Alpine racers shine in winter's first events

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— The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's Alpine Team kicked off its season last weekend with a number of athletes competing regionally and internationally.

Jenny Allen, Mary Rachel Hostetter and Ann West represented the Winter Sports Club in the Lake Louise Downhill NorAm in Canada from Dec. 4 to 8. West led the group with two 13th-place finishes. Allen place 20th on Thursday and moved into 14th on Friday. Hostetter finished in 21st place Thursday and 19th place Friday.

American Keely Kelleher won Thursday's race with a time of 1:29.54. Larisa Yurkiw of Canada was second in 1:29.82, and American Chelsea Marshall was third with a time of 1:30.06.

Marshall led the field Friday with a time of 1:28.42. Yurkiw was second in 1:28.56, and American Laurenne Ross was third in 1:28.69. The local racers will compete in a super-G NorAm event in Panorama, Canada, before returning to Steamboat later this week.

The Winter Sports Club also sent 35 athletes to compete in two FIS slaloms at Loveland Valley on Dec. 8 and 9. The Colorado Junior Ski Cup is a new series designed for young racers to compete at the FIS level with other junior racers from around the region.

The Steamboat racers had an outstanding start to their season. Ryan McConnell won the men's race Saturday with a time of 1:24.55. Taylor Barkan was second in 1:24.87, and Taylor Lynch was third in 1:25.01. Rounding out the top 10 were teammates Jimmy Hostetler in sixth, Max Marno in seventh, and Hig Roberts in eighth. Other Steamboat finishers included Josh Fix (23rd), Nelson Kane (30th), Michael Lyon (39th), Andrew White (43rd), Sam Glaisher (46th), Scott Ptach (57th), David Hoff (60th), Brant Crossan (65th), and Mark Dennis (79th).

On the girls side, Cassady Roberts led her teammates Saturday with a third-place finish in a time of 1:37.32. Christa Ghent of Vail won the race with a time of 1:34.36, and her teammate Mary Sackbauer finished second in 1:37.08. Steamboat had a strong showing with seven women finishing in the top 20, including Anna Marno in sixth, Maria Hillenbrand in 10th, Shane McLean in 12th, Emily Sackett in 15th, Chrissy Ford in 17th, and Lorin Paley in 19th.

Many of the girls started in the back of the pack and pushed their way forward. Other Steamboat finishers were Caitlin Colgan (28th), Jorid Halsnes (35th), Victoria McVicker (37th), Sarah Dixson (40th), Kersten Scherer (41st), Mandi DeVos (43rd), Erika Walters (46th), Emily Rabbitt (47th), Jamie Gay (50th), Lucy Causley (59th) and Linnea Dixson (61st).

The team was even stronger in the Dec. 9 races. Steamboat placed three racers in the top 5 of the men's results. Jimmy Hostetler led the boys with a second-place finish in 1:29.96, just behind winner Sean Pfau in 1:29.17, and just in front of Kyle Coxon in 1:30.16. Max Marno was fourth with a time of 1:30.17, followed by James Schindler in fifth at 1:30.46. Other Steamboat finishers Sunday included Hig Roberts in 19th, Ryan McConnell in 20th, Andrew White in 33rd, Nelson Kane in 41st, Michael Lyon in 48th, David Hoff in 57th, Ben Paley in 60th, Gordon Lazar in 69th, Brant Crossan in 76th, Mark Dennis in 78th and Sam Glaisher in 79th.

Steamboat's Anna Marno skied from a start position of 49th to second place in a time of 1:36.43. Ghent won the race with a time of 1:35.37, and Vail's Mary Sackbauer finished third in a time of 1:36.76. Other top Steamboat finishes included Emily Sackett in seventh, Cassady Roberts in eighth and Lorin Paley in 10th. Chrissy Ford was 19th, Maria Hillenbrand was 21st, Jorid Halsnes was 22nd, Victoria McVicker was 29th, Mandi DeVos was 36th, Sarah Dixson was 37th, Jamie Gay was 41st, Kersten Scherer was 43rd, Erika Walters was 44th, Linnea Dixson was 52nd, Lucy Causley was 54th, Caitlin Colgan was 56th, and Emily Rabbitt finished 60th.

A group of Winter Sports Club athletes also competed in the Surefoot Colorado Ski Cup, the elite FIS series held in Winter Park. Adam Cole of the University of Denver won the race with a time of 1:49.27. Former Steamboat Springs racer Drew Roberts was second in 1:50.85, and John Buchar of Sweden finished third in 1:51.07. Steamboat finishers included Austin Johnson in eighth at 1:52.25, and Taylor Coe in 56th. On the women's side, Suzanne Allbright represented the Winter Sports Club with a 27th-place finish. Cory McConnell led the Steamboat group with a 29th-place finish on the second day of racing in Winter Park. Teammates Taylor Coe placed 38th, and Ryan Coe was 46th. Suzanne Allbright raced to 29th in the women's race.

The Alpine team is off again this week, competing in the Surefoot Colorado Ski Cup in Winter Park with men's giant slalom today and Friday, There also is a men's and women's super-G race this weekend. Steamboat will send 30 racers to those events.

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