WSC women holding their own

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Things were looking good for the members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's women's Alpine team after the first run of Tuesday's slalom race.

Tina Roberts led 80 of the region's top female racers. Her good friend and teammate Emily Colin was in second place and, despite missing a gate and hiking, Steamboat's Heidi Hillenbrand was still in the hunt.

But slalom races consist of two runs, and as Roberts learned, you have to stay focused the whole way.

"Until you stop," Roberts said. "I lost my focus for a second or I would have won."

The Steamboat Springs skier caught a pole and skied off course just a few gates before the finish line in her second run. Colin also missed a gate and had to hike, but she was able to recover and ski to 15th place in the final standings.

"At first I was really upset," Roberts said. "But by the end of the day I had let it go. I decided just to focus on how well I skied in the race."

The best news in the second run for Steamboat was that Hillenbrand laid down the fastest run and moved into eighth place to record the top Steamboat result.

"It's awesome for Heidi," Roberts said after the race. "She skied great, and I'm very happy for her."

After the event, Hillenbrand also was excited about her finish but sad that her teammates had struggled so close to victory.

"It was disappointing for them," Hillenbrand said. "We are all friends, so I wanted to see them do well."

Through the years the three Steamboat skiers have traveled across the country and supported one another at a number of racing events.

These days they affectionately refer to themselves as Team THE. The name comes from the first initial of the girls' first names -- Tina, Heidi and Emily.

"I've put Tuesday's race behind me," Roberts said. "Now I'm just hoping that Team THE can sweep the podium (today). If that happens, it will make me feel better."

Hillenbrand is confident that the Steamboat girls will pull it together for today's race, which begins at 8:15 a.m. at Howelsen. The second run of the Rocky Mountain Trophy Series event is scheduled to begin at 9:45 a.m.

"There is definitely a positive side," Hillenbrand said of Tuesday's race. "We all skied well, so I'm hopeful for (today's race)."

Gladys Weidt won Tuesday's race with a time of 1 minute, 31.54 seconds. Lina Johansson was second at 1:32.35, and Lyndee Janowiak was third with a time of 1:32.53.

Hillenbrand was the top Steamboat finisher in eighth at 1:34.69, and Colin was 15th at 1:37.70.

--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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