Vikings go for a state skiing threepeat
Superior depth made South Tahoe High’s boys’ skiing team nearly unbeatable during the Tahoe Basin League season and has been the foundation for two previous state titles.
The Vikings now need that large pool of talent heading into the two-day Nevada State Skiing Championships that begin Saturday on the Slide Mountain side of Mount Rose. Senior Chris Whatford, the team’s No. 3 slalom skier, recently tore an ACL in a terrain park accident. That means STHS coach Mike Shreve substitutes in Jason Elder in Saturday’s slalom race and Pierce Bickert for Sunday’s GS.
“That’s a significant loss because Chris weebles, but he doesn’t wobble,” Shreve said. “Depth is key, especially at state when you are using five out of the lineup and not four like we’re accustomed to.”
Not knowing what level of talent that the Reno-area schools from the Northern Region League will bring to state, South Tahoe’s main competition may come from crosstown neighbor Whittell. The Warriors were the only Tahoe Basin League team to beat South Tahoe in 2010.
“There are two teams out there that I know can beat us – one is Whittell and the other is us,” Shreve said.
Whittell stunned perennial powers Truckee and North Tahoe by surpassing them over the final half of the TBL season to grab the league’s second berth to state.
“We’re really excited to be part of the state meet. That is something new for Whittell,” said Whittell coach Patrick Kelly.
“Late in the season we started to ski well and were able to put in a lot of good finishes. We look to continue that at state and hopefully we can go out and ski like we have the last few races.”
Like South Tahoe, Whittell will be without one of its top racers. Kelly didn’t elaborate, other than to say that Hughston Norton won’t race. The Warriors still send two of the top racers in the field to the starting gate in Austin Norton and Simon Nikles.
South Tahoe is led by juniors Mikey Suglian and Luca Genasci.
The South Tahoe girls will be looking to win their first Nevada state championship, and the Vikings will have to draw on their depth to accomplish it. The Vikings won’t have halfpipe competitor Maddie Bowman on Sunday, and senior Melissa Ewing won’t compete. As a result, the Vikings will have only seven racers instead of eight on Sunday, meaning there is less margin for error.
“That means that our other girls: Shannon (Colleton), Melissa (Smith) and Aimee (Pitcher) have to step it up,” Shreve said.
Senior Ashley Killeen has been the Vikings’ most consistent skier during the regular season, and Kelsey Henderson and Lindsey Buchanan have also been reliable contributors.
Whitney Gardner, one of the top females racers in the TBL, is Whittell’s lone representative.
Racing begins at 10 a.m. both days on a hill more familiar to the Reno-based schools.
“The two other Nevada divisions skied on that hill all season long. There’s no advantage of knowing that hill other than the fact that we have good skiers,” Shreve said.
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