SSWSC skiers earn top finishes

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— Members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's cross-country programs opened the season last weekend with a pair of races at the Gold Run Nordic Center in Summit County.

Both events were National Ranking List cross-country races, in which college racers and divisional junior racers compete for national recognition. The event drew top college programs such as the University of Denver, University of Colorado, University of New Mexico and Western State College. Racers represented the United States, Norway, Sweden, Germany and Estonia.

Steamboat racers posted solid results in the J2 (14- and 15-year-olds) and J3 (12- and 13-year-olds) divisions during a mass-start classic race Saturday morning. It was snowing lightly at the time of the race, and skiers had to contend with a steady, 15-mph wind.

Steamboat's Molly Newman finished second in the J2 division followed by teammates Mary Rose in third, Katherine Ingalls in fourth and Melissa Krause in fifth. Summit's Hannah Hausman won the race, beating Newman to the finish line by seven seconds.

It was another close finish in the J3 girls race, in which Steamboat's Michaela Frias finished second behind Crested Butte's Hannah Smith. Winter Sports Club skier Liza Stout was sixth.

Steamboat's Lucy Newman won the J4 girls division (10- and 11-year-olds) in dominating fashion. Sarah MacCarthy finished ninth in a strong women's field that included several European and college racers.

On Sunday, the Steamboat team traveled to the Frisco Nordic Center for a demanding individual-start skate race.

MacCarthy took first place in the 5-kilometer skate race in the OJ division. Rose was first in the J2 girls class. Newman was fourth, and Ingalls was fifth.

Carter Miller took third in the 5-kilometer J2 boys division, and teammate Kyle Steitz was seventh.

In the 3-kilometer J3 girls race, Frias finished second, and Stout was 10th. Lucy Newman finished first in the J4 girls skate race.

The Steamboat team is off until Dec. 17, when it will return to Summit County for divisional racing.

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

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