Steamboat Nordic skier makes big impression on college field on his way to Junior Nationals | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Nordic skier makes big impression on college field on his way to Junior Nationals

Ellery Hodges and Grace Zanni, representing the Steamboat Spring Winter Sports Club cross-country ski team, took part Feb. 10 and 11 in one of the largest races of the season in Minturn where junior competitors and collegians took part in the Denver University Invitational.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Wyatt Gebhardt, 18, will lead a team of 11 Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cross-country skiers to the Junior National Championships at Soldier Hollow Utah, March 6 to 10, after a freestyle race in Minturn where he crushed the rest of the U18/U20 field.

"Wyatt Gebhardt did not match the kind of season he had last year until this weekend," Steamboat Coach Brian Tate said. "His form came alive, again. He decimated the junior field."

Even more impressive was how his performance at the Feb. 10 race measured up against a strong field of collegians racing in the Denver University Invitational.

"Wyatt skied with precision and skill to win the male U18/U20 division 10K by over a minute and a half," Tate said. "As he started amongst the collegiate men, his time placed him fourth overall."

That means Gebhardt more than held his own against college skiers from the University of Colorado, Montana State, University of New Mexico, University of Utah and others.

Tate pointed out that the other U18/U20 skiers from Steamboat also had top results. Jimmy Colfer placed second, followed Noel Keeffe in fourth, Sven Tate in fifth, Kieran Hahn in sixth and Chase High in ninth.

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On the girls side, Steamboat’s Waverly Gebhardt placed first in the women's U18/U20 freestyle race followed by teammates Dasha Kuznetsova, third, and Sadie Cotton, fifth. All three racers have earned their spots on the Junior National Team. 

Going to junior nationals for the first time next month will be Wally Magill and Sumner Cotton, both 15-year-olds. Magill placed first in both the classic and freestyle races in Minturn.

Their coach predicted Magill and Cotton will experience a new level of competition at Soldier Hollow.

"Junior Nationals are for sure overwhelming as an event, but they'll also see a whole bunch of athletes they've never raced again before," Tate said.

One of those athletes this year will be Will Koch, competing in the U16 age group. He is the son of Bill Koch, who won a silver medal in the sport during the 1976 Olympics.

Tate said he was disappointed for U16 skier Sidney Barbier, who was named as an alternate to the Junior Nationals but missed full qualifying by only two points over the length of the season.

"She really deserved to go," he said.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.

The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cross-country team placed 11 athletes on the Rocky  Mountain Junior National Team that will compete next month in Utah.

  1. Wyatt Gebhardt
  2. Noel Keeffe
  3. Jimmy Colfer
  4. Sven Tate
  5. Kieran Hahn
  6. Waverly Gebhardt
  7. Sadie Cotton
  8. Dasha Kuznetsova
  9. Avery Harrington
  10. Wally Magill
  11. Sumner Cotton

*Alternates: Chase High and Sidney Barbier