O’Connell and Hannah qualify for championships
Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athlete Mary O’Connell paced the team Friday at the 2012 U.S. Cross Country Championships in Rumford, Maine, with a 14th-place finish in the Junior 5-kilometer classic race.
Haley Piske was 28th, Lucy Newman was 31st, Emily Hannah was 49th, and Madison Keeffe was 54th.
The strong finishes throughout the week allowed O’Connell and Hannah to be named to the cross-country World Junior Championships. It’s the first time the Winter Sports Club has had multiple athletes qualify.
On the men’s side, Charlie Von Thaden was 33rd in the 10-kilometer classic race. Max Scrimgeour was 35th. With his finish, Scrimgeour was named to the Scandinavian Cup, a collection of the top J1 skiers.
The U.S. Cross Country Championships wrap up Sunday with men’s and women’s sprint events.
2012 Sailors Nordic skiing schedule
Steamboat Springs Steamboat Springs High School senior Jake Barker was up late Friday night wondering about the same thing most others were.
The skies were clear, the moon was nearly full and the ground essentially was void of snow.
But as Barker woke up Saturday, he was greeted by snow and snowplows for the first time in a while.
For most, it was a welcome sight. But for Barker and his Nordic teammates, it meant a lot of last-minute scrambling in preparation for Saturday’s state-qualifying Nordic race at Howelsen Hill.
“I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’” Barker said. “It makes the condition so much slower. I woke up and there was snow. But it was so much fun out here.”
Barker and his teammates certainly had a stellar day. With a large field on the boys and girls side, the top 40 percent of racers qualified for the state meet.
Barker led the boys charge, finishing the two 2.5-kilometer laps in 10th with a time of 16 minutes, 36.26 seconds.
Teammate Peter White was 19th in 18:17.49, and Alec Schaffer was 33rd in 19:30.93. All three Steamboat boys should be qualified for the state meet.
All times, however, were unofficial.
“Two days ago, it was really fast,” White said. “With this new snow, it got really slow. It was challenging with the snow conditions. It’s soft, so you slide a lot.”
The girls team was paced by Martha Anderson’s 11th-place finish. The senior came in at 20:48.79 despite struggling with wax selection.
“I heard the snowplows this morning,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, we’ll have to change our wax.’ We need the snow, but it doesn’t make Nordic racing easy. It definitely slowed down the times.”
Sarah White was 18th in 21:57.99, Lesley Myller was 22nd in 22:35.99, Hannah Barkey was 24th in 22:43.34, Maddi Ruppel was 37th in 24:05.70, and Bailey Pugh was 47th in 25:32.44.
“The air was warm and with the cold the snow was slow and sticky,” Anderson said. “It’s a weird combination. Plus this is the hardest course we race, so it hurt to go fast.”
The Nordic team next competes Jan. 21 in Middle Park.
Nordic Combined results
Special Jumping results
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com