Wednesday, February 11, 2004
It's not surprising that Sailor Korie Steitz will be in the running for a state title when the Colorado High School Skiing Championships come to town in two weeks.
She skated to the individual freestyle title at last year's state championship and, along with teammate Sarah MacCarthy who won the classic title, helped the Steamboat girls dominate the Nordic events.
"The high school races are normally about having fun," Steitz said. "But the state meet is always a little more serious. These are the races that count the most."
This year, the two girls are among 12 students from Steamboat Springs who will compete in the championships. Rounding out the girls team are Laura Philip, Lisl Pearson, Katie Conrath and Jennifer Hooper.
Marty Smith, Mike Gleason and Austin Ross will lead the talented Steamboat Springs High School boys team. Justin Krause, Paul Rose and Paul Berry will complete the group.
"Our team did really well at the Carbondale meet," Marty Smith said. "I think we are going to do just as well here in Steamboat. I think everybody is excited about skiing at home."
Smith, a Lowell Whitman student, cruised past Summit County's Kyle Ahern and Aspen's Brandon Cooper to win the 5-kilometer classic race in Carbondale.
"It wasn't a great course," Marty Smith said. "They didn't have a lot of snow, and the course wasn't too challenging."
It was the last race of the season and, by placing first, the Sailors strengthened their position as one of the dominant teams in the state.
Sailor Paul Rose placed sixth, Austin Ross was seventh, and Mike Gleason was 18th.
"The boys held strong all season, with a great showing at the last (qualifying) meet of the season," coach Barry Smith said.
Other Steamboat finishers included Justin Krause in 22nd and Bridger Root in 66th.
But the boys team is not the only squad from Steamboat dominating the high school scene. The Sailor girls also finished in first place at the Carbondale.
Steitz won the race by slipping past MacCarthy, who was second. Pearson was sixth and Philip was 27th.
Conrath kept her drive alive for the state's Ski Miester Award, which goes to the top combined Nordic and Alpine skier, with a 35th-place showing, and Leigh Ann Smith was 46th.
Coach Smith expects his skiers to maintain their momentum as they begin training for the championships, which take place Feb. 20 to 21 at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center and at Howelsen Hill.
"It's really nice to have the home-court advantage," Steitz said. "It would be nice to repeat as the state champion here at home. I know I'm going to have a lot of friends and family coming out to watch the races."
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