Alpine addicts

WSC athletes unlock success at Keystone

Twenty-five members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's J3-level Alpine team took part in two downhill races at Keystone last week.

The downhills, part of the 19-event SmartWool Series, were part of a weeklong event that also included two days of super-G racing.

Eighteen ability-level athletes participated in the super-G and downhill events.

The ability-level athletes used the event to move ahead in the SmartWool standings and to gain more downhill experience in preparation for the International Skiing Federation (FIS) Rocky Mountain Trophy Series coming up Tuesday and Wednesday in Beaver Creek.

In addition, the J3 skiers were using the Keystone races as a tune-up for two Junior Olympic-qualifying super-G races being staged this weekend on the same hill.

Keystone's hill is intimidating and includes a very steep final pitch down the Go Devil slope. Last weekend, downhillers were recorded going in excess of 65 mph, said Sue Schwartz, ability coach at the Winter Sports Club.

At the ability level, Tina Roberts placed first overall and first among J2 women after the second downhill, held Jan. 15. Heidi Hillenbrand was third overall and third in the J2 level. Katie Hartman of Summit was second. Maddy McLean of the Winter Sports Club finished fourth.

Other top finishers for the Steamboat girls in the second downhill included Britt Bahle in 13th, Haley McLeish in 16th and Suzanne Allbright in 22nd.

In the first downhill, held Jan. 14, Roberts was fourth and Hillenbrand was fifth. McLean came in 13th and McLeish was 14th.

On the boys' side, T.J. Canon picked up a third-place finish in the Jan. 14 downhill but was second in the J1 level in both downhill races.

Cory McConnell was third at the J2 level and Thomas Allen was fifth at the J2 level in the first downhill. McConnell finished seventh Jan. 15.

Other top finishers for the Steamboat boys on the first downhill included Andy White ing 14th and Graham Hogrefe ing 25th. In the second downhill Jan. 15, White came in 16th, Jeff Dye was 23rd and Mike Scheuer was 40th.

Two great stories that emerged during the weekend, Schwartz said, were the performances of Scheuer on the boys' side and McLeish on the girls' team.

Scheuer just started racing for the Winter Sports Club this season and started in the 80th spot in both races. On Jan. 14, he finished 46th in a field of 94 in his first downhill race ever. On Jan. 15, he moved up to 40th.

McLeish enjoyed similar success, though she isn't a first-time racer. McLeish started with bib No. 61 on Jan. 14 and finished in the top 15. On Jan. 15, she started with bib No. 53 and finished 16th in the downhill.

On the J3 side, Priska Sorensen finished first during the second downhill and fifth overall, coming in behind Roberts, Hillenbrand and Maddy McLean. Sorensen was third in the J3 level Jan. 14 and 12th overall.

Lane Shipley picked up first-place finishes at the J3 level both days and came in 24th and 18th overall.

Other top finishers for the Winter Sports Club at the J3 level in the Jan. 14 downhill included Anabelle McLean in fourth in J3 and 17th overall, Lauren Letson in 10th at J3 and Trevor Wert in 10th at J3.

Other top finishers at the J3 level in the Jan. 15 downhill included McLean in sixth place J3 and 10th overall, Letson in ninth at J3 and Jenny Allen in 10th place at J3.

-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208

or e-mail mmawdsley@steamboatpilot.com

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