More than 170 Far West U14 athletes gathered at Alpine Meadows for the North and South Series this past weekend to compete in Super G head-to-head competition.
Sunday's race was cancelled when rain and snow combined for dangerous conditions and poor visibility. Friday and Saturday were a go, however, and the two days were all South Shore skiers Payton Norton and Haley Louis needed to land in the top five.
The teams hit the slopes for training runs Friday, and ran a speedy top-to-bottom Alpine Meadows course on Saturday. The course launched from the top of Summit, ripped down Wolverine Bowl and charged over Waterfall for 3/4 miles of blistering fast race speeds.
The icy conditions turned slushy as a 45-minute course hold stretched Saturday's race into the afternoon. A mid-course jump and unnerving athlete injury the day before had some of the racers skiing cautiously, but Diamond Peak's Casey Delaney wasn't rattled.
Delaney tore down the course with a combined time of 1:10.95, to take the win over the field of 92 male competitors.
South shore resident Payton Norton, racing for the Diamond Peak Ski Team, wasn't far behind. Norton sped his way to fifth place (1:13.67). Teammates Corey Huber (22nd, 1:16.36), Nick Fischer (57th, 1:21.85), and Trent Funke (60th, 1:22.35) rounded out the top Diamond Peak times.
A training accident knocked Kirkwood's Ben Weisel out, but teammate Daniel Drapeau had a strong showing placing 23rd (1:16.46).
Three boys competed for Heavenly Ski Foundation with Dylan Gooding placing 27th (1:16.83), followed by Sean Dunkelman 34th (1:17.66), and Logan Langemeier 75th (1:25.82).
"The course was tough; the conditions were tough. Fortunately, many of my athletes as well as the other south shore U14 athletes, were also tough and faced the challenges head-on," said DPSF Coach Raquel Norton.
Squaw Valley swept the podium with Keely Cashman placing first, Abby Norton second, and AJ Hurt third. Kirkwood's Haley Louis was in the mix though, breaking the top level by placing fifth. Louis' teammate, Grace Holmstrom placed 62nd.
Heavenly's sole female competitor, Cypress Sell, placed 58th.
Madison Idso, who often leads the Diamond Peak girls, took a hard crash and was not able to finish, but Katie Fisher 70th, can proudly say she, along with her teammates, completed their toughest race.
Norton and Huber both qualified for the invitational only J4 performance camp March 15-17 at Sugar Bowl. Selections were based on season standings with only 12 boys and 12 girls from the North Division selected. The boys will compete in four events, SL, GS, Super G and the newly formed parallel, against the best of the best in their age class in the state.
UP NEXT: Athletes travel to Sugar Bowl to compete in the U14 Championships April 4-7 to compete in all four disciplines.