Steamboat Springs When the seasons change, Katherine Ingalls trades in her mountain bike for cross-country skis. And she's proven she belongs on both.
This summer, the 15-year-old wrapped up a mountain biking state championship in the junior expert women's division of the Mountain States Cup Championship Series.
Switching over to her cross-country skis, Ingalls posted a pair of second-place finishes at the Super Junior Olympic Qualifier races Friday and Saturday in Soldier Hollow, Utah.
Ingalls emerged from a field of 62 female J2 starters to take second in Friday's 1.3-kilometer classic sprint race. On Saturday, she followed with another second-place finish in the 5K mass-start skate race. She fell to Park City's Elizabeth Guiney in both races. Mary Rose stuck with the lead group until the finish, taking sixth in the skate event.
The cross-country races were the first of eight Junior Olympic-qualifying events for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's Nordic skiers.
Cross-country ability coach Brian Tate was pleased with the team's performance in one of the season's larger races, which lures Nordic teams from across the West.
"From youngest to oldest, this was our best showing in the last three years I've been going," Tate said, noting his athletes' ability to step up their racing in the huge starting classes. "There's about two to three times the amount of competitors as your standard Junior Olympic qualifier."
Tate also noted the significance of the fast times on a course that will be used for the culmination of his skiers' season, the U.S. Junior National Championships in early March.
"(The races) were held at the 2002 Olympic site," Tate said. "It's a really awesome, inspiring venue."
Marty Smith finished third in the 15K mass-start skate race out of 108 J1/OJ racers, ages 16 to 19. Paul Rose "burned up the last half" of the race to move from 22nd to a sixth-place finish.
Dori McNeill took second in the female J4 sprint event and third in the 2K skate event. Olivia Rose placed fourth in both events.
Michaela Frias added another podium finish for the Winter Sports Club with third in the 3K skate event for female J3 racers.
In all, the club notched 21 finishes in the top 10.
The Winter Sports Club's Freeskier Team also competed Saturday and Sunday in slopestyle and halfpipe competitions at a Wahoo's Winter Park Amateur Freeride Series event. Coach Tony Lodico noted 14-year-old Conor Garrecht-Connelly's first-place finishes in both events.
"He's the youngest in his division (ages 14 to 17)," Lodico said. "Everything came together and clicked for him. It's good to see him beat high school kids."
Other notable slopestyle finishes included Patrick McGee's win in the pro men's skier class and telemark skier Adrian Pougiales' second-place win in the amateur men skier class.
In the pipe, Sean Geisler won in the male class of skiers ages 13 and younger. Neil Harris, Pougiales and McGee all landed on the podium in their respective age classes.
"It's a good event to get everyone on the same competitive page," Lodico said.
CMC Alpine team
The Colorado Mountain College Alpine ski team opened its season of U.S. Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association races with sweet and sour results. In the slalom races the team hosted Saturday and Sunday at Beaver Creek, the CMC men won their opening race in the Rocky Mountain Conference, but the two-member women's team was cut in half.
Kara Norby was injured in what CMC Alpine ski coach George Thomas called a tragic, season-ending ACL injury.
On the men's side, CMC was able to beat eight other colleges, including a competitive University of Colorado club team, with quality finishes from its top three scoring skiers, Conor Pelton, Chris Smith and Jaymes Elkins. The trio finished Saturday's slalom in 10th, 13th and 17th, respectively.
"We've got three more weekends of racing, so it puts (the men) off on good footing, winning their first event," Thomas said.
CMC heads to Winter Park on Saturday for a weekend GS race.
Winter World games
Two Alpine skiers with Steamboat roots made recent waves abroad at the 2007 Winter World University Games in Torino, Italy. Uni-
versity of Colorado skiers Lisa Perricone and Drew Roberts both cracked the international competition's combined point standings after the giant slalom, slalom and super G events (the downhill event was canceled). Perricone finished 10th in Wednesday's super G to place ninth overall in combined points. Roberts placed 35th in the super G, but his 18th-place slalom finish at Bardonecchia helped him to a 12th-place finish in the combined points.
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