Steamboat High School Nordic teams post top results
February 6, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Members of the Steamboat Springs High School Nordic ski teams made the most of a two-for-one deal Saturday in Aspen as they continued to post top results and push toward the state high school skiing championships, which will be held later this month.
"The race in Aspen was a pursuit," said Jesse Wilkins, Nordic coach for the Steamboat Springs High School. "It started with a mass start classic in the morning and was followed by the individual start skate race in the afternoon."
The skiers’ finishes in the classic race determined their start positions in the afternoon race. However, the Colorado High School Actives Association viewed the event as two separate races, giving the high school skiers an additional chance to qualify for state.
The Steamboat skiers made the most of the opportunity.
On the girls side, Steamboat opened the day with a fourth-place finish in the mass start classic race behind strong finishes from Annika Malacinski in eighth (17:44.52) , Winter Boese in ninth (17:53.23) and Zoe Bennett-Manke in 22nd (20:16.61). Steamboat's Maggi Congdon raced to 29th, and Claire Bohmer finished 42nd with a state-qualifying time.
Vail Mountain School won the race with 168 points, Summit was second at 160 points and Aspen was third with 158 points. Steamboat was just off that pace at 146 points.
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In the afternoon, skiers returned to the race course for a 3-kilometer skate race, and the Sailors continued to shine by racing to a third-place finish with 155 points. The finish was just one point behind Aspen in second at 156 points. Vail Mountain School raced to the win with 169 points.
"It was pretty good considering Aspen gets to ski on this course every day, especially on this type of 'skiers course,' which has lots of turns on fast downhills," Wilkins said of the girls’ third-place finish.
This time Boese led a strong Steamboat showing with a fifth-place finish (11:37.35). Malacinski finished in 10th place (12:07.24) and Bennett-Manke was 13th (12:36.77). Steamboat's Congdon also finished in front of the state-qualifying cut in 32nd place.
“I was kind of surprised,” Boese said. “I was tired, and it didn’t feel that good. This is my first year on the team, but from what Jesse says about previous years, we are doing really good. I really like it and everybody’s spirit.”
But the girls were not the only skiers posting top finishes in the second-to-last event of the season. The Steamboat boys had a third-place finish in the classic event and then posted a fifth-place finish in the skate race that afternoon.
Wyatt Mortenson led the way for the Sailors with a sixth-place finish (14:50). He was one of seven Steamboat skiers to finish in front of the state-qualifying time. Teammates Chase Weynand placed 17th (15:59) and Tanner Richard was 20th (16:09) to round out the Sailors scoring.
Other top Steamboat finishers included Andrew Henderson (26th), Mitch Meissner (30th), Tracy Jameson (43rd) and Gabe Rabenal (45th).
“Wyatt led the way in each race … both were huge improvements over his last race against this field a couple of weeks ago," Wilkins said.
Steamboat placed fifth in the 3-kilometer skate race, which was won by Aspen.
Once again Mortenson paced Steamboat by placing 13th (10:27.42) in the short freestyle race. Weynand was 18th (10:51.71) and Rabenal was 23rd (11:15.71). Other top Steamboat finishes included Richard in 25th, Henderson in 27th, Meissner in 29th, James Bradley in 30th, Matai Curzon in 32nd and Tracy Jameson in 34th.
The season is drawing to a close for high school skiers across the state. The Alpine teams wrapped up the regular season last weekend, and the Nordic athletes will have one more shot at a mass start classic race Feb. 17 at Maloit Park in Minturn.
The state meet will be held Feb. 22 with an individual start classic race and a giant slalom event. The following day the Nordic skiers will compete in a pursuit start skate race, and the Alpine skiers will race in a slalom event. The Nordic events will be held at the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center, and the Alpine venue will be at Ski Cooper.
“We are excited,” Boese said. “The important thing is to just have fun, and then after that, everything else just comes easier.”