Former Steamboat Springs ski racers vie for national titles at NCAA championships in Vermont

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— Max Marno led a group of former Steamboat Spring ski racers by breaking into the top 10 on Wednesday in the giant slalom on the opening day of the NCAA Skiing Championships at Snow Bowl in Middlebury, Vt.

“It was a good finish,” Marno said after the race. “It could have been better, but I’m happy with it.”

Marno, a sophomore at the University of Denver and a graduate of The Lowell Whiteman School, laid down a blistering effort in the first run of the day placing second behind Utah skier Jeremy Elliot with a time of 1 minute, 2.28 seconds. But Marno admits that he might have been a bit too conservative in the second run and that it might have cost him. He placed eighth.

“I learned that you can’t let up because nobody else is going to,” Marno said.

The finish was the best among four former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skiers who are participating in the NCAA Skiing Championships.

Steamboat’s Hig Roberts, who skis for Middlebury, was the only other local racer in the men’s race. The Lowell Whiteman School graduate finished 19th with a time of 2:04.42.

Jonathon Nordbotten, of University of New Mexico, won the men's giant slalom race in a time of 2:03.12. Jeremy Elliot, of University of Utah, and Coley Oliver, of University of New Hampshire, tied for second with times of 2:03.18. Elliot posted a time of 1:02.50 to lead the first run but could not hold off a strong second-run push by a number of racers.

On the girls side, Steamboat Springs High School graduate Mary Rachel Hostetter was the top local finisher in the women’s giant slalom race. Hostetter now is a senior at the University of New Mexico. She placed 22nd in the race with a two-run combined time of 2:09.22.

Cassady Roberts, a 2009 Lowell Whiteman School graduate, was representing Colby College in the race and placed 32nd with a time of 2:10.08.

University of Denver freshman Kristine Haugen led both runs and finished with a combined time of 2:04.60 to win the race. University of Colorado’s Brooke Wales was in second at 2:05.93, and University of Vermont’s Kristina Riis-Johannessen was in third at 2:06.02.

The NCAA Skiing Championships continue Thursday with the women’s 5-kilometer classic race and the men’s 10-kilometer classic race. Mary O’Connell, a freshman at Dartmouth and a Steamboat Springs High School graduate, is expected to race in Thursday's classic and Saturday’s freestyle race.

The Alpine ski racers will be back on the hill Friday for slalom events.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209 or email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com

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