Steamboat Springs Nordic ski teams win at home behind victories from Cotton, Bennett-Manke
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — By the time the second place finisher crossed the line, Steamboat Springs High School senior Sumner Cotton had already taken his skis off. The Sailor won the home skate ski by nearly a minute, helping the Sailor boys to a victory Friday over Middle Park and Poudre Valley.
In the girls race, Sailor senior Zoe Bennett-Manke won by an even greater margin of victory, one minute and 35 seconds. Six other girls in the top 10 helped the Steamboat girls win as well.
Cotton was ranked No. 1 in the state heading into the championships last winter and finished ninth in the state skate race. He is in a similar position this year and could very well win an individual state title in either discipline March 6. He doesn’t pay much mind to that, though, and isn’t even striving for a state title, at least for himself.
“I’m not really trying that hard to get one. I just want to help the team out,” he said.
“I think as a team we can probably win state.”
Last year, the Sailor boys went in as the best Nordic team in the state. Last year, Steamboat Springs took fourth at state, which combines scores from both Nordic races and both Alpine races.
They certainly have a chance to win thanks to consistent top-10 performances. On Friday, Alex Colby took third, Andy Henderson finished sixth and Jameson Tracy and Xander Dalke earned eighth and ninth.
In addition to leading the high school Nordic skiing scene, Cotton races in national qualifiers alongside Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cross-country skiers. In the ever competitive FIS race at Soldier Hollow, Utah, last month, Cotton took 39th.
“I was originally doing that because I was thinking of skiing in college,” Cotton said. “But it’s more of a side thing. I do it to race.”
In the girls race, Bennett-Manke is a favorite for the girls state title. Her success is no surprise at this point, but a few other Sailors put up some of their best results Friday.
Annie Hagar took fourth, just seconds ahead of teammate Caroline Bauer, who finished fifth. Right behind them, Claire Bohmer and Catcher Weynand took sixth and seventh. Jade Henderson and Ella Chapman tied for 10th. With a similar performance at state, the Sailor girls could improve upon their fifth-place finish at state last year.
Bauer’s success has been the most shocking, since she had never competitively skied before. She had casually classic skied in the past, but nothing more. The runner decided to try out the sport and has done extremely well.
Bauer got fourth in her first race, 12th in the next and fifth on Friday despite a crash early on.
“It’s been such a fun season learning this sport. I run, so it’s kind of similar in that way,” Bauer said. “I’ve learned to love it so much. It’s going to be a life sport for sure.”
Boys team scores: 1. Steamboat Springs 173. 2. Middle Park 172. 3. Poudre Valley 159.
Top 10: 1. Sumner Cotton, SS, 16:28. 2. Graydon Walker, MP, 17:09. 3. Alex Colby, SS, 17:35. 4. Gray Barker, MP, 17:47. 5. Ethan Callarman, MP, 17:53. 6. Andy Henderson, SS, 18:02. 7. Ewan Gallagher, MP, 18:15. 8. Jameson Tracy, SS, 18:34. 9. Xander Dalke, SS, 18:43. 10. Dane Jensen, MP, 18:54. 10. Guy Granger, MP, 18:54.
Other Steamboat finishers: 17. Alden Wade 20:05. 18. Bowden Tumminello 20:09. 21. Jeremiah Kelley 20:43. 22. Ely Cariveau 21:01. 26. Rush Rusher 21:42. 28. Jack Cashen 22:47. 31. Connor Frithsen 23:41.
Girls team scores: 1. Steamboat Springs 173. 2. Middle Park 170. 3. Poudre Valley 161.
Top 10: 1. Zoe Bennett-Manke, SS, 19:04. 2. Maggie Barker, MP, 20:39. 3. Elizabeth Hammond, MP, 21:04. 4. Annie Hagar, SS, 21:27. 5. Caroline Bauer, SS, 22:00. 6. Claire Bohmer, SS, 22:06. 7. Catcher Weynand, SS, 22:09. 8. Emily Doerfler, PV, 22:10. 9. Annika Beighey, PV, 22:17. 10. Jade Henderson, SS, 22:27. 10. Ella Chapman, SS, 22:27.
Other Steamboat finishers: 15. Emma Stewart 23:01. 16. Kelsey Cariveau 23:11. 17. Mira Kearns 24:01. 19. Morgan Yeiser 24:16. 20. Sophie Cowman 24:24. 21. Kendra Sollars 24:25. 22. Gemma Birchby 24:31. 24. Emily Davidoff 24:53. 25. Meagan Maitre 24:58. 26. Katie Castor 25:43. 27. Margaret Redfern 26:00.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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