Skiers shoot for state meet

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— Steamboat Springs ski racer Cassidy Kurtz will enter the final high school race of the season this Friday with just one goal to finish.

"I went to JOs (Junior Olympics) at Beaver Creek last year and I didn't finish the slalom," the high school racer said. " So, this year I just want to finish the slalom. I want to conquer the course."

Kurtz said it might also be nice to break into the top-three, but that would just be an added bonus.

Teammate Joe Liefer is taking a more team-oriented approach to the final regular season meet of the year.

"I'm not sure where I'm going to be seeded in this race," Liefer said. "The idea is to move some of the seeds around to see if we can get some more skiers qualified for state. We still want to win the race in Beaver Creek, but I'm sure we will shift our seed order a bit."

The slalom race will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Beaver Creek. The Steamboat team is coming off of a giant slalom race on Vail's Gold Peak on Feb. 3.

In that race the Steamboat boys placed second with 159 points. The meet was won by the Battle Mountain boys who scored 170 total points.

The women's race was won by Battle Mountain, as well. The Huskies scored 161 points to edge Summit, who finished with 154 points. Steamboat placed third at the meet with 142 points.

Top individual finishers included Liefer for the boys and Kurtz for the girls team.

Kurtz raced to a third-place finish in the giant slalom race with a time of 1:31.17.

"It was pretty good," Kurtz said of the Vail race. " I was happy with third place. There are just a couple of girls I haven't been able to beat this season."

The race was won by Kyrie McAdam of Battle Mountain, who finished with a two-run total of 1:27.19. Vail Mountain School's Julie Littman was second.

Other top Steamboat finishers included Brittany Lamb in 18th, Rebecca Herman in 29th and Camilla Chase in 33rd.

The Steamboat boys were led by Liefer in fourth place with a time of 1:26.68. The race was won by Cody Jenick of Battle Mountain. Middle Park's Dan Flygere was second.

Other top Sailors finishes included Chris Dombey in ninth, Gunnar Sorenson in 13th, JoJo Bucci in 22nd and Kori Dooley in 25th.

"It was a solid finish, but it wasn't my best," Liefer said.

He explained that two of Steamboat's top seeds, Stewart Beall and Andrew Porter-Merrill, fell in the first run so there was some added pressure for some of the other racers to step it up and finish.

"I was just focused on finishing the race," Liefer said. "That may have hurt me a little bit in the results."

Steamboat's Taylor Patterson placed 34th, Mark Gillespie was 53rd , Christian HoGrefe came in 66th and Tony Haight was 74th.

Kurtz, a former United States Skiing Association athlete, said she hasn't regretted her choice to move to the high school level.

"It's been so much fun," the Steamboat junior said.

She said she hasn't been looking forward to the state meet, which is scheduled for Feb. 23-24, at Ski Cooper in Leadville. But now that the season is starting to wind down she can't help but think about the biggest races of the season.

"We will just have to wait and see what happens," Kurtz said. "But I think winning a state title is a possibility."

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