Iverson fourth in sprint

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— Steamboat Springs nordic skier Mark Iverson fought through blowing snow and high winds Monday, to come away with a top-five finish at a Junior Olympics sprint event in Marquette, Mich.

Iverson, who trains in Alaska but is a native of Steamboat, competes in the Rocky Mountain Division. He is a member of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

Iverson placed fourth in the older juniors division, which is the age 18-and-older division.

More than 100 skiers from around the country took part in the 1.25-kilometer sprint, which marked the opening event of the Junior Olympic series.

Three Steamboat skiers qualified for the Junior Olympics this year, including Austin Ross, Jessica Philip and Iverson.

The skiers were up against 30 mph winds at the Marquette Golf and Country Club course Monday.

David Smutok of Wayland, Mass., who competes in the New England Division, was the first-place finisher in the male sprint.

Philip, who competes in the older juniors division, was the No. 24 finisher in the female sprint.

The Junior Olympics are being held in Marquette and at the Suicide Bowl in Ishpeming, Mich. near Lake Superior.

Ross, a freshman at Steamboat Springs High School, also placed in the top half of the competition at a J-2 male sprint. Ross ended in the No. 45 spot.

Brian Tate, who is the cross-country coach at the Winter Sports Club, said the local skiers turned out excellent performances. Tate expects even better results from the skiers after the long-distance races Wednesday.

"I think Jessica's 24th-place (finish) is great," Tate said. "She's not even a sprinter. She does better in the longer distances."

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