The Diamond Peak Ski Team's U16 Far West alpine racers sped down a challenging giant slalom course at Northstar this past Friday through Sunday as they competed in their second Junior Olympic qualifying race of the season.
Under clear skies, the Diamond Peak Ski Team (DPST) showed its expertise on the backside of Northstar as its members raced down an icy course that started on Challenger and continued down a series of steep pitches onto Follow Me.
Leading DPST was Amanda Pretti, who showed consistency with three top-10 finishes, moving up each day. Pretti finished 10th on Friday, ninth on Saturday and eighth on Sunday.
Her DPST teammates held strong against a very competitive field of racers from throughout the Far West ranks. They included Erica Kennedy, who finished 18th and 25th, Annika Hansen (31st, 34th, 18th), Alaina Chen (27th, 36th, 28th), Aly Kennedy (31st, 30th) and Kirsten Oleson (41st, 48th).
On the boys side, Connor Novak (30th, 17th) took the top spot for DPST, followed by Wolfie Moller (39th, 59th, 47th) and Alexander Hayes (50th, 39th).
The Northstar race was the second in a series of three Wild West races set up to determine qualification for the Junior Olympics. There are a total of nine JO qualifying races: three slalom, three GS and three super G.
The DPST racers are off to a great start with several top-15 finishes already under their belt from the slalom series, including Pretti (first, third, fourth), Hansen (fourth, 10th, 11th), Erica Kennedy (13th, 15th) and Novak (15th).
With six of the nine qualifying races now completed, the athletes are left with only the super G at Mammoth Mountain from Feb. 22-24. At the completion of the series, the top finishers will advance to compete in the Junior Olympics from March 19-23 in Alyeska, Alaska.
Aidan Pretti and Julia Holm brought in top finishes for DPST as the U10/U12 Far West racers competed in a GS race at Squaw Valley this past Saturday and Sunday.
While spectators enjoyed warm, sunny conditions on the deck, 280 racers faced steep, icy conditions on Exhibition each day.
DPST only had one racer in the U10 age group on Sunday, but Aidan Pretti represented his team well as he stepped onto the podium to take second place.
For the U12 girls, Holm led DPST with two top finishes, racing to fourth place on both Saturday and Sunday.
Other strong finishes for the weekend in the U12 age group included Rachel Delaney (19th, 30th), Katherine Johnson (30th), Satchel Hirsh (22nd, 29th), Brent Wolf (31st, 33rd) and Marek Hlubucek (36th, 39th). Also competing over the weekend for DPST were Ethan Chen, Matthew Smallhouse, Otto Albrect, Zoe Lacasse-Kirstine, Ainsley Hickenbottom, Megan Smallhouse, Lucy Donahue, Julia Capaldi, Rebecca Waterson and Kaci Meyer.
The U10/U12 Far West racers travel next to Alpine Meadows on Feb. 23 and 24 for a kombi race, which tests the racers' skills at slalom and GS as well as terrain features, including jumps.