Steamboat High School Nordic finishes*
1. Erik Lynch 16:06.66
9. Wilber Ranieri 17:41.15
11. Zeb Tipton 17:55.92
15. Jack Burger 18:14.27
30. Dane Dixson 20:05.84
4. Linnea Dixson 27:51.75
6. Cassady Daley 28:00.89
11. Martha Anderson 28:56.59
15. Eva Lambek 29:45.25
17. Mallory Hoots 30:17.31
Boys team results Score
Eagle Valley 122
Middle Park 114
Vail Christian 101
Lake County 47
Vail Mountain 31
Girls team results Score
Middle Park 158
Eagle Valley 125
Lake County 41
Battle Mountain 39
*All results are unofficial
Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs High School sophomore Erik Lynch missed last season’s high school Nordic state championships with an illness.
But judging by Thursday’s performance at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center, Lynch — who admitted that it was tough missing last year — could have pushed himself into the role of favorite for the state competition Feb. 18 and 19 at the Frisco Nordic Center.
Lynch came in first overall Thursday, outdoing more than 50 other skiers and finishing the 5-kilometer race in 16 minutes, 6.66 seconds. Summit’s Tucker McCrerey finished second in 16:22.20, and Vail Christian’s Ian Hamina finished third in 16:54.61.
Summit came in first for the boys, and Steamboat won the girls meet.
The Steamboat boys finished second as a team.
All results were unofficial.
“The first climb, it is just a bunch of false summits,” Lynch said. “You think you’re at the top, but you’re not. But that’s the key to push yourself right out of the start. Then you get that long downhill to recover. If you don’t use the start to go out hard, you’ll get dropped.”
The course was one of the toughest high school skiers had seen all year. From the start and the climb, it was evident that the course would separate the best skiers quickly.
Lynch trailed McCrerey by two minutes for most of the race. But in the last section, Lynch used his familiarity with the course to easily close the gap.
“That’s how I developed the strategy to start hard at the beginning,” he said. “You could rest on the downhill, and that helped a lot.”
Steamboat’s Wilber Ranieri finished ninth, Zeb Tipton finished 11th, Jack Burger finished 15th, and Dane Dixson finished 30th.
“This should help us,” Burger said. “This will be a lot harder than state. It should help us out for our race at state.”
On the girls side, Steamboat junior Linnea Dixson finished fourth in 27:51.75. Middle Park’s Samantha Berggren finished first in 26:15.05, Summit’s Julia Hayes finished second in 26:42.99, and Vail Mountain School’s Sally Ryerson finished third in 26:55.80.
“I’m pretty happy with how I did,” said Linnea Dixson, who hopes to win this year’s Skimeister. “I finished with nothing, so I left everything out there.”
Other Steamboat finishers included Cassady Daley in sixth, Martha Anderson in 11th, Eva Lambek in 15th and Mallory Hoots in 17th.
In addition to the uphill, early snow Thursday made wax selection all the more vital. But the Steamboat team had been dissecting the course for the past month, and the results bore that Thursday.
“I feel positive about it,” Steamboat coach Emily Lovett said. “I was down at the last kilometer, and the kids were able to push in the last kilometer, which is important. I feel like we did very well. We’re excited for state. We need to keep skiing strong and stay healthy.”
— To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229 or e-mail email@example.com