Lane Shipley shines at Junior Olympics

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Skier Lane Shipley arrived at last week's J3 Junior Olympic Championships in Winter Park with a simple game plan.

"I didn't want to think about anything too much. I just wanted to ski and have a good time," said Shipley, a freshman at Steamboat Springs High School. "I went for it every run and wasn't worried about what would happen if I fell or didn't ski well."

At the end of the week, no other athlete had skied as well as Shipley or had as much fun.

Shipley picked up wins in the downhill and super-G and brought home the overall title that goes to the top J3 skier in the field.

Shipley also placed third in the giant slalom and placed second in Saturday's slalom race.

The finishes gave Shipley 85 total points. Breckenridge's Taylor Lynch followed in second with 67 points and Crested Butte skier Max Lamb was third with 56.

Shipley put himself in a difficult position in the first run of Saturday's slalom -- the final event of the week at the J3 Junior Olympics. He finished third, but recovered by laying down the fastest second run to place second in the final results. Lamb skied away with the gold medal for the slalom. Eldora's Nathan Westfeldt was third in the race.

Steamboat racers Trevor Wert was 14th, Taylor Coe was 24th and Ramsey Bernard was 31st. Ian Landy was 32nd, Ryan Coe was 37th and Wiley Thayer was 51st in the field of 101 ski racers.

Lauren Letson's fifth-place showing led the Steamboat girls team in Saturday's slalom.

Other top Steamboat finishers in the slalom included Anabelle McLean who started 49th in the race, but moved up to 10th in the final results.

Steamboat's Jennifer Allen finished 14th, Priska Sorensen finished 33rd and Anna Anderson finished 43rd.

Steamboat's McLean was seventh in Friday's giant slalom. Teammates Allen was 10th, Letson was 11th and Sorensen was 16th.

The top girls skier for the week was Molly Leonard of Winter Park, who finished with 72 points. Independent skier Alice McKennis was second with 70 points and Kelsey Roddick of Michigan was third.

The top Steamboat finisher in the combined results (all four events) was Allen in 11th, McLean in 12th and Letson in 13th.

Because of his finishes last week, Shipley has been named to the American squad traveling to Whistler, Canada, later this month for the International children's races, or Whistler Cup.

The races, which will take place March 29 through April 4, feature the best 13- to 15-year-old racers in the world competing in the super-G, giant slalom and slalom.

"A lot of ski racers look at the Junior Olympics as the end of the season, so I'm just looking at these races as a bonus, " Shipley said. "I'm going into them with the same attitude I had for the Junior Olympics -- to have fun."

--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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