Routt County sports provides wide spectrum of news in 2012

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— Sports and Routt County go together seamlessly.

From biking on Emerald Mountain to skiing on Mount Werner and from Nordic skiing at the Steamboat Ski Touring Center to golfing at Rollingstone Ranch Golf Club, athletes are everywhere. This is the place where it’s common to see a weekend warrior and an Olympian compete in the same event.

In 2012, Routt County athletes suffered a low snow year and enjoyed an epic powder day and a summer that seemed as though it never wanted to leave. History was made by professional athletes and high school teams. And the success of current and prospective Olympians piqued our interest.

A look back at the sports stories that shaped 2012, in chronological order:

Jan. 29: Steamboat’s Matt Ladley finishes 5th at X Games

Ladley long has been a prodigy on his snowboard. But until last January the Steamboat snowboarder never had had tremendous success at the X Games. That changed when he threw down a solid run. With Ladley only getting better, expect X Games podium finishes in the future.

Feb. 18: Hayden's Chad Terry makes state championship in wrestling

Terry had so many close calls in his high school career that the finish almost seemed fitting. Terry was second, losing 17-14, after nearly making a late comeback. The second-place finish was Terry’s fourth medal at the state championship.

Feb. 20: Steamboat Ski Area receives 27 inches in 24 hours

In an otherwise forgettable winter, one February day made things bearable again. The snow started and didn’t stop. It was far and away the best day of the year.

March 10: Bryan Fletcher wins 1st World Cup in Oslo, Norway

Fletcher’s rise to prominence may be the best story of the year. The Steamboat son made his case as one of the best in the world with his first World Cup victory.

March 27: Steamboat’s Blake Worsley qualifies for London Olympics

Steamboat is known for Winter Olympians. Worsley broke that mold by qualifying for the Canadian Olympic team. He went on to swim an individual and relay event in London.

March 27: Steamboat’s Arielle Gold wins Junior World Championships

Gold is next in line in Steamboat’s budding snowboard program. She won the World Championship half-pipe event in Spain, signaling her rise in the sport.

May 5: Steamboat Springs High School lacrosse team wins 1st playoff game in school history

After years of trying, it finally happened. Steamboat had been close to winning a playoff game but never could quite do it. It should become a regular occurrence now that there are two lacrosse classifications.

June 15: Steamboat Ski Area opens new downhill biking trails

The bike trails and developments made the mountain a hot spot this summer. The trails drew rave reviews and signify that Steamboat soon could become a downhill mountain bike mecca.

Aug. 4: Steamboat’s Todd Lodwick wins historic 20th Nordic combined National Championship

Lodwick showed his staying power by winning his 20th National Championship, coming from behind and beating athletes years younger. Now, the Nordic combined legend will try to make his sixth Olympic team in 2014.

Aug. 7: Steamboat Springs graduate Alex Wood earns scholarship at University of Colorado

After years of not seeing the playing field, Wood’s dream came true. Former Buffs coach Jon Embree announced to the team after a practice that Wood, then a walk-on, would be placed on scholarship.

Aug. 12: Lance Armstrong competes in inaugural Stinger Marathon

Armstrong blew away the field in the Stinger marathon. His presence made the bustling event even bigger.

Sept. 7: Steamboat Springs High School football team snaps 22-game losing streak

Battling a stretch of ineptitude, Steamboat finally found a way to win. The team beat Summit, 22-19, for its first win since the state semifinals in 2009.

Sept. 15: Inaugural Run Rabbit Run 100 miler draws deep field

The event boasted what was said to be the largest pot in ultramarathons. It certainly drew a crowd, including the famed Tarahumara Indians. In the end, running legend Karl Meltzer won his 33rd ultramarathon title.

Sept. 21: Hayden and Soroco renew rivalry on the gridiron

After several years off, the two Routt County rivals finally played in 8-man football — both with high hopes for the season and both teams undefeated. Hayden ran away with a 49-7 win.

Oct. 9: Tennis Center at Steamboat Springs brings back tennis pros

After tennis pros John Aragon and Don Toy’s contracts weren’t renewed, and fellow tennis pro Carol Baily stepped down to back the other two, the Tennis Center found some resolution by bringing all three back as independent contractors.

Oct. 17: Lance Armstrong’s image taken off Honey Stinger packaging

It wasn’t Armstrong’s year. After the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released its report, Honey Stinger announced it would take Armstrong’s picture off its packaging.

Oct. 27: Hayden football team makes the playoffs in its 1st year of 8-man football

In its first year of 8-man football, Hayden found itself in a familiar situation. The team entered the playoffs as a No. 14 seed and fell to Akron in the first round.

Nov. 10: Battle Mountain wins state soccer championship

Battle Mountain shocked Class 4A by becoming just the third Western Slope team to win a state soccer championship. It did so with a 1-0 win on penalty kicks against top-seeded Palmer Ridge.

Dec. 9: Steamboat Springs puts 5 on U.S. snowboard team

As much as Steamboat is known for its rich Nordic combined history, the next wave of great athletes appear to be on snowboarders. Five Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes made the team, including three on the U.S. pro half-pipe team.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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