Sailors cross-country skiers finish in top 5

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— The Steamboat Springs High School cross-country ski team started its season out as a top-five finisher at a Dec. 15 meet at the Eldora ski area in Boulder.

The meet, which was hosted by Nederland High School, included 14 teams.

Steamboat saw four of its skiers place in the top 20. Freshman Austin Ross was sixth overall and freshman Davis Miller placed 12th. Sophomore Ethan Johnson placed at No. 18.

Sixty skiers competed at Eldora.

Jessica Phillip, who races for Steamboat, came in second in the girls race. Phillip, a senior, is the only female cross-country skier at Steamboat.

Eight members are on the boys team.

Chris Arnis, the team's coaching coordinator, said the Sailors did an excellent job considering the conditions at the ski area were blizzard-like.

"They looked really good," Arnis said. "They were very good results for our team (for the start of the season)."

The Sailors made a pit stop on the way back from Boulder, staying the night in Kremmling because of the harsh weather.

Their next cross-country race is scheduled for Jan. 5 in Steamboat.

The Alpine team, which starts its season Jan. 6 in Steamboat, expects big performances from Stewart Beall, Joe Liefer and Andrew Porter-Merrill.

Liefer took third place in the Giant Slalom last year at the state meet. Beall and Porter-Merrill also have a great deal of racing experience to bring to the Alpine team.

Any three of those individuals, Arnis said, could easily win a state championship in 2001.

Cassidy Kurtz will be a strong contender for the girls team, and Brittany Lamb is another excellent skier, Arnis said. Camilla Chase, a sophomore, returns experience from last season, and Rebecca Herman figures to be a strong newcomer.

Kurtz is ranked as one of the top 100 junior racers in the country.

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