Racers shine in Smartwool super-G races

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The steep pitches of Vagabond provided the perfect setting for Steamboat ski racers Pat Duran and Josh Bryan to shine.

Both local skiers picked up victories at last weekend's SmartWool super-G races. The races drew a field of 170 skiers each of the three days of racing. Many of the top racers were gearing up for bigger races this week around the United States and Canada.

'There was some great racing," said Chris Puckett, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's competitive Alpine director. "Some of these young kids were flying, and it was just a lot of fun."

The first race of the week took place Friday with Quantum Ski Club's Jason McNeill skiing to the victory in a time of 1 minute, 7.94 seconds.

Bryan led a large group of Steamboat skiers into the top 15. He was second at 1:08.17; Duran was third at 1:08.50; and Thomas Allen was fourth at 1:08.52. Cory McConnell was sixth, Marsh Gooding was eighth and Andy White placed 14th.

Lauren Brien led the women's race with a time of 1:10.08.

Steamboat's Jennifer Allen was second at 1:11.01 and Heidi Hillenbrand was fourth at 1:11.31.

Brittany Bahle was sixth, Suzanne Allbright was eighth, Kathleen Lyon was ninth, Lauren Letson was 11th, Priska Sorensen was 12th and Anabelle McLean was 13th.

On Saturday, Duran led a 1-2 Steamboat finish in the men's race.

He won the race with a time of 1:03.35, just edging Gooding, who finished at 1:04.39. Other top Steamboat finishers included Allen in fifth, Bryan in sixth, Drew Roberts in eighth and Robby Zehner in 10th.

Brien led the women's field in Saturday's race with a time of 1:07.08. Steamboat's Hillen--brand was second at 1:07.88; Lindsay McClure was third at 1:07.98;Christina Roberts was fourth at 1:08.39; and Bahle was sixth at 1:09.04.

Lauren Letson was ninth, and Suzan Dole finished 11th.

Bryan stepped to the top of the podium on the final day of racing. His time of 1:10.57 topped Gary Beresford, who took second and McNeill who finished third.

Gooding finished fifth, Zehner was sixth, and Allen placed 13th.

Brien completed the sweep with her first place finish in the women's race Sunday.

She finished with a time of 1:13.92 to beat Hillenbrand, the hometown favorite, who crossed the finish line at 1:14.83.

Other top Steamboat finishers included Christina Roberts in fifth, Letson in sixth and Lyon in eighth. McLean was ninth, and Sorensen placed 15th on the final day of racing

Several athletes, including McConnell, Andy White, Lane Shipley, Allbright and Jenny Allen, left early for the J-2 Junior Olympics. Lisa Perricone, Drew Roberts and Pat Duran missed the final day to head to the NorAm finals, which are taking place in Canada this week.

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

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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