Athletes on the 2009 Nordic Combined Junior Olympic team are, from left, Mary O'Connell, Madison Keefe, Emily Hannah, Aleck Gantick, Jake Barker, Erik Lynch, Ben Berend, Fritz Carpenter, Nicholas Madden and Dylan Reed
(Not pictured is Zeb Tipton.) Coaches are, from left, Curt Carpenter, Gary Crawford and Kerry Lynch

Courtesy photo

Athletes on the 2009 Nordic Combined Junior Olympic team are, from left, Mary O'Connell, Madison Keefe, Emily Hannah, Aleck Gantick, Jake Barker, Erik Lynch, Ben Berend, Fritz Carpenter, Nicholas Madden and Dylan Reed (Not pictured is Zeb Tipton.) Coaches are, from left, Curt Carpenter, Gary Crawford and Kerry Lynch

Junior Olympic Nordic team named

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— The 2009 Junior Olympic Nordic team was announced Saturday at Howelsen Hill.

Making the team and set to compete in Anchorage, Alaska, the first week in March are: Erik Lynch, Aleck Gantick, Jake Barker, Ben Berend, Zeb Tipton, Dylan Reed, Nicholas Madden, Fritz Carpenter, Mary O'Connell, Madison Keeffe and Emily Hannah. All the members except for Carpenter are from Steamboat.

Steamboat's Gary Crawford and Kerry Lynch, as well as Aspen's Curt Carpenter, will coach the team.

"We really do have high expectations," said Crawford, noting this is probably the deepest and most talented team they've had in 10 years. "Of course anything can happen. You never know with weather. Barring any situation like that we really do expect, you'd like to say win gold medals, but certainly the goal is to do that and be on the podium as many times as possible."

Lynch, Gantick, Barker, Berend and O'Connell have been to the Junior Olympics before.

Crawford said he expects Lynch and Gantick to have strong showings, considering Lynch has dominated all of the Nordic combined qualifiers and Gantick has finished at the top in all the special jumping events.

That should also help in the two- and four-person team events, Crawford said.

"I think the ones that have been there before know what to expect," Crawford said. "They'll be able to keep everybody calm and stay focused."

The team leaves for Anchorage March 1. The events start March 5 with the individual Nordic combined and individual special jumping events. On March 6, the four-person and two-person team special jumping and team Nordic combined events take place. On March 7 there will be an elimination jumping event.

"This is one of the biggest teams, and it very well could be the strongest team as far as our depth," Crawford said. "We don't expect to go up and win every event; that's just too hard to do. But we do have great expectations. We have expectations for everybody to do real well. We'll see what happens. We need good luck and good weather, but we hope to bring home a lot of hardware."

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