Some of the Lake County High School Nordic ski team headed to the Steamboat Springs Touring Center on Saturday for the Colorado High School Sprint Championships. The racers faced three rounds on a 1.5-kilometer loop that dropped down off the start and then climbed steadily back up before finishing with a sharp hill and a sprint to the finish. 

Three Panthers on the men’s team competed. Matthew Wilson grew stronger in each round, placing sixth, fourth and fourth again. This notched him a 28th place finish overall. Raymond Harvey learned from some of his earlier rounds and went into his last race determined not to hesitate. He charged through the second half of the race and outsprinted his competition to win his final heat, placing 25th overall. Jaren Peters won his first round before ending up in a stacked semifinal where he placed fourth. In the B-Final, Peters made a strong move up the last hill and finished second in his heat, placing eighth overall. 

“These athletes haven’t ever done a sprint race before, so it was great to see a kid like Raymond learn each round and end with a victory,” commented coach Karl Remsen at the end of the day. 

There were six Lake County women who also competed. Violet Hill was tangled in the first round, but she found the motivation to keep skiing hard and finished fourth. In her next two heats, she blew the doors off the competition and won by a huge margin, placing 19th for the day. Indigo Olsen, Keira King and Aimee Lenhard followed a similar path, placing well in their first heat, then finishing toward the back of their second heat. They were all in the C-Final, where Olsen and King led the pack, placing first and second respectively. Lenhard made one last push up the final climb and secured third placee for a Lake County sweep. Overall, Olsen placed 13th, King 14th and Lenhard 15th. 

“Aimee had the patience of a pro and made her move at the right time,” said Remsen.

Clara Kirr notched a second place finish in her first heat. She followed that up with a third place finish in the second round, which meant she got to race in the B-Final. Kirr skied steadily in the middle of the pack but it came down to a sprint in the end and she placed fourth, securing a 10th place finish overall. Lenhard had the highest finish among Lake County athletes for the day. She won her first heat easily, and her second heat by a small margin. Lenhard lined up for the final race of the day with the best skiers from the field in the A-final. She fought in the middle of the pack throughout the race but was just nipped in the final straight, finishing fourth overall. 

“The day was awesome. Kids skied hard and learned a ton about sprint racing,” noted Remsen. “I can’t wait to bring all these kids back next year to race again.” 

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