U.S. Ski Team member Will Gregorak races to a first-place finish Tuesday during the Holiday Classic at Howelsen Hill.

Deb Armstrong/Courtesy

U.S. Ski Team member Will Gregorak races to a first-place finish Tuesday during the Holiday Classic at Howelsen Hill.

Hometown skier nearly grabs Holiday Classic title

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Jenny Allen was back at home Tuesday, and she made the most of it.

“It’s fun,” Allen said about returning to Steamboat Springs to take part in the annual Holiday Classic. “Ski racing is serious most of the time, but it’s great to be back with friends and family. It was smiles all around, and that’s how I like it.”

Allen, who is a sophomore with the University of Colorado ski team, finished her first run in seventh place. But the hometown favorite set a pace in her second run that was hard to match. She moved into first place with only six racers at the top of the hill who had a chance to beat her.

“It’s nerve-racking,” Allen said about sitting at the bottom of Howelsen Hill waiting for the top racers to come down. “The whole team is there watching and hoping that your time will stand up.”

Allen’s time came close to standing up in the women’s slalom field as five of the six racers failed to overtake it. But University of Denver ski racer Jennie Van Wagner ruined Allen’s homecoming by slipping past the Steamboat native on her final run by a fraction of a second. Van Wagner finished in 1 minute, 17.92 seconds, with Allen in second at 1:17.97. Eva Huckova, with the University of Utah, was third; Denver University’s Lindsay Cone was fourth; and Katie Hartman, who won Monday night’s slalom, placed fifth. Hartman skis for the University of Colorado.

Other top Steamboat finishers included Tina Roberts in sixth, Mary Rachel Hostetter in ninth, Anna Marno in 13th and Shane McLean in 14th.

The event was the last of four starts for the women in this year’s Holiday Classic, which also included giant slalom events at Mount Werner on Saturday and Sunday and a nighttime slalom race Monday at Howelsen Hill. Hartman won that race, with Van Wagner in second and Huckova in third.

U.S. Ski Team member Will Gregorak topped Tuesday’s men’s race with a time of 1:15.28. University of Denver skier Grant Jampolsky was second at 1:15.82, and his teammate Seppi Stiegler was third at 1:15.82.

That was the second slalom race of the week for the men. On Monday night, Ryan Wilson, from the Western division, won the men’s race with a time of 1:19.03. Gregorak was second at 1:19.59, and Jampolsky was third with a time of 1:19.60.

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