Steamboat Nordic skiers shine in season’s last surge
March 30, 2018
The season didn't end for a group of Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club cross-country skiers with fun days skating through spring slush. Instead, it ended with one of the team's toughest events of the year, one that tossed a group of Steamboat teenagers into the action at the starting line with Olympic gold medalists and national champions.
That group acquitted itself quite well, coming away from a U.S. Super Tour cross-country ski event at the Craftsbury Outdoors Center in Craftsbury Common, Vermont with strong results, especially in the juniors divisions.
Sadie Cotton, Noel Keefe, Wavery Gebhardt, Wyatt Gebhardt and Sven Tate headlined Steamboat's contingent in the event, and each had at least one strong event.
The Gebhardt siblings were especially strong late in the week in the event's longest races. Wyatt Gebhardt placed third in the juniors 30-kilometer Classic skiing mass start race.
Wyatt also was strong early in the races, placing sixth in a juniors Classic sprint race. He was 43rd overall and eighth among U20 skiers in a 15K freestyle mass start.
Wavery Gebhardt also carved out a podium spot, placing third in the 20K girls Classic mass start event. She was 47th overall and fourth among U18 skiers in a 10K freestyle mass start, then fifth in the juniors Classic sprint event.
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Sadie Cotton had a strong week starting with the Classic sprint, where she qualified for the heats with a 28th-place time. She was then lumped into a group that included two Olympians, one of whom was 2018 Winter Olympics gold medalist Jessie Diggins. Cotton didn't hang with Diggins, but did ski tight with the rest of the pack before placing sixth in that heat. She didn't advance.
Noel Keefe placed 15th overall in the men's Classic sprint. He didn't advance out of the quarterfinals, a race in which he was matched up with Olympian Semi Hamilton.
Sven Tate also had a fast week highlighted by a 3rd-place finish among U18 skiers in the 15K mass start freestyle event.
A team of Steamboat athletes came together for one of the team's best overall results. Racing in a 4 x 5-kilometer mixed relay, Keefe, Cotton and both members of Team Gebhardt won the juniors race.