Viking Nordic skiers take second place in the league |

Viking Nordic skiers take second place in the league

Provided to the TribuneSouth Tahoe High Nordic ski team members pose for a photo.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The South Tahoe High Nordic ski team wrapped up their season on a very chilly Saturday morning, Feb. 26.

The Viking men and women took home an unprecedented number of team awards and individual medals.

In overall CNISSF league standings the South Tahoe Viking Open Girls and Open Boys took second place. At the championship race at Auburn Ski Club, the Open Girls took first in state, while the Open Boys took second.

The overall league standing for Open Girls included Lisa Johnston in 4th, Christy Walowit 9th, Tiffany Racz 10th, Janelle Spandau 11th, Liana Novak 15th, Kate Carlson 17th, Madeline Dant 18th, Emily Barnett 23rd, Kate Albrecht 29th, and Karin Vacakis 38th. Freshmen, Kyle Swain and Harley Norton led the Vikings in the Open Boys Division, finishing in 5th and 6th respectively, followed by Chas Carlson in 16th, Leighton Cook 21st, and Gavin Garcia in 25th.

In the CNISSF championship race, the STHS Open Girls took first place with eight finishers in the top fifteen. Finishing first for the Viking was Lisa Johnston in 4th, close behind was Christy Walowit in 7th, Janelle Spandau 8th, Molly Dant 9th, Tiffany Racz 10th, Kate Carlson 11th, Emily Barnett 12th, Madeline Dant 13th, and Kate Albrecht in 24th. In the State Championship Open Boys race, all five racers were in the top fifteen. Kyle Swain place 5th for the Vikings, Harley Norton 6th, Leighton Cook 13th, Gavin Garcia 14th, and Chas Carlson 15th.

In the Varsity Championship race, competing against the best in the state and Junior Olympic athletes, sophomore Tyler Meyers medaled in 13th place and senior, Erik Cramer, medaled in 15th place.

Four skiers earned a 4.0 grade point average during the Nordic ski season: Chas Carlson, Madeline Dant, Molly Dant, and Janelle Spandau.

The team’s accomplishments are especially noteworthy due to the tragic loss of former Nordic coach, Scott Hudson, midway through the season. The motto of the season became, “What would Scott have done?” Marsha Hudson and Nordic team members provided first year coaches Kathleen Whatford and Steve Hall advice so Scott’s plan could be carried out.

“We are certain Scott would have been very proud of the accomplishments of this year’s Nordic team,” Hall said.

The STHS Nordic team’s biggest obstacle was finding places to train.

“We were so fortunate to have the coaching expertise, guidance, and support of Debbie Waldear,” Whatford said. “Being a close friend of Scott Hudson’s, she was dedicated to the team and committed to helping them throughout the season.”

Waldear provided complementary training opportunities at Kirkwood Touring Center for our team.

“Debbie even showed up at several races to help coach, wax, and cheer on our kids,” Whatford added.

Other local Nordic ski areas also stepped in to help. Max Jones from Spooner Lake Cross Country Ski Area allowed STHS athletes to train there, along with Randy Cronin from Camp Richardson Mountain Sports Center. The STHS Nordic team expressed their gratitude to these local resorts in providing training opportunities to the team.

The STHS Nordic Ski team will be losing veteran skiers Erik Cramer and Tiffany Racz.

“They have both demonstrated maturity beyond their years,” Hall said.

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