Juniors off to championships

Several skiers will be absent from event

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— Nobody would blame Steamboat Springs jumping coach Gary Crawford for having some mixed feelings this week as he prepares to leave for the Junior Olympic Championships.

Steamboat had 13 skiers qualify to compete in the special jumping and nordic combined events, which will take place in Lake Placid, N.Y., next week. However, only eight of those skiers will compete at the events.

"It's a normal number of kids (13 skiers) for our team," Crawford said. "But so many of them are skiing at a higher level and will miss the Junior Olympic events."

Among the skiers who will miss the events is Clint Jones, who will be jumping at the World Championships in Lahti, Finland. Nathan Gerhart and Alex Glueck will also opt to skip the events in favor of competing on the nordic combined tour's World Cup B.

"It's kind of a catch 22," Crawford said. "On one hand it's nice to see them doing so well, but it also means that we will not have those guys representing us in Lake Placid."

Crawford added that three other skiers, Andrea Aalbu, Paul Berry and Andy Garber, have decided not to compete. The coaches and parents felt that two of the skiers were too young to attend the meet. The other will miss because of a previous family obligation.

"We wanted to hold off with some of the younger kids," Crawford said. "The parents and staff got together and discussed it and we all felt it would be best to wait until these skiers are a little older."

Despite the large number of local skiers who will miss the events, Crawford was confident the Winter Sports Club team will be successful again this year.

He expects skiers like Tommy Schwall, Logan Gerber and Adam Schwall to pick up the slack in the J-1 special jumping and nordic combined events. Ethan Johnson and Bryan Fletcher will both contend for titles in the J-2 nordic skiing events. Steamboat will not be represented in the younger J-2 special jumping events.

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