Nordic programs finish strong

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— The skiers in the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's Nordic programs proved last weekend they know how to finish strong.

"This was a great last hurrah for the skiers in our younger age groups," Winter Sports Club coach Gary Crawford said.

On Friday and Saturday, skiers from Steamboat dominated the special jumping and Nordic combined events at the Western Regional Championships at Howelsen Hill.

The events opened Friday on the K-18 hill, where Steamboat's Elijah Vargas won the J-6 (ages 7 and 8) boys division. Teammate Brandon Temple was second, and Noel Keeffe was third. Olivia Requist took second place in the J-6 girls class, which was won by Utah's Nicole Maurer. Steamboat's Lauren Requist placed third.

Koby Vargas led a 1-2-3 Steamboat sweep in the boy's J-5 (ages 9 and 10) class. Finn O'Connell was second, and Jackson Ernst was third. Steamboat also swept the girls J-5 division. Natalie Bohlmann finished first, Kathleen O'Connell was second and Melissa Requist was third.

Steamboat's success continued on the K-25 hill with Madison Keeffe taking first in the girls' J-4 (ages 10 and 11) class. Teammate Meg O'Connell was second. Ben Berend was the top Steamboat finisher in the boy's J-4 class. He finished second behind Utah skier William Rhoads. Steamboat's Nicholas Madden was third.

Steamboat's Aleck Gantick won the boys J-3 (ages 12 and 13) class with teammate Berend taking third. Emily Hannah was second in the girls class, and teammate Mary O'Connell was third. Utah skier Sarah Hendrickson won the event.

Steamboat also dominated the older J-2 class, with Charlie Stoddard winning on the K-68 hill. Steamboat's Cliff Field was second, and Gantick placed third. Steamboat's Erik Lynch was fourth, and Berend came in fifth. Steamboat's girls also fared well with Hannah taking second and Mary O'Connell finishing third.

Steamboat skiers won nearly every class in the Nordic combined competition. Leading the way was Olivia Requist in first in the J-6 girls, Noel Keeffe in the J-6 boys, Dominique Katthain in the J-5 girls, Finn O'Connell in the J-5 boys, Madison Keeffe in the J-4 girls, Berend in the J-4 boys, Hannah in the J-3 girls, Lynch in the J-3 boys and Stoddard in the J-2 boys. Lauren Requist, Zac Cohen, Elijah Vargas, Kathleen O'Connell, Margaret Lichtenfels, Koby Vargas, Peter Rosenthal, Meg O'Connell, Nicholas Madden, Mary O'Connell, Morgan Mertz, Gantick and Field also enjoyed top-three finishes in the Nordic combined events.

Crawford said these were the final jumping events of the season for most of the younger jumpers. A few of the older jumpers may compete or forejump in this weekend's National Championships, also at Howelsen Hill.

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