Norton wins Wolverine Ride, South Shore skiers race for Diamond Peak at Junior Championships Qualifier |

Norton wins Wolverine Ride, South Shore skiers race for Diamond Peak at Junior Championships Qualifier

ALPINE MEADOWS, Calif. — The Wolverine Ride Junior Championships Qualifier took ski racers down Alpine Meadows ski resort Sunday, Jan. 24, and a South Shore skier continued to stay atop the USSA Far West field. Zephyr Cove's Payton Norton won the giant slalom race by a two-second margin, leading a podium sweep for the Diamond Peak Ski Team.

Due to avalanche concerns Saturday, Jan. 23, the first day of the scheduled two-day series was cancelled. By the time Sunday rolled around, the racers were eager to attack the half-mile course.

Following Sunday's first race, 30 percent of the field had been eliminated by weather and terrain challenges. For Diamond Peak skiers, this presented an excellent opportunity.

Norton, a sophomore at Whittell, led the DPST charge with a two-second victory over the field. South Tahoe senior Alec Jobbins, who placed second overall and secured victory in the U-19 division, flanked him on the podium. Whittell's Gunnar Barnwell skied to a 10th-place overall finish.

"It's nice to have our U-16 and U-19 athletes race together at the same venue — they end up pushing each other," said U-19 Coach Kayla Wieczorek. "We had a podium sweep in the U-19 girls, and almost another sweep in the U-19 men."

DPST's U-16 boys showed their depth with three top-15 finishes in their age class, and South Shore skier Luke Allen gave a strong showing with a 22nd-place finish. Jobbins led the way for the team's U-19 men, which included a seventh-place result from South Lake Tahoe's Austin Allen.

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In the girls' race, Madison Idso finished fourth and was part of a top-five sweep for Diamond Peak in the U-19 division. The result kept the Whittell junior on track to qualify for Junior Championships by finishing in the top 20.

Diamond Peak returned to action Friday, Jan. 29, for the three-day U-16 Junior Championship Qualifier races — two GS events and one slalom race — at Northstar California Resort. The second race of the Wild West Series marks the midway point of qualifications, and the series concludes with the speed event Feb. 27-29 at Mammoth Mountain.

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