Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athlete Cliff Field makes a 72-meter jump Thursday while competing in the ski jumping portion of the 2010 Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Junior Olympics at Howelsen Hill.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athlete Cliff Field makes a 72-meter jump Thursday while competing in the ski jumping portion of the 2010 Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Junior Olympics at Howelsen Hill.

Steamboat skiers pick up podium spots on Day 1 of Junior Olympics

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If you go

What: 2010 Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Junior Olympics

When: First round of jumping begins at 11 a.m. today at Howelsen Hill; the spectator-friendly cross-country ski race begins at 6 p.m. at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena

Where: Howelsen Hill Ski Area in downtown Steamboat

photo

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athlete Mary O’Connell begins her 5-kilometer race Thursday at Howelsen Hill during the 2010 Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Junior Olympics. She finished second.

Special Jumping and Nordic Combined Junior Olympics

Day 1

Thursday, March 4 at Howelsen Hill

For complete results, visit here

Special jumping

Guest class (Canada)

Women’s J2

  1. Taylor Henrich, 225.1 points

  2. Charlotte Mitchell, 204.5 points

  3. Jasmine Sepandj, 191.6 points

Men’s J2

  1. Nathaniel Mah, 238.3 points

  2. Dusty Korek, 236.4 points

  3. Alexander Hannigan, 167.7 points

Junior Olympics (U.S.)

Women’s J2

  1. Nina Lussi from East Division, 227.1 points

  2. Mary O’Connell from Rocky Mountain Division, 185.5 points

  3. Elyse Hoffmann from Central Division, 183.3 points

Men’s J2

  1. Ben Loomis from Central Division, 236.8 points

  2. Kevin Bickner from Central Division, 234.9 points

  3. A.J. Brown from Central Division, 232.9 points

Women’s J1

  1. Nita Englund from Central Division, 213.7 points

  2. Danielle Lussi from East Division, 188.4 points

Men’s J1

  1. Cliff Field from Rocky Mountain Division, 246.4 points

  2. Michael Ward from Rocky Mountain Division, 228.9 points

  3. Tyler Hutchins from Central Division, 226.4 points

Nordic Combined

Guest Class (Canada)

Women’s J2

  1. Taylor Henrich

  2. Charlotte Mitchell

  3. Jasmine Sepandj

Men’s J2

  1. Nathaniel Mah

  2. Dusty Korek

  3. Alexander Hannigan

Junior Olympics (U.S.)

Women’s J2

  1. Nina Lussi from East Division

  2. Mary O’Connell from Rocky Mountain Division

  3. Madison Keeffe from Rocky Mountain Division

Men’s J2

  1. Erik Lynch from Rocky Mountain Division

  2. Aleck Gantick from Rocky Mountain Division

  3. Ben Berend from Rocky Mountain Division

Women’s J1

  1. Danielle Lussi from East Division

Men’s J1

  1. Cliff Field from Rocky Mountain Division

  2. Michael Ward from Rocky Mountain Division

  3. Adam Loomis from Rocky Mountain Division

— If the U.S. national team proved Steamboat Springs is a breeding ground for Nordic combined success, the opening day of the 2010 Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Junior Olympics simply confirmed it.

The Rocky Mountain Division — mostly comprised of Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club members — picked up 11 podium finishes Thursday, including eight in the Nordic combined portion. The Junior Olympics are taking place at Howelsen Hill in downtown Steamboat.

The Rocky Mountain Div­ision’s success Thursday included sweeps in the J2 and J1 men’s Nordic combined divisions.

Erik Lynch won the men’s J2 Nordic combined, Aleck Gantick was second and Ben Berend was third. Cliff Field won the J1 men’s Nordic combined, Michael Ward was second and Adam Loomis was third.

Mary O’Connell and Mad­ison Keeffe were second and third in the women’s J2 division. O’Connell finished second in the Special Jumping earlier Thursday morning. Field was first and Ward was second in the men’s Special Jumping.

“This is a good race,” Field said, “and a great day.”

Under ideal conditions and blue skies, 77 competitors from across the country and Canada took to the jumps at Howelsen Hill and a challenging 5-kilometer course at Brent Romick Rodeo Arena. The cross-country course featured several large hills and didn’t allow much rest time for skiers.

The Steamboat contingent proved the home course did in fact provide home field advantage.

Save for Field, all the Steam­boat skiers started behind the lead in the Gundersen format.

O’Connell was 2 minutes, 46 seconds back, Keefe was 3:24.0 back, Gantick was 28 seconds back, Lynch was 51 seconds back, Berend was 1:19.0 back, Ward was 1:10.0 back and Loomis was 2:18.0 back.

But in each instance the Steamboat skiers were able to make up the time, not something easy to do on a 5-kilometer course.

“I didn’t have my best day jumping,” Keeffe said. “It was definitely a challenge. But it all worked out.”

The men’s J2 race provided a glimpse of the team effort. Gantick and Lynch started behind the pack but were in the lead group by the beginning of the second lap. The two worked together before Lynch made a push on the final hill.

“We talked together and said we should ski together,” Gantick said. “Ski together and dominate.”

Lynch pushed hard out of the start and caught up with Gantick. The two skied the second lap together, drafting and exchanging the lead.

But on the final hill, Lynch made a push and was able to take a bigger lead.

“The hill was the place to make my move,” Lynch said. “That last hill was a great opportunity, so I took it. I just hammered it and got some separation.”

The Junior Olympics continue today with Nordic combined and Special Jumping team events. The first round of jumping begins at 11 a.m. The Nordic combined team sprint event begins at 6 p.m. at the rodeo grounds.

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