Steamboat Springs Korie Steitz and Marty Smith proved that they are among the nation's very best junior cross country skiers Wednesday in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Steitz posted the top local result in the J-2 women's 5-kilometer freestyle race in her second appearance at the Junior Olympic Championships.
She finished in a time of 16 minutes, 39.3 seconds. That was 1:14.5 behind the event's winner, Elizabeth Stephen of the Burke Mountain Academy. Stephen finished the race with a time of 15:24.8 to edge second-place finisher Alexa Turzian of Sun Valley (15:57.3) and third-place finisher Laura Spector of Berkshire Trails (16.05.9). Steamboat's Sarah MacCarthy placed 29th.
The race was the second of the week for the athletes at the Junior Olympic Championships, which feature the best Nordic skiers from around the country. The JOs opened on Monday with a sprint event and continued Wednesday with 5-kilometer races for the younger boys and girls. There was also a 10-kilometer freestyle race for the older girls and a 15-kilometer event for the older boys.
The top Steamboat finisher in the boys 5-kilometer race was Marty Smith in 10th overall at 14:15.7. Mike Gleason was 15th (14:31.9) and Paul Rose was 18th (14:36.7).
Aspen racer Simi Hamilton won the boys race taking just 13:10 to complete the wind-blown course. Fairbanks native Brett Broda was second at 13:31 and Cameron Mackugler of Stratton Mountain was third at 13:46.
The longer boys 15-kilometer race was marked by deteriorating conditions, complete with freezing temperatures and a high winds.
Casey Simons coasted to victory in the boy's J-1 race. Tyson Flaharty of Alaska finished second and Justin Singleton was third. Steamboat's Austin Ross finished 40th out of 73 skiers.