It wasn't the finish that the coaches of the Steamboat Springs High School boys team were hoping for, but the Sailors had plenty to celebrate on the final day of the Colorado High School Skiing Championships.
"We just didn't have enough skiers to bring home the title," Nordic coach Barry Smith said. "Maybe next year we can get a few more kids out and make another run."
The Sailors finished fifth in the final standings after being outmanned by larger teams from first-place Summit County and second-place Aspen. But none was better than the Sailors on the Nordic track, and the few Sailor skiers who qualified for the Alpine events also managed to pick up some top results in the slalom.
The Sailors tied Summit in the Nordic freestyle, the final event of the 2004 championships.
Steamboat's Mike Gleason led the Sailors, finishing the course in a time of 13 minutes, 46.4 seconds to place fourth.
Aspen's Brandon Cooper won the race in a time of 13:22.2, and Summit's Kyle Ahern was second at 13:37.5.
"It was way fast out there today," Gleason said after the race. "But I had a solid race and got a good result."
The entire Steamboat team fared well in the event.
The Sailors placed three skiers in the top 10, including Gleason's fourth, senior Austin Ross' fifth (13:46.7) and Paul Rose's seventh (13:55.4). Marty Smith, who was hampered by a sore back, placed 11th at 14:15.8.
In the slalom race earlier in the day, Jeff Dye led Steamboat's efforts with a time of 1:19.70 and a fourth-place finish. The only other Sailor racer, Ian Landy, did not finish the race.
Aspen's Paul Britvar set the pace in the slalom with a time of 1:14.70. Muzi Gazioglu finished second at 1:16.53, and Summit's Spenst Taggert finished third at 1:17.33.
Despite not winning the overall team title, Alpine coach Chris Arnis said he was proud of the way his skiers hung in considering the squad's small size.
"It's amazing that we were sitting in third after the first day," Arnis said. "It just goes to show that you can never say never."
Steamboat collected 502 points in the final tally to take fifth. Summit won the meet with 663, Aspen was second with 642, Middle Park was third with 550 points, and Battle Mountain was fourth with 546.5 points.
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