Skiers test themselves at nationals

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Five members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club joined the best skiers in the country Wednesday for the 2005 U.S. Cross Country Championships in Soldier Hollow, Utah.

Winter Sports Club skiers Michael Gleason, Paul Rose, Marty Smith and Sarah MacCarthy attended the races, which were held at the 2002 Olympic venue. Several former Winter Sports Club skiers also took part in the national events, which also draw top skiers from Canada as well as international skiers from American colleges.

"These are the biggest races our athletes will attend this year," Steamboat coach Brian Tate said. "The level of skiing is the highest they will witness this season."

Russian skier Ivan Babikov, who lives in Canada, topped the men's field in the 10-kilometer race with a time of 27 minutes, 55.7 seconds.

John Stene from the University of Denver finished second, and Justin Freeman of the U.S. Ski Team was third.

The top Steamboat finishers were former Winter Sports Club skiers Mark Iverson, who placed 105th, and Austin Ross, who finished 123rd.

Iverson skis for Montana State University, and Ross is at Colby College in Maine.

Current Winter Sports Club skiers Rose finished in 137th, Smith finished 152nd, and Gleason finished 189th. Hennie Kashiwa, a graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, placed 163rd.

Tate said the field of 250 skiers included many of the best skiers in the United States.

Swiss skier Karin Camenisch completed the 5-kilometer course in a time of 16:15.8 to win the women's race.

Mandy Kaempf, from the University of Alaska, was second, and U.S. Ski Team member Wendy Wagner was third.

MacCarthy, the only current member of the Winter Sports Club in the race, finished 129th in the field of 173 racers. Steamboat's Korie Steitz was 83rd.

Jessica Gray (53rd) Jessica Philip (108th), and Brooke Rygg (115th) are Winter Sports Club alumni.

The championships, which end Monday, continue today with men's and women's freestyle (skating technique) races.

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