Steamboat biathletes find success

Smith, McNeill ski away from Snow Mountain Ranch with championships

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— The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club biathlon squad traveled last week to the Colorado state championships at Snow Mountain Ranch. The team didn't take many athletes, but it didn't need many to haul home some awards.

Steamboat's Dori McNeill, 12, won her race to claim a state championship, while fellow 12-year-old Evan Weinman came just a few seconds short in defending his championship from a year ago.

Marty Smith, meanwhile, won the adult race, his final biathlon run-through before next week's national championships.

"He won his age group and also was the fastest skier for the day, winning the overall for both races," team coach Gary Osteen said.

"He definitely has a lot of potential with it. He's keeping up with some of the best on the skis. He just needs to bring his shooting up to a higher level, and he'll be able to compete with any of the guys in the country except the national team."

The event lasted two days, Smith first racing a 10-kilometer, two-shooting station course, then 12.5 kilometers with four shooting stations the next day.

McNeill and Weinman raced three kilometers each day.

"Dori shot clean both days," Osteen said. "She came out, had a good race and came away with a state championship."

Weinman lost in a close match. He carried a 30 second lead into the second day's action, but finished 40 seconds behind the eventual champion.

The success of the two young athletes is a good sign for the program, the coach said.

"It's really neat to see. I look forward to next year. We have a large group on our team that are 12," Osteen said. "Next year, when they turn 13, they'll be able to race and shoot the .22" calibers.

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