Thursday, February 24, 2011
Steamboat Springs Maybe no state championship combines the team element quite like the state high school skiing championships.
For a team to win, both its Alpine and Nordic teams have to do well. Alpine scores from slalom and giant slalom are combined with Nordic skate and classic events to eventually turn out a boys and girls state champion.
And maybe at no time in the past several years has the Steamboat Springs High School ski team had a better chance in both.
The Sailors begin the state championships at 9:30 a.m. today in Aspen with the giant slalom. The individual-start classic race begins at 3:30 p.m. The slalom race starts at 9:30 a.m. Friday, with the mass-start skate race at 3:30 p.m. Friday.
“We’ve been finishing in the top three spots in the girls in both Alpine and Nordic,” Nordic coach Emily Lovett said. “If those great races come together and we can take the top spot, that would be awesome. My expectations, though, for the girls are to get in the top three. On the boys side we’re healthy and skiing strong. The Alpine boys are doing awesome, and we’re where we want to be for state. They have a great chance to be up there.”
The Alpine team has been led by a bevy of top performances.
Suzanne Lyon, Sarah White, Cassady Daley and Linnea Dixson have all picked up podium finishes, with Lyon and White having wins already.
On the boys side Connor Bernard, Jeffrey Gay and Tommy Lyon have all had podium finishes, with Lyon and Bernard each picking up wins.
“The guys ski team has potential for first if we ski to our ability,” Tommy Lyon said. “I think the guys team will do really well. Our goal should be first, but we should not be disappointed if we don’t get first.”
The key on the boys side will be how the Nordic team competes. After battling injuries most of the year, the team, led by senior Jack Burger, is finally full and healthy.
A respectable finish by the Nordic team could propel Steamboat to a top-three finish.
“A top-10 or top-15 finish would be awesome. That’s my goal,” Burger said. “I just want to ski one of the best races I have all season. I have to ski really well.”
For the girls, it will be more of the same. On each the Nordic and Alpine side, Steamboat has chances for individual podiums in all four events and as a team has consistently resided in the top three all season.
“We can be one of the top three teams,” Suzanne Lyon said. “Our team this year has a great team. I hope we can win. I think we can win.”
— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@SteamboatToday.com