Races cap off a fun ski season

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For some, the races at the Ski and Snowboard Club Vail Kids Festival and Junior Championships were about titles. For most, the races simply were a fun way to cap off a successful 2005 season.

Fifteen Steamboat skiers traveled to Vail for the races, which mark the end of the out-of-town competitive season. Coach Deb Rose said the skiers will take part in local events and some non-competitive trips, through April.

"For most of the younger skiers this was the end of out-of-town competitions," Rose said. "But a lot of the older kids showed up just because it's an enjoyable event."

The races opened Saturday with a pursuit race for the younger competitors and a mass start event for the older ones.

In the pursuit, skiers start on classic skis and the J-4 skiers round a 3-kilometer course and the younger (J-5 and below) skiers compete on a 2-kilometer course. Later that same day, the athletes put on their skate skis and competed in a freestyle event with the fastest skiers from the morning heading out first. The older racers completed another 3 kilometers, and the younger ones raced another 2 kilometers.

Steamboat's Dori McNeill won the girls' J-5 class. She was followed by teammate Olivia Rose in second. Kate Cooper placed fifth, and Sara Stout was seventh.

In the boys J-5 race, Evan Weinman was fourth in a race won by Durango's Cully Brown.

Durango's Aliciarose Pastore topped the girls J-4 class. Steamboat's Michaela Frias was fourth, Eva Lambek was sixth, and Lucy Newman was ninth. Gino Pastore topped the boys J-4 class.

Molly Newman was the top Steamboat finisher in the girls J-3 class in third place. Durango's Paige Elliott won the race. Other top Steamboat finishers included Emily Stout in fourth, Katherine Ingalls in fifth, Kelsey McLean in seventh, Liza Stout in eighth and Emma Lichtenfels in 10th.

The top Steamboat finisher in the J-3 boys race was Carter Miller in third. Durango's Rogan Brown won the race.

While the younger Steamboat racers were taking part in the pursuit, the older skiers lined up for a 6-kilometer mass start race.

Top finishers included Andy Garber, fourth in J-1; David McCahill, first in the older boys class; Matt DeLaney, third in the older boys class; and Ben Barbier, first in senior men.

The final event of the championships, a sprint race, took place Sunday.

Racers completed a 1-kilometer preliminary sprint from which they were seeded into heats. Then the field was narrowed through a series of elimination heats that were just less than a kilometer in length.

Steamboat's Madison Keefe placed first in the J-5 girls race with McNeill in second, Rose in third, Cooper in fourth and Sara Stout in fifth. Weinman was first in the J-5 boys class.

In the J-4 group, Frias was second, Lucy Newman was eighth and Lambek was ninth. Molly Newman finished third in the J-3 girls class, while teammate Ingalls was fourth and Emily Stout was fifth. Liza Stout qualified 14th and advanced to the semifinals and teammate Emma Lichtenfels qualified 18th and advanced to the quarterfinals before being eliminated.

The J-2 and older juniors were combined for Sunday's race.

Michelle Lichtenfels placed fifth in her age group, while Miller was second. Garber took the final heat to win the J-1 boys class.

David McCahill was fourth in the J-1 class, despite breaking a boot in the competition.

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

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