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Steamboat skiers take to slopes

NCAA Championships, which starts Wednesday, to feature locals

Former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Mary Rachel Hostetter

Former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club skier Mary Rachel Hostetter, who now races for the University of New Mexico, is part of a group of skiers with Steamboat Springs ties who will compete in this week's NCAA Championships in Montana.
John F. Russell

— As is often the case, the 2012 National Collegiate Men's and Women's Skiing Championships will have a distinct Steamboat flavor.

The championships, which begin Wednesday and run through Saturday in Bozeman, Mont., feature 74 men and 74 women competing for championships in four disciplines.

Steamboat Springs Alpine skiers include University of New Mexico's Mary Rachel Hostetter, University of Denver's Max Marno, Middlebury College's Hig Roberts and Colby College's Cassady Roberts.

University of Colorado skiers Shane McLean and Jenny Allen are both alternates in the women's Alpine championships.

Buffs skier Mary Rose will compete in the Nordic portion of the championships.

"I don't have any expectations," said Cassady Roberts, who is making her first trip to the championships. "I'm going into it wanting to ski like I've been skiing. This is definitely the biggest competition I've been in. I'm not too nervous. I just want to have fun with it."

Participants are selected from two designated regions for Alpine skiing and three designated regions for Nordic skiing. With the exception of the Robertses, all of the Steamboat athletes were selected from the Western Region.

Hig Roberts is Steamboat's highest-rated skier from the East, entering the championships ranked eighth in giant slalom and sixth in slalom. Marno is the highest-rated Steamboat skier from the West, entering the championships as the 13th seed.

The Nordic events are at the Bohart Ranch Cross Country Ski Center. The men's 10-kilometer and women's 5-kilometer freestyle cross-country races are today. The women's 15-kilometer and men's 20-kilometer classical races are Friday.

The Alpine events will be at Bridger Bowl. The men's and women's giant slaloms will be held Thursday, with the men's and women's slaloms held Saturday.

"I don't really have any goal in mind in terms of a place," Cassady Roberts said. "I just want to finish the season on a high note."