Alpine skiers Ashley Stamp, Ryan McConnell and Jeffery Gay started the new year off right Sunday at a pair of Rocky Mountain Division age class races in Loveland.
"A bunch of our skiers got off to a real good start," said Scott Wither, age class coach for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. "These are the first regional races of the season for our younger athletes. We've had a couple of local races, but they're not the same as these out-of-town events."
Wither said Stamp, who started to come on strong at the end of last season, came out of the gates confident in 2004. She won both giant slalom races in the J-4 girls division and has set some very lofty goals for the upcoming ski season.
"I think she came into this season with some high expectations," Wither said. "She has been working really hard, and it's great to see that her efforts are paying off."
McConnell also stepped onto the podium by winning one race and placing second in the other in the J-4 boys division.
Other top J-4 results included Amanda DeVos, who was fifth in two races, and Cassady Roberts, who placed seventh in the first race and second in the other.
Top J-4 boys included Hig Roberts with two fourth-place finishes and Jordan Bernard with a ninth in the first race and a fifth in the other.
Gay topped the J-5 boys results by winning one of the two single-run races.
Jackson Coe was fourth and third, Murphy Roberts was fifth and seventh and John McKenna was seventh. Connor Bernard placed eighth in the first race and fourth in the other.
Corinne Landy led the Steamboat team in the J-5 girls division with two second-place finishes. Teammate Lexi Baden was fourth and sixth, Gracy Whelihan was sixth and 10th and Cassady Daley came in seventh and third.
Luzanne Lyon was 10th and fifth and Mary O'Connell brought home a seventh-place result.
More than 70 Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club racers traveled to the races, which offered competition for the younger J-4 and J-5 skiers and the older J-3 skiers. More than 200 racers attended the event. Wither said he expected at least that many to attend a similar event in Steamboat Springs this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
"These races are very important for seeding," Steamboat J-3 coach Terry DelliQuadri said. "These races will be used to determine the seeding order for the Junior Olympic qualifiers."
Those events will be coming up at the end of January and February.
"It isn't like crashing in both runs is going to make a huge difference," DelliQuadri said. "But if you finish in the top five, it can really help you out in those seeding races and give a young racer a lot of confidence."
While the races were not as important for the J-3 skiers, DelliQuadri said Steamboat had several strong performances,
Taylor Coe earned a second-place result, teammate Dylan Roberts was second and third and Wiley Thayer was fifth. Trevor Wert was fifth and third, Jace Wirth was eighth and Sean Forney was ninth.
Jenny Alen was fourth and fifth, Priska Sorensen was seventh and third, and Lauren Letson placed 10th and ninth.
-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209
or e-mail email@example.com