STHS’s Cassidy Cichowicz sweeps JV cross country skiing titles |

STHS’s Cassidy Cichowicz sweeps JV cross country skiing titles

Steve Yingling, Tribune sports editor

Cassidy Cichowicz didn’t start learning how to compete in cross country skiing until December. Only a few months later, the South Tahoe High freshman became the state champion in the junior varsity girls’ division at the California/Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation state championships.

Cichowicz won both the skate and classic titles Friday and Saturday at Auburn Ski Club, giving her the best total time as well.

South Tahoe coach Scott Hudson said Cichowicz’s victories were rare feats for the school in a sport routinely dominated by Truckee and North Tahoe.

“The Truckee people really sat up and took notice,” Hudson said. “No one (from South Tahoe) has won a championship or even a race for quite a few years.”

Hudson said Cichowicz picked up the basics of the classic form the first week of training in December, then took another week to learn the skating technique.

“We’ve adding on to it since,” Hudson said. “She was a little squirrely on the skis. She runs down the girls in front of her who are better skiers, and she overpowers them with her endurance.”

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A foot injury kept Cichowicz from competing for the cross country running team until the regional meet in November. But she was ready to compete once the snow arrived.

“She really wanted to get better, she’s an extremely hard worker and knows how to push herself really hard,” Hudson said.

Cichowicz won the girls’ JV 5K skate race in 19:34.63. Her time would have also placed her in the top 10 of the varsity race.

Teammates Lisa Johnston and Tiffany Racz were ninth and 13th with their times of 22:22.16 and 23:23.16, respectively, in the 25-racer field.

Cichowicz also won the classic race (22:20.00) and was the overall champ by nearly a minute over North Tahoe’s Shelby Foster. Racz improved to seventh in classic, vaulting her to seventh in combined results. Johnston took 14th in classic and wound up 12th overall.

The three girls propelled the Vikings to a third-place team finish behind Truckee and North Tahoe.

Cichowicz was joined by four other Vikings at the state meet. David Wise, a STHS junior, placed 16th in both the boys’ varsity 5K skate and classic races. Russell Kennedy of Truckee swept the titles.

“David was in a very tough group. He was up against some guys who are very top-notch,” Hudson said. “In the last two months everybody on the team has gotten so much better, they got so much stronger and their technique has improved.”

South Tahoe sophomore Erik Cramer was 15th in the boys’ skate race and improved to 11th in the classic event. For the two days, Cramer placed 13th.

Hudson hopes that he can add to his five-member team next season.

“They worked really hard every day. I know I can push them pretty hard, and they can do it. And they have a good time,” Hudson said.

Spandau, Meyers lead middle school racers

Janelle Spandau of South Tahoe Middle School was 30th out of 56 competitors in the one-day intermediate school competition. Timberwolves Christy Walowit and Zaira Monette were 35th and 38th.

Tyler Meyers led the STMS boys, placing 27th out of 55 racers. Kyle Swain was 35th, Harley Norton 39th and Tyler Cottrill 40th.