Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cross-country skier Simon Zink heads for the win in one of the two Rocky Mountain Nordic Junior National Qualifying races he won in Minturn last weekend. He is one of 13 athletes who will be competing at the 2014 USSA Junior National Cross-Country Championships in Stowe, Vt., next week.

Courtesy photo

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cross-country skier Simon Zink heads for the win in one of the two Rocky Mountain Nordic Junior National Qualifying races he won in Minturn last weekend. He is one of 13 athletes who will be competing at the 2014 USSA Junior National Cross-Country Championships in Stowe, Vt., next week.

SSWSC qualifies more cross-country athletes for 2014 Junior Nationals than any other Colorado club

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— A large contingent of Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cross-country athletes will be competing in the USSA Junior National Cross-County Championships in Stowe, Vt., beginning Monday.

According to SSWSC cross-country ski coach Brian Tate, the local club qualified more athletes for the Junior Nationals than any other Colorado club. These athletes include: Evan Weinman, Cara Piske, Lars Hannah, Gretchen Burkholder, Abbey Habermehl, Katie Brodie, Simon Zink, Evan Barbier, Noel Keeffe, Wyatt Gebhardt, Jordi Floyd, Kathleen O’Connell, Anna Burkholder and Tyler Terranova, first alternate.

Leading up to Nationals, SSWSC athletes traveled to Minturn last weekend to compete in the final two Rocky Mountain Nordic Junior National Qualifying races of the season. The Steamboat group had an impressive showing, which helped the SSWSC win its fifth Colorado Cup as the regional club with the most race points after eight qualifying races.

“Winning this award is a testimony of the strength of the SSWSC cross-country team, from its youngest to its oldest athletes,” Tate stated in a news release, noting that all competitors, regardless of age, score points for the club.

At Minturn, Gretchen Burkholder won both the interval start classic race and the mass start skate race in the U18 age group. Racing against college women in the 5K classic race, Burkholder grabbed a fifth-place overall finish.

Abbey Habermehl earned two third-place finishes in U18, and Cara Piske won the U20 female mass start skate race.

Simon Zink also picked up the win in the U16 boys 5k mass start skate race, and teammate Evan Barbier followed with a solid second place finish.

In the U16 girls division, Kathleen O’Connell picked up two second place finishes and Jordi Floyd finished right behind in third in both races.

Avery Harrington won two first-place finishes on the girls side of the U14 division, and Sven Tate placed third in both U14 boys races while Jimmy Colfer secured two fourth places. Dimitri Grewal finished second in the two U12 races, and Grey Barbier dominated in the U10 age group with back-to-back wins.

In addition to winning the Colorado Cup, several SSWSC cross-country skiers were honored as divisional leaders for having the best four race results of the season. Winning these awards were: Avery Harrington, U14 girls; Sven Tate, U14 boys; Katy Floyd, U12 girls; and Grey Barbier, U8 boys.

On Monday, the Junior Nationals competition begins with the interval start classic 5/10K, the first of four races. The classic sprint races are scheduled for Wednesday followed by the mass start skate Friday and the team relays skate Saturday.

To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email lschlichtman@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @LSchlichtman

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