CU skier sweeps giant slalom

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Not even a tricky gate on the knoll of the Sitz/See Me racecourse Monday would stop University of Colorado ski racer Lucie Zikova from sweeping the giant slalom events at this week's Rocky Mountain Trophy Series races.

Zikova, a native of the Czech Republic and a freshman at CU, laid down a sizzling first run time of 55.40 on a course that claimed much of the competition.

"We had warned our skiers about it," Chris Puckett, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Alpine director said of the gate. "But they didn't realize to what degree they needed to make an adjustment. Most of the field had a problem with that roll, but it was a team-wide thing for us, and for the ones that made a mistake, it was a big one. It cost them a lot of time."

Zikova, however, didn't make any mistakes in Monday's race.

After setting the pace in her first attempt, she returned in the afternoon to lay down another solid run and take the title with a combined time of 1 minute, 51.57 seconds. Not bad for a skier who says she doesn't particularly enjoy the speed events.

"I'm more technical," Zikova said. "I don't like the speed events."

Her teammate Erika Hogan was second at 1:51.89, and Claire Abbe of Burke Mountain Academy finished third with a two run total of 1:52.07.

Things didn't run as smoothly for the Winter Sports Club skiers, but the team had some encouraging results in the race.

After stumbling a bit in her first run, Steamboat skier Heidi Hillenbrand came back in the afternoon to record the fastest second run time of the day. The effort landed her 19th in the field of 100 racers, with a time of 1:54.04.

"It's definitely disappointing, but I'm really pumped because it's a lot better than I skied last year -- especially in giant slalom," she said.

Hillenbrand credited a better inspection for her improvement on the second run. She felt like she may have skied the first run a little too straight, which is what led to her problems.

Other top Steamboat finishers included Tina Roberts who raced to 21st with a time of 1:54.24, Lisa Perricone, who raced to 28th at 1:56.55, and Emily Colin who raced to 31st at 1:57.32.

Puckett said Colin is returning from an injury and only has been on snow a few days this winter.

Former Winter Sports Club skier Gladys Weidt placed 15th, and Jennifer Shively placed 22nd. Both skiers are members of the University of New Mexico race team.

The Rocky Mountain Trophy Series will continue today with slalom races at Howelsen Hill.

The men's field, which has been competing in similar races in Winter Park, will begin racing at 8:15 a.m. The second run is scheduled for 10:15 a.m.

The women's race will take place in the afternoon. The first run is slated to start at 12:30 p.m. and the second at 2:15 p.m.

--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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