Steamboat nordic skiers primed to make a run at state championship |

Steamboat nordic skiers primed to make a run at state championship

Luke Graham

Steamboat Springs High School's cross-country ski team is loaded with talent. The team includes, from left, coach Emily Lovett, Jack Burger, Sarah White, Dane Dixson, Linnea Dixson, Dominique Powers, Martha Anderson, Hannah Barkey, Pichya Nimit, coach Glen Light and coach Pat Gleason. Peter White is kneelng in the front.
John F. Russell

— One of the best chances for a state title in Routt County this year resides in and around the trails at Howelsen Hill.

It shouldn't come as a surprise, however.

Steamboat Springs is naturally built for a powerful Nor­­dic ski team. So as the Steamboat Springs High School Nordic team prepares for the 2010-11 campaign, it's hard not to put expectations high.

The boys were 11th in the classic event and won the skate event at the state championships last season. The girls were sixth and third, respectively.

Although those numbers may not mean a whole lot at this point, with the entire team back this season, the year-end goal of a state championship is on each member's mind.

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"As a high school team, we're going to continue to be in the top three," coach Emily Lovett said. "That's what I'm looking for with the boys and the girls. These guys are starting to realize they have the potential to get there."

Although Lovett wouldn't say Steamboat is the prohibitive favorite this year — Summit, Aspen, Battle Mountain and Middle Park should be in the mix — she said she likes her team.

Jack Burger, Dane Dixson, Wilber Ranieri and Peter White will lead the boys. The girls team, with nine skiers, will be paced by Martha Anderson, Linnea Dixson and Mallory Hoots, among others.

"I think (winning state) is a realistic possibility, but we'll have to work for it," Linnea Dixson said. "It's not going to come easy. First, we have to get a lot of state qualifiers."

Dixson should be considered one of the top skiers in the state. The senior fell just 0.8 points away from winning the Ski­­meister last season and again should be in contention for the podium.

Steamboat also got a big tip of the cap from Mother Nature this year. Whereas last year made it tough for the team to get on snow early, this year's early snowfall allowed most of the team to get on Bruce's Trail by early November.

"The snow early this year allowed us to get on our skis earlier," said Anderson, who will also compete in the Skimeister. "You can run all you want, but as soon as you're on skis, you realize you're never that fit."

The team should get tested early with a classic race Saturday at Vail.

Steamboat also will host a skate event Jan. 8 at Howelsen Hill.

Lovett said the goal is to win another league championship and put the team into position to compete for a state title Feb. 24 and 25 in Aspen.

"The great thing about our team is we show up for every race," Lovett said. "I think that's why we we're able to achieve what we were able to do last year. I feel very confident about our team and the way we're skiing. I feel good about that. I know this team is going to continue to achieve good results."

Sailors Nordic schedule

2010-11 Steamboat Springs High School Nordic team schedule

Saturday at Vail

Jan. 8 host at Howelsen Hill

Jan. 15 at Snow Mountain Ranch

Jan. 22 at Summit

Feb. 5 at Leadville

Feb. 17 at Devils Thumb Ranch

Feb. 24 and 25 State Championships at Aspen

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