Gooding and Barnwell Earn Top 10 finishes
Heavenly Foundation athletes traveled to their first races of the season this past weekend. Far West athletes raced slalom at Sugar Bowl, while those competing in the Tahoe League Series, raced slalom at Boreal. Although Mother Nature didn’t help out race crews, artificial snow was blown onto the race hills, leaving all athletes to contend with firm conditions and steeper than normal pitches. Although 30 percent were unable to complete their first run, many were just happy to be able to race.
“Yeah, when you go up the chairlift and you don’t see any snow under you, you become a little concerned with what the race hill is going to be like,” said Coach Raquel Norton. “And then you see a solid strip right down the race hill… We were thankful that they were able to host some 300 kids.”
Saturday saw a lot of kids falling, slipping past gates and hiking. However, Heavenly’s Gunnar Barnwell broke into the top 15 with a 13th place for the J5 Boys (10 and younger), earning his first top 15 finish in a Far West race and was the team’s top finisher.
“After all the falls, DSQ’s… to see him on the podium, that made my day,” said Coach Mark Norton.
Heavenly’s Nick Fischer and Sean Dunkelman placed in the top 20 for the J4 Boys (ages 11-12) with a 17th and 22nd. HSF teammates Cypress Sell and Madison Idso nearly had top 20 results with a 25th and 28th in the same age category.
Sunday proved to be a better day for the Heavenly team with more consistent skiing and finishes. Dylan Gooding led the Heavenly charge with a fourth place finish in the J4 class, just missing the podium by a little less than a second overall. Dunkelman improved to 18th followed by Trent Funke in 30th. The J4 Girls traded places with Idso taking 31st and Sell 32nd. But it was Gunnar Barnwell who really dialed in Sunday’s race with a top ten finish: seventh place for the J5s.
“We’re always giving him a bad time, to work harder… I think it’s paying off”, joked Coach Norton. Far West athletes compete again January 28th and 29th at Diamond Peak.
Heavenly’s Tahoe League team saw similar conditions at Boreal: 50 mile an hour winds, snow guns blowing onto athletes as they raced down the hill and of course, steep and icy terrain.
The Tahoe League Race Series competitors raced a dual slalom format with nearly 400 competitors. The 10 and under racers competed on Saturday while the 11 and older athletes raced on Sunday. The dual slalom involved the competitors racing side-by-side in identical slalom courses.
On Saturday, despite high winds and icy conditions, the 10 and under HSF racers toughed it out and gave their best efforts in such unpleasant conditions, with many racing for the first time. In the 7 and 8 year old girls’ category, Allison Mollin placed 30th and Emma Habaradas placed 32nd on Saturday. Annie Ferguson was close behind but was disqualified on her second run. In the boys ages 7 and 8 category, Blake Sutter placed 42nd. In the girls’ ages 9 and 10 category Lexie Sutter placed 23rd . The 11 and older competitors displayed their dual slalom skills Sunday. Heavenly Ski Foundation athletes Lucas Kassity, placed 19th, Warren Maritneau, 29th , and Mitchell Krivan, 37th. Heavenly’s top finisher Sunday was Lauren Bailey with a 20th place in the 13 and 14 year old girls’ category.
The next scheduled Tahoe League Series race will be at Alpine Meadows on Jan. 28th.
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