Steamboat racers wrap up bids at US Alpine nationals

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Four ski racers from Steam­boat Springs traveled to the 2010 U.S. Alpine National Championships in Whiteface Mountain, N.Y., last week to put their skills up against the best the country has to offer.

“A lot of this was about gaining experience,” coach Peter Anderson said. “But it’s also a great opportunity to be on the same course and the same mountain with older, more experienced World Cup racers. It’s a chance to compare yourself with the best our country has to offer.”

Although the rainy and warm weather in Lake Placid, N.Y., made for a challenging course, Anderson said Steamboat ski racers Maria Hillenbrand, Shane McLean, Anna Marno and Max Marno made the most of their opportunities to race.

Anna Marno, who is a member of the U.S. Ski Team’s development squad, placed 18th in the super G on March 20 to highlight the local results. She also picked up a 36th in the slalom.

McLean had several strong showings, including moving up from her 54th starting position in the slalom to finish 29th. She also had a 22nd-place finish in the super G. McLean and Marno failed to finish their final runs of the championships in Tuesday’s giant slalom.

Hillenbrand, who was making her first appearance at the U.S. Nationals, raced to a 35th-place finish in the slalom, which she started in 71st. She survived a slight bobble in the giant slalom and was 45th overall. She failed to finish the super G race earlier in the week.

On the men’s side, Max Marno represented the Winter Sports Club with a 23rd-place finish in the super G. However, he failed to post a result in giant slalom and the men’s slalom race.

Anderson said the conditions resulted in a lot of racers failing to finish their runs. Still, he was happy with the efforts of the Steamboat athletes and thinks they all learned from their experience.

“It was a lot of fun for our racers. These are the best racers in the United States, and it was a chance for our skiers to get a feel for that level of competition. It was a learning experience,” Anderson said.

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