Sarah MacCarthy and Marty Smith fueled the Steamboat Springs High School cross country ski team last Saturday during the opening meet of the season by racing to first-place finishes.
MacCarthy topped the women's field in the 5-kilometer classic race at the Piney Creek Nordic Center. She finished the course in 18 minutes and 57 seconds to beat Summit High School's Brittany Perkins, who finished second at 20:24, and Laura Hatanaka of Aspen, who took third at 20:50.
Thanks to the efforts of Hatanaka and teammates Cori Hach (fourth), Erin Kiernan (sixth) and Lauren Lacy (29th), Aspen won the meet with 170 total points. Steamboat was a close second with 169 points, and Summit came in third with 154.
"Steamboat had a great day for the first race of the season," coach Barry Smith said. "For some of our skiers, this was the first classic race ever."
In addition to MacCarthy's top finish, the Sailors enjoyed a fifth-place finish from Lisl Pearson, an eighth from Laura Philip and a ninth from Jennifer Hooper.
Steamboat's newest skiers, Katie Conrath, Leigh Ann Smith and Kaitlin Gibbs, took 28th, 43rd and 52nd, respectively.
Steamboat's boys team also got off to a fast start behind its top finisher, Marty Smith.
Smith just edged Vail Mountain School's Sylvan Ellefson in the 5K race. Smith finished at 17:19 with Ellefson breathing down his neck at 17:20.
Steamboat's Mike Gleason was seventh at 18:07, Justin Krause was 21st at 19:51 and Paul Berry was 28th at 20:43.
As a team, Steamboat finished third with 156 points. Vail Mountain collected 164 points to win the meet, and Summit County came in second with 162 points.
"Cold temperatures and the high altitude made this race one of the more challenging races that we will see this season," Barry Smith said.
The Sailors will continue to train through the holidays as they prepare for the next race of the season Jan. 11 in Aspen.