Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes spring to top finishes in Park City | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes spring to top finishes in Park City

The Steamboat Springs U14 boys team swept the podium last weekend at the Western Regional Championships in Park City, Utah. Top finishers in the ski jumping event included Canden Wilkinson, middle, Niklas Malacinski, left, and Erik Belshaw.

— Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Nordic Director Todd Wilson never likes to see the end of the ski season, but if it has to come to a close, he wants to see his athletes finish on a high note.

And that's just what many of the 22 Winter Sports Club athletes who traveled to last weekend's 2016 Western Regional Championships ended up doing — either with a top result or a personal-best finish.

Steamboat topped nearly every division and swept the U16, U14 and U10 boys divisions. Steamboat athletes also won the U12, U14 and U16 girls divisions in the special jumping and Nordic combined events, which took place March 4 and 5 in Park City, Utah.

The Western Regional Championships are designed as an end-of-season event for the country’s younger special jumping and Nordic combined skiers. Many of the older skiers elect to go to bigger events or wait for the U.S. Nationals, which are normally held in the summer.

"Our kids really did well," Wilson said of last weekend's event. "We swept a number of podiums, and I can't think of a better way for our season to come to a close. It's the perfect way to leave the kids feeling good about this season and excited to see what they can do next year."

Topping the list of top finishes was Steamboat's Canden Wilkenson, who won the U14 boys division, which was held on the HS42 Friday afternoon. He was followed by teammates Niklas Malacinski in second and Erik Belshaw in third. Steamboat's Gunner Gilbertson wrapped up fourth place with teammates Thomas Miller in seventh, Reid Sias in 10th, John St. John in 11th and Joey Barlet in 12th.

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Annika Belshaw won the U14 girls competition on the HS42, topping Paige Jones of Fly Girls and Jillian Higfill of the Park City team. Steamboat's Alexa Brabec was fourth.

Steamboat also showed well in the younger events.

The U10 boys competition, which was held on the HS15, saw Steamboat take the top three positions. Kade Lawton won the event followed by Sawyer Graves in second and Jason Colby in third. Steamboat's Koen Stroock was sixth, and Wyatt Graves finished ninth.

Park City skier Emily Campbell led a Park City sweep of the U10 girls event. However, Steamboat's Shea Sias was fourth, Haley Brabec was fifth and Alena Rossi was sixth.

Park CIty's Zach Selzman held off a group of Steamboat jumpers to win the U12 boys competition, which was held on the HS20.

Steamboat's Thomas Miller was second, Jason Colby was third and Reid Sias was fifth in the competition. Other top Steamboat finishes included Kade Lawton, who finished tied for seventh, Wyatt Graves, who was ninth, Koen Stroock, who was 11th and Sawyer Graves, who was 13th for the boys.

Steamboat's Alexa Brabec topped the U12 girls event beating Park City's Higfill who took second and teammate Tinsley Wilkinson who finished in third. Aspen Bennett-Manke was fifth, and Becca Fahrner was eight.

On Saturday, the jumping and Nordic combined events drew to a close in thrilling fashion.

Canden Wilkinson wrapped up a strong showing by leading the field in the U16 special jumping competition held on the HS68. Once again Steamboat swept the event with Gilbertson taking second place and Malacinski finishing third. Steamboat's Erik Belshaw placed fifth in the final standings. Park City's Jared Shumate won the U18 boys class.

On the girls side, it was Annika Belshaw leading the way for the second day in a row, Fly Girl Samantha Macuga was second and her teammate Kailey Bickner was third. Steamboat's Hanna Schrock, who attends the Steamboat Mountain School, placed fourth.

The Nordic combined competitions also came to an end Saturday with the athletes using their results from the jumping events for seeding in the cross country leg on the competition.

Canden Wilkinson won the 3-kilometer race to top the U14 boys race. He crossed the finish line in front of teammates Gilbertson in second, Malacinski in third and Erik Belshaw in fourth.

Park City came to race in the U12 boys race, however. Wes Campbell won the 2-kilometer race with teammate Selzman in second. Steamboat's Thomas Miller, the only Steamboat racer to start the race, placed third.

Steamboat took the top five spots in the U10 boys race, led by Kade Lawton. Colby was second, Koen Stroock was third, Sawyer Graves was forth and Wyatt Graves was fifth after the 1-kilometer race.

Annika Belshaw won the women's Nordic combined event after posting the fastest time on the 3-kilometer course. Alexa Brabec won the U12 girls race, and Park City's Emily Campbell won the U10 girls race.

Steamboat's Tinsley Wilkinson picked up a second place in the U12 girls race, while Bennett-Manke earned a third and Fahrner was fourth.

In the U10 girls race, Steamboat's Shea Sias was second, Alena Rossic was third and Haley Brabec was fourth.

Wilson said the club plans to keep the ski jumps in Steamboat Springs open as long as possible this spring, but he said the Park City events will be the season’s last competitions.

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966