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Two sports? Old hat for Roberts

Ian Cropp
VAIL CO, COLORADO
Battle Mountain High School skier Jamie Lee Roberts competes in the state high school cross-country skiing championship race at Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs, CO on Thursday, February 21, 2008. Roberts finished the 5-kilometer course with a time of 0:22:15.
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EAGLE-VAIL ” At this point, a two-sport season is old hat for Jamie Lee Roberts.

In fact, it may be just be her offseason.

Roberts, a Battle Mountain skier, used her multidiscipline experience to win this year’s Skimeister. The Skimeister crown is awarded to the skier with the top combined alpine and Nordic results through the regular season.

“Two sports isn’t new,” Roberts, a senior, said. “My sophomore year I was doing club soccer and cross country in the fall, and then track and soccer in the spring.”

And in early spring, Roberts was still competing in club ski races, giving her a tri-sport season. Last year, Roberts did the same along with her high school and club winter racing. But for this year, Roberts decided to take a break from club racing during the high school ski season and added in Nordic skiing.

“Ever since I was in elementary school, when I found out my dad was a Skimeister in his high school and college, I wanted to do it, too,” Roberts said. “I thought about it last year but didn’t really have time to do it with club racing.”

Before this season, Roberts had only been on Nordic skis three times.

“The first practice was difficult,” she said. “I was better at skate because it was more like alpine. But for classic, the technique was harder for me.”

Roberts decided to enter a Nordic club-level race prior to the high school season.

“That was the hardest race ever,” Roberts said. “I thought it was going to be a long year, but it gave me the experience I needed and I did small Nordic camps and started picking it up. I had so many people coaching me this year.”

Although she had run cross country, Roberts found out the transition to Nordic wasn’t seamless.

“I didn’t realize it would be as hard as it is,” she said. “I used muscles I didn’t even think I had.”

For her first and final stab at the Skimeister title, Roberts did her skiing homework with some trusty help.

“My mom was a stalker and found all the (Skimeister) girls names and we kept track of them all season. We’d say, ‘OK, I have to beat this one girl at this race, and hopefully this girl beats that girl,'” Roberts said.

Roberts went to both alpine and Nordic practice each day for most of the season.

“I think it was hard, but she knew how to balance it,” said Jenny Banner, one of Roberts’ teammates. “She’s very athletic and always tries hard ” I knew she could win.”

While Roberts improved each race in Nordic, she kept her top form in alpine.

“We could always count on her for solid results,” Banner said.

Roberts placed in the top 10 for every alpine race in the regular season ” when she couldn’t attack as hard, because she had to finish all the races to keep atop the Skimeister standings.

“The team really stepped up and girls like Kelly VanHee skied awesome,” Roberts said. “I’m glad I wasn’t as needed where I could be the third racer (to score).”

At state in Steamboat Springs, Roberts was sixth in slalom and seventh in giant slalom. After her final high school race, a classic Nordic Friday afternoon, Roberts wasn’t quite ready to put away the skis for the weekend ” she stayed for a club race Saturday. Finally, on the ride home from Steamboat Saturday, Roberts was able to rest and reflect on her accomplishment.

“I’m so excited I finally did it,” she said. “I really want to thank all my coaches and teammates for helping me the who way.”

There isn’t much time to rest for Roberts, though, as spring sports are right around the corner, and there is still plenty of time left for club races. Next year, Roberts plans on attending the University of Wyoming.

“I’ll probably ski for them,” she said. “But it’s going to be hard not doing a bunch of sports. It’ll will still be fun to do intramural sports, though.”

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.


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