Wednesday, February 26, 2003
Steamboat Springs Their bright eyes and wide smiles convey a sense of innocence that helps them blend in with the other underclassman wandering the halls of Steamboat Springs High School.
But freshman Sarah MacCarthy and sophomore Korie Steitz are not your average high school students.
Last weekend, the soft-spoken underclassmen proved to be the most dominant high school cross country skiers in the state of Colorado.
MacCarthy, who is just five months younger than Steitz, raced to the top spot Friday in a 5-kilometer classic race with a time of 25 minutes, 38.8 seconds. Steitz was second.
The pair swapped positions on Saturday as Steitz picked up her first state title in the 5-kilometer freestyle event with a time of 26:02.1 and her teammate MacCarthy was second.
"I wanted to win, but I didn't expect it," MacCarthy said. "I was really surprised that I won by 1 minute and 20 seconds. I thought the race would be a lot closer -- more like 10 seconds."
Steitz crossed the finish line in second place at 26:58.7 and Vail Mountain School's Haleigh Armstrong was third at 27:15.5.
A day later, it was Steitz's turn to rise to the top in the freestyle race.
Threatening skies turned to blizzard conditions during the course of the race, limiting visibility and hindering all the competitors.
"You just have to put your head down and go," coach Brain Tate said. "Kori had to fight the wind and blowing snow ... it was a tough race."
Steitz finished the course in first followed by her teammate in second at 26:43 and Armstrong in third at 26:56.
"It was unbelievable," Steitz said. "It was windy, freezing and wet. It couldn't have been much worse."
But it couldn't have been much better for the Sailor girls.
MacCarthy and Steitz led the Steamboat team with their finishes. But Jennifer Hooper and Lisl Pearson also contributed to making the Sailors the top cross country team in both the classic and freestyle events during the state championships.
Hooper placed 14th in the classic and 17th in the freestyle and her teammate Pearson was 19th and 24th, respectively.
Steamboat finished third in the final state combined standings, which is the total amount of points won in both Nordic and Alpine squads.
Brittany Lamb's sixth-place finish in Saturday's slalom was the highlight for the Alpine girls. Shannon Gormley was 12th, Henley Shephard was 25th and Piper Reed placed 26th in that race.
Gormley led the Sailors in the giant slalom race Friday. She finished in 11th. Shephard was 14th, Reed placed 22nd and Rebecca Herman was 35th.
Aspen won the state title with 644 total points. Summit was second with 631 and Steamboat placed third at 612. Thirteen teams competed in this year's state skiing championships.