountain came in third.

On the girls side, Missy Krause again paced the Sailors, this time finishing sixth. Krause and teammate Mary Rose started out the first two kilometers skiing together with the lead pack before Krause started to break away.

“I was happy with the first part of my performance,” said Rose, who finished ninth. “The first two or two and a half kilometers were good. Then it went downhill from there. I got really tired.”

While Rose was a little disappointed, she said the top-10 finish will spur her on next year.

“It makes me hungry for next year,” said Rose, a junior. “I want to do better next year than this year. Hopefully I can get a state championship. That would be nice, but I really haven’t thought about that.”

Liza Stout in 15th, Lexie Ruppel in 19th, and Emma Lichtenfels in 30th all helped the Steamboat cause.

Summit’s Brian Perkins swept the girls Nordic, following up her Thursday win with a three-meter win against Vail Mountain’s Karlie Moore on Friday. Lindsey Wilkinson from Aspen finished third.

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