Nordic team readies for championships

Steamboat Springs High School qualifies nine skiers for state

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— A few members of the Steamboat Springs High School Nordic ski team saved their best for last.

In the final qualifying Nordic race of the scholastic ski season Tuesday at Eldora Mountain Resort, three more Steamboat skiers qualified for the 2008 State Ski Championships, which Steamboat will host Feb. 21 and 22.

Sarah Dixson, Eva Lambek and Kris Allen join a group of nine other qualified Nordic skiers that includes Melissa Krause, Mary Rose, Lexie Ruppel, Liza Stout, Emma Lichtenfels, Kyle Steitz, Jasper Gantick, Wiley Thayer and Peter Daley.

Steamboat coach Chrissy Lynch was pleased with how the team closed out its final of six races at the 5K interval-start skate race near Nederland.

Lynch highlighted her top three scoring girls skiers - Lambek in 20th, Dixson in 21st and Alana White in 34th. Each posted their fastest race time of the year.

On the boys side, Gantick led the Sailors top scoring finishers with an 11th-place finish, Thayer took 19th and Allen took 24th.

"The boys had some of their best races today as well," said Lynch, pointing out that many skiers who already had state qualification in the bag opted to stay home.

"I'm glad we made the long trip down."

Lynch also noted the performances from Dixson, Allen and Thayer, all of whom compete as skimeisters in both Alpine and Nordic competitions and all of whom have "an excellent chance of finishing the season in the top three."

Tuesday's finishes followed a less-than-stellar outing at the Sailors' previous race Saturday at the Middle Park-hosted event at Devil's Thumb Ranch Nordic Center in Tabernash.

"It was just one of those days," Lynch said of the challenging 5K classic course featuring a tiring early climb.

"But everyone made a tremendous effort and never gave up."

Ruppel led Steamboat in 16th, followed by Dixson (32nd) and Lambek (35th). On the boys side, it was Gantick (46th), Allen (47th) and Jack Burger (49th) who scored for Steamboat.

The 12 qualifying Sailors now can concentrate on improving technique and speed as they await the statewide competition.

"We're very fortunate for state to be at our home course - we'll be skiing it a lot, section by section," Lynch said of the 5K course at Howelsen Hill.

"It's working hard to keep our speed up and getting a feel for the race course in the next couple weeks."

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