Steamboat Springs Led by strong performances from Katherine Ingalls and Marty Smith, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes have helped propel the Rocky Mountain Nordic Junior Olympic team into fourth place halfway through the 2007 Junior Olympics in Soldier Hollow, Utah.
The national competition features 11 regional teams of J2 or older skiers from across the country that compete in a skate sprint, a mass-start skate, an individual start classic and a three-person classic relay.
In Monday's skate sprint, Steamboat's Ingalls finished fifth overall and first in the B finals. The skate sprint involves a preliminary 1.25-kilometer race in which the top 24 racers advance into the quarterfinals bracket.
Ingalls skied her way into the semifinals and was skiing in the lead pack before she got boxed out in the last corner and finished third in the semifinal heat. That finish pushed her into the B finals, which she won easily, Steamboat head cross-country ability coach Brian Tate said.
Steamboat's Mary Rose (35th) and Molly Newman (48th) also competed in the skate sprint.
On the men's side, Carter Miller finished 37th in the J2's while Smith (14th) and Paul Rose (15th) both scored points for their teams in the Over Juniors division.
"We had some great results," Tate said. "They were excellent results for our kids and the club."
In Wednesday's mass-start skate, Smith finished second with a time of 38 minutes, 46.1 seconds - just two seconds behind the winner.
Tate said Smith was in the lead group for the entire 15-kilometer race before getting nipped at the line in the last 200 meters.
Still, Tate came away impressed.
"In the 15-kilometer, 38 minutes is a blistering time," he said.
Paul Rose finished 36th with a time of 42:56.2.
On the women's side, Ingalls continued to ski well, finishing third in the mass-start skate, 15 seconds behind the winner. Mary Rose finished 20th, and Newman finished 38th.
In the J1's, Steamboat's Sophie Leonard finished the 10-kilometer race 12th with a time of 31:32.5. Missy Krause finished a minute later in 24th position.
The Junior Olympics continue today with the individual start classic followed by the three-person classic relay Saturday.
"I'm very, very pleased," Tate said. "I'm expecting good things the next two days."
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