The South Tahoe High and Middle School Nordic teams traveled to the Auburn Ski Club on Jan. 24 to compete in the Truckee Sprints. Once again, due to lack of snow in the Truckee area, the event was moved to the Auburn Ski Club Center on the top of Donner Pass where a one-kilometer course was set for the racers. The crew at the Auburn Ski Club manages to keep the thin layer of snow received this season suitable for racing.
The skate sprint format consists of every skier first doing an individual time trial on the course. The skiers with the top 30 times in each group are then seated in five quarter-final brackets of six racers to race head-to-head over the same one kilometer course. First and second place from each of these quarter-final races, along with the next two fastest racers, move on to compete in two semi-final heats. Finally, the first three racers in each of these heats move on to the championship race of six skiers.
Those skiers whose times in the individual time trial are not fast enough to make the top 30 are placed in the consolation round and grouped in heats of six skiers. This gives every skier the opportunity to compete in a minimum of two races, and also experience the head-to-head competition of a group race.
Racing got underway first for the middle school boys. Based on the time trial, the South Tahoe Timberwolves placed two skiers, Ryan Newberger and Christopher Hoefer, in the top 30 bracket. When the snow settled, JC Shoonmaker from North Tahoe Middle School took first place.
Next, the middle school girls competed on the course. Allee Zacor and Jessie Brown were fast enough during the time trial to make it into the top 30 for the Timberwolves. There were some very close races through the quarter and semi-final rounds. After the final race, Alder Creek Middle School’s Grace Bronstone landed on top of the podium.
Races for the high school athletes started in the late afternoon with the boys individual time trial going first. For the South Tahoe Vikings, Kyle Swain, Harley Norton, Orion Maxwell, Paul Hoefer, Goody Walowit, Chase Stalter, Chas Carlson and freshman Kyle Ferguson skated around the course with fast enough times to earn spots in the quarter final heats. Dylan Syben from the North Tahoe Lakers was the fastest racer of the day capturing the top spot on the podium. Swain finished the day in the finals and ended up with a sixth place finish.
The high school girls races were the final races of the day. After the individual time trial portion, four Lady Vikings made the top 30, Ally Swain, Tatum Whatford, Cara Filce and Emma Sour. As the sky began to darken and the final race took place, Lizzie Larkins from Truckee High was the fastest skier for the girls.
Next, the teams will be traveling to Mammoth to compete in a classic (stride) race.