Locals fare well on courses

— A 16-hour drive from Durango to Steamboat marked the end of a busy weekend for the members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's cross-country team Sunday.

"We were on the road for 16 hours," team member Jessica Philip said. "It took us 24 hours to get home after we left the race."

The squad had traveled to Durango for the second of four Junior Olympic qualifiers. That event will be held in Ishpeming, Mich., March 5-12.

A nasty winter storm made getting home extremely difficult. The team got caught in Silverton, a small mining town between Durango and Ouray, then had to backtrack to Durango. The team then drove through Cortez, Monticello, Utah, and Moab en route to Steamboat.

"It was crazy," Philip said. "We were completely exhausted. All we wanted to do was get home and climb into bed."

Despite the problems, the trip proved to be a productive one for the team. Topping the results for the local team were Philip, who won the 5-kilometer freestyle race Saturday and placed second in a 5-kilometer classic race Friday.

"I was really excited about winning that one," Philip said. "The conditions were less than perfect and it was nice to get the win."

Mark Iverson, who recently returned from training in Alaska, joined the Winter Sports Club's squad for the weekend and placed first in a 5-kilometer freestyle race Saturday and first in a 10-kilometer classic race Friday.

Other top finishers in Friday's race included Austin Ross, who was second in the J-2 boys, who raced a 5-kilometer course. Kori Steitz placed first in the J-3 girls and teammate Sarah MacCarthy was fourth. Justin Krause was second on the boys side. All of the J-3 racers competed on a 3-kilometer course.

On Saturday, Ross finished third in the J-2 boys division on a tough 5-kilometer course. Steitz was first in the J-3 girls race and MacCarthy was fourth. Krause was second for the J-3 boys. Melissa Krause finished fourth in the J-4 girls race. Once again the younger (J-3 and J-4) racers competed on a shorter 3-kilometer course.

"We only took eight skiers to Durango," coach Brian Tate said. "We are small, but we have a lot of potent skiers on this team."

Freestyle news

In other skiing news, local mogul skier Emily Heller topped a traditional singles event in Breckenridge Saturday.

Heller scored 23.29 points to top Erin Resko and Katrina Diaz in the Rocky Mountain Division meet.

"It was an exceptional day for our girls," Winter Sports Club coach Tarsha Ebbern said. "Our guys also skied well, but we still need to put some things together from the top of the run to the bottom."

Other top local finishers included Erin Anderson in fifth place, Erica Damon in 11th and Maryann Skraba in 12th.

Steamboat's Patty Hanley (19th), Gina Gmeiner (22nd) and Andrea Barry (25th) also competed in the singles mogul event.

The men's event was won by David Babic, with Andy Musser coming in second and Fred Mooney taking third.

The top Steamboat finisher was Jarrett Arguelles in 24th place. Teammate Paul Khuri was 25th, Luke Vincent was 27th and Nick Bucci came in 28th.

Steamboat' Luke Belz (32nd), Colin McDonald (33rd), Collin Shinabarker (41st) and Martin Mankoo (47th) also took part in the event.

On Sunday, Steamboat's Kyle Scoby placed fifth in a dual competition, which was also held in Breckenridge.

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