Steamboat Nordic team hosts skate race today

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If you go

What: Nordic high school skate race

When: 12:15 p.m. today

Where: Steamboat Ski Touring Center

— Although the focus remains on the state competition Feb. 18 and 19 at the Frisco Nordic Center, the Steamboat Springs High School Nordic team could make quite the statement today.

And what better place to do it than the comfy confines of home?

Steamboat will host 13 schools in an individual start skate race at 12:15 p.m. today at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center. The boys start first with the girls following.

The Sailors, fresh off a first-place finish for the boys and second-place finish for the girls last weekend at Devil’s Thumb in Delta, again should be contenders today.

But coach Emily Lovett said the competition today should be much tougher than last weekend, when many of the skiers were at a Junior Olympic event at Soldier Hollow in Park City, Utah.

“The team titles are close in every single one of our races,” Lovett said. “It always comes down to a couple points.”

Six skiers will lead Steam­boat on the boys side and five on the girls. Expected to ski are Erik Lynch, Jack Burger, Jake Barker, Wilber Ranieri, Dane Dixson and Zeb Tipton. On the girls side, Linnea Dixson, Cassady Daley, Mallory Hoots, Eva Lambek and Martha Anderson are expected to lead the way.

Last week, Lynch finished first, and Linnea Dixson finished second at Devil’s Thumb.

“We’re skiing pretty strong right now,” Lovett said. “The goals I think are to ski our race. We’ve been skiing the loop and race course for a couple weeks, going over certain sections. The goal for the team is to ski smart, ski strong and continue to do what they’ve been doing.”

About half the high school races are mass starts and half are individual starts. Lovett said skiers use different techniques in each. With the individual start and the home course advantage, Lovett said the team should be able to ski its own race.

Although it would be nice to put up top results and come home with a team title, Lovett said her skiers have their eyes on a bigger picture.

“There are a lot of positive things with the team. It’s going really good,” she said. “One thing we need to remember is to keep staying focused and keep healthy. We have to keep working these next two weeks before state.”

— To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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