Heavy on the medals

Steamboat skiers take three golds, three silvers at Nordic junior Olympics

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Steamboat Springs junior Nordic skiers topped the field at the 2007 Chevrolet USSA Junior Olympic Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships, which concluded Saturday in Park City, Utah, earning four individual medals and two gold medals in the team events.

"I knew if we did what we knew how, we'd be successful," Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Nordic program director Todd Wilson said. "This team just really gelled."

On Saturday, the all-SSWSC team of Cliff Field, Charlie Stoddard, Erik Lynch and Aleck Gantick took home gold in the team ski jumping event for the club and the Rocky Mountain Division. Stoddard led the team with impressive jumps of 66 and 67 meters.

"Charlie's had a couple good weeks of training. He stayed calm, showed maturity and handled it well," Wilson said. "He picked it up an extra notch when it counted, and the whole team was solid."

Saturday's jumps also gave the two-man team of Field and Stoddard a healthy 30-second starting lead in the team Nordic combined sprint event.

"We did really good," Field said of the pair's sprint performance to hang on for another gold-medal finish that afternoon. "I felt bad because my asthma was killing me, but Charlie was our anchor."

Lynch teamed up with Aspen RMD skier Michael Ward to advance from an 11th-place start in the sprint to a fifth-place finish.

In his last year as a 15-year-old J2 eligible to compete in the junior Olympics, Stoddard also grabbed a silver in the HS-68 Elimination event Friday. Stoddard was most pleased with the team's overall success.

"As jumpers, we're the best in the U.S. as a region - I'm proud of that, it's good fun," Stoddard said.

But it didn't stop there.

Wilson reported his athletes "delivered some fantastic jumps (Thursday) to earn the one-two punch for the Rocky Mountain Division."

Field took home the special jumping national title on Park City's HS-68 jump Thursday evening, and Stoddard finished in a close second. The Central Division's Adam Loomis took third.

Stoddard also took silver in Thursday's Nordic combined individual competition. Field recovered from a crash in the 5K mass start cross-country race to finish in fifth.

"Winter Sports Club athlete Erik Lynch, 12, placed seventh in a strong field of almost 40 competitors from across the country," Wilson said. "I'm proud of our kids, they've been working for 10 months as a group, and being able to train on the plastic jump was the biggest component of all."

Visit www.nsfparkcity.org for full results.

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