Nordic skiers impress in first JNQ races of the season |

Nordic skiers impress in first JNQ races of the season

SSWSC U10 athletes Henry Magill, left, and Grey Barbier finished first and second in both of their Rocky Mountain Nordic JNQ cross country ski races this past weekend in Crested Butte.
Courtesy Photo

— It’s only one weekend, but Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cross country director Brian Tate liked what he saw out of his young athletes.

“The whole team really did fantastic,” Tate said. “It’s a good indicator of really good things to come, I would think.”

The SSWSC cross country athletes competed in their first two qualifying races for junior nationals over the weekend at the Crested Butte Solstice Showdown. They weren’t short of podium finishers, led by a pair of buddies who finished first and second in both of their races.

Grey Barbier and Henry Magill took the top two spots in the U10 sprint Saturday before returning Sunday to finish first and second, respectively, in the 5-kilometer classic mass start U10 race. Barbier dominated Sunday’s race, finishing in five minutes, 17 seconds, 25 seconds ahead of Magill.

Tate said the biggest surprise might have come from U16 skier Jimmy Colfer, who is only in his second full winter with the club. Colfer finished with two wins in two races, winning both with a nice “cushion,” Tate said, adding his sprint race was “strategically flawless.”

SSWSC athletes Sven Tate and John Foster, Jr. took third and fourth, respectively, in the U16 classic race Colfer won.

The other winner from Steamboat was Jordi Floyd, who won the women’s U18/U20 sprint Saturday before taking second in the classic race Sunday. Steamboat’s Kathleen O’Connell was fourth in the U18/U20 sprint.

“You wonder how well you will perform in the first races and are hoping that your preparation was good,” Tate said. “You can always be better, but it was a darn good showing.”

Other notable sprint finishers include 16-year-old Noel Keeffe, who took third in the senior sprint race, losing out to a pair of collegiate skiers. Avery Harrington and Waverly Gebhardt finished third and fourth, respectively, in the women’s U16 sprint, while Katy Floyd took second in the U14 sprint.

Keeffe also had a second-place finish in Sunday’s men’s U18-plus classic race. Floyd and O’Conell finished second and third in the women’s U18-plus classic, with Gebhardt and Harrington finishing third and fifth in the U16 classic race.

Next for many of the older kids will be the 2016 U.S. Cross Country Championships in Houghton, Michigan, from Jan. 3 to 9. The rest of the athletes will be waiting until Steamboat Springs hosts the third and fourth Rocky Mountain Nordic JNQ races Jan. 23 and 24.

To reach Austin Colbert, call 970-871-4204, email or follow him on Twitter @Austin_Colbert

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