Getting a boost

Steamboat skiers perform well at Telluride races

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— Taylor Coe wasn't looking for a boost at last week's Rocky Mountain Trophy Series in Telluride, but that's exactly what he got.

And he wasn't alone.

Taylor Coe was one of four members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's Alpine program to pick up victories at the eight Telluride races - the final races before the J2 Junior Championships begin Monday. Several other Steamboat racers finished on the podium and confirmed the Steamboat program looks strong headed into a month filled with championship racing.

"It was a great week," Coe said. "Momentum carries over from one race to another, so it's a pretty big confidence boost headed into the junior championships."

Taylor Coe won the men's giant slalom race Feb. 22 in Telluride. Other top Steamboat finishers included Ann West, who won women's giant slalom races Feb. 22 and Feb. 23, and Lauren Letson, who pocketed a victory in the women's slalom race Feb. 24.

"I would say it was a break-out for our racers. We cleaned up as a team," coach Tom Davis said. "We won four out of the eight starts, and a lot of our younger racers had strong showings as well."

In addition to the victories, Steamboat picked up another seven podium finishes - including second-place finishes by Mary Rachel Hostetter, Jennifer Allen, Letson and Alex Reeves. Cory McConnell and Nathan Asoian picked up third-place finishes.

Davis said his team's success at the races is the result of athletes following a uniform program this season and maintaining faith in their coaches from start to finish. The coaches' plan and the athletes' hard work resulted in one of the largest groups of racers Steamboat has sent to the J2 championships, which are for ski racers between the ages of 15 and 16.

"We have great coaches, and that's a big part of the success we've had on this season," Taylor Coe said. "It's been a fun year."

Seven Steamboat athletes have been invited to the J2 national championships, which will take place next week at Mt. Bachelor near Bend, Ore.

Steamboat's Ryan McCon-nell, Ryan Coe, Taylor Coe, Max Marno, Hig Roberts, Emily Sackett and Hostetter will leave for the events later this week. Cassady Roberts, who was injured in the early part of the season, is still waiting to see whether she will be a discretionary selection. Davis said she has had several top results since returning from her injury and could get invited.

"I've had some good showings in the technical events this season, so I have some high hopes," Taylor Coe said. "I would love to finish in the top five or on the podium in the giant slalom and a top five (finish) in the slalom."

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

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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