Twelve skiers from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club will represent the Rocky Mountain Division at this year's Nordic combined and special jumping Junior National Championships in Alaska. The team will include, back row from left, coach Todd Wilson, coach Sam Chovan, skier Grant Andrews, Noel Keeffe, Peter Rosenthal, Koby Vargas, Esther DelliQuadri and Melissa Requist; and, front row from left, Davis Petersen, Finn O'Connell, Wyatt Gebhardt and Decker Dean. Not pictured are Logan Sankey and Elijah Vargas.

Photo by John F. Russell

Twelve skiers from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club will represent the Rocky Mountain Division at this year's Nordic combined and special jumping Junior National Championships in Alaska. The team will include, back row from left, coach Todd Wilson, coach Sam Chovan, skier Grant Andrews, Noel Keeffe, Peter Rosenthal, Koby Vargas, Esther DelliQuadri and Melissa Requist; and, front row from left, Davis Petersen, Finn O'Connell, Wyatt Gebhardt and Decker Dean. Not pictured are Logan Sankey and Elijah Vargas.

Local Nordic combined athletes ready to head north to compete in Alaska

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— Twelve athletes from the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club have been named to the 2014 Nordic combined and special jumping Junior National team that will compete in February in Anchorage, Alaska.

Grant Andrews, Decker Dean, Wyatt Gebhardt, Noel Keeffe, Finn O’Connell, Davis Petersen, Peter Rosenthal, Elijah Vargas and Koby Vargas will represent the Rocky Mountain Division as part of the U17 boys team. Three Steamboat Springs skiers — Esther DelliQuadri, Melissa Requist and Logan Sankey — also have been named to the U17 girls team.

“It’s one of the bigger teams that we’ve sent in a few years,” said Todd Wilson, the Winter Sports Club's Nordic director. “It’s a good number, especially when you consider that we lost three key girls this season.”

Wilson said that despite the loss of some of the club’s better girls to other interests this winter, the Winter Sports Club program remains strong. He is happy to see athletes like DelliQuadri, Sankey and Requist step in to fill big shoes for the team.

Wilson said all of the athletes selected for this year’s team are excited to travel to Anchorage, where they will compete in special jumping and an individual Nordic combined competition Feb. 23. There are special jumping and Nordic combined team events Feb. 24, and the championships come to an end with an elimination jumping competition and closing ceremonies Feb. 25.

The Steamboat Springs athletes qualified for the national championships based on their finishes at three national qualifying events held this winter. The last event was in Steamboat Springs last weekend, and the team was named after that competition.

The athletes earned their spots based on a formula in which they had to finish within a certain percentage of the average of the top jumpers at each event to make the team.

The athletes used the best showing in two out of the three events to earn a spot on the Rocky Mountain team. The team now will match up against teams from other divisions, including the East, Alaska, Central and Intermountain division, which includes Park City, Utah.

Wilson and coaches Sam Chovan and Alex Miller also will make the trip and coach athletes at the competition.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966

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