Ingalls skis away with 2nd gold

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— For the second straight day, Katherine Ingalls walked away from Soldier Hollow, Utah, and the 2007 cross-country Junior Olympics, a national champion.

After winning the J2 5-kilometer classic race Friday, Ingalls, 15, was paired with Hannah Hausman of Boulder and Paige Elliott of Durango in Saturday's 3-by-3-kilometer relay race.

The team finished the race in 32 minutes, 38.5 seconds, easily beating the Midwest team by more than 10 seconds.

"It went really well," Steamboat cross-country ability coach Brian Tate said. "It was probably our division's best relay day in our history. And, of course, Katherine got another gold medal."

Tate said Hausman struggled in the first leg of the race, leaving the Rocky Mountain team trailing by 26 seconds. But after Elliott brought the team back to the lead group, Ingalls finished the job.

"Katherine maintained that lead," he said. "She skied very strong, and it was never close after that."

The Rocky Mountain team - a team of cross-country skiers from throughout Colorado - finished fourth. The host team, Intermountain, finished first, followed by New England and Alaska.

Marty Smith continued to ski well for Steamboat, finishing the Over Juniors division relay in fourth place. Tate said Smith - who was the anchor of his team - had some bad luck during his race. Before Smith's leg, his teammate inadvertently broke Smith's pole. Smith got a new pole that was too small but still skied well, Tate said.

Paul Rose also skied well in the OJ's, finishing in 13th place with a team of skiers from Crested Butte and Aspen.

Tate also pointed out the performance by Molly Newman, who despite battling Achilles tendon problems all week, was the first Rocky Mountain skier to finish in the J2 girls event. Her team finished 10th. Mary Rose finished 11th in the J2 girls and Carter Miller finished 14th in the J2 boys.

Missy Krause finished 10th in the J1 girls, and Sophie Leonard gave the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club another medal by finishing third in the OJ girls.

Still, the week belonged to Ingalls.

"I think it's safe to say," Tate said, "hers was the best JO performance the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club has seen in a long time."

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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