Whittell’s Gardner grabs first in state | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Whittell’s Gardner grabs first in state

Becky Regan
Boyd Dangtongdee / Special to the Tribune Whittell's Michael Gardner grabbed a NIAA state title with a first-place finish in dual slaloms Tuesday at Sierra-at-Tahoe. Gardner also won league MVP with 303 points.

All the big names in the high school ski world were there.

The elite Far West crew and the best of the Basin all rolled out for the Tahoe Basin Ski League state finals, but when the snow settled Tuesday it was a wild card who took first.

Whittell’s Michael Gardner turned in consistent top 10 times all year long, but Tuesday she stepped up her game. The wild card skier claimed first place in Tuesday’s dual slalom, slowly eliminating the competition in head-to-head battles and catapulting her way to the top of the Tahoe Basin Ski League Individual standings with 303 points.

“She was racing against some really talented girls,” Whittell ski coach Patrick Kelly said. “All the top girls were there, and she just had a tremendous day.”

The top high school skiers from the Tahoe Basin Ski League battled it out at the NIAA Division 1-A State Championships at Sierra-at-Tahoe Mountain Resort earlier this week. The top three schools – North Tahoe, South Tahoe and Truckee – were allowed to bring their best eight boys and best eight girls. The rest of the schools got wild card entries based on overall point standings.

The state finals kicked off with giant slalom on Monday and wrapped up with head-to-head, dual elimination races on Tuesday. Skiers took home individual titles from each event and also combined state titles when the points from two days of racing were added up.

South Tahoe had already secured the overall TBSL team title, but the Viking boys were gunning for a state title to add to their accolades.

After two days of racing, the South Tahoe boys combined for 201 points to take first. It marks South Tahoe’s 10th state title in the last 17 years.

Truckee was two points behind for second place (199), and North Tahoe swooped third (184).

North Tahoe’s Garrett Driller led in the combined individual results, and Truckee’s Scott Lebel grabbed second. Third and fourth belonged to South Tahoe though, with Connor McKeen and freshman Alec Jobbins rounding out the top combined. Jobbins managed to ski his way into second place in Tuesday’s dual eliminations where skiers raced side-by-side and the fastest moved on to the next round.

McKeen took fourth place in both the giant slalom and dual slalom races, and emerged as league MVP among the boys with 294 points.

South Tahoe teammates Jason Elder (244), Chad Kassamani (235) and Austin Allen (230) took third, fourth and fifth in the Basin league standings respectively.

Hughston Norton was out representing for Whittell on Monday. The speedy Warrior grabbed third place in the giant slalom competition after driving through the night from a Far West competition.

On the girls’ side, North Tahoe claimed the combined state team title with 199 points. South Tahoe’s girls took second with 189 points and Truckee rounded out the combined results with 186 points.

Individually, North Tahoe’s Francesca English smoked the competition for a combined first place. English finished first in Monday’s giant slalom and second in Tuesday’s duals.

Gardner’s first place in Tuesday’s duals pushed her into second in the combined state results, and helped land the Whittell girls into fourth in the overall league standings. Truckee’s Mo Lebel took third after two days of racing. South Tahoe sophomore Mia Bickert finished a combined fourth with a second-place finish in the giant slalom and fifth-place finish in duals.

South Tahoe teammate Mikaela Clothier finished second in Tuesday’s duals behind Gardner.

In addition to her first-place in duals, Gardner also pulled out a fourth-place in the giant slalom on Monday.

Bickert (272) ended the season ranked second in the overall TBSL results, and Clothier finished fourth in the league with 268 points. Katie Sears rounded out the South Tahoe’s spots in the top 10 with a seventh-place finish (250) in individual league standings.

Whittell’s Danica Bunnett captured sixth (259) in overall league standings.

“I was really proud with how we ended the season,” Kelly said. “We had a lot of kids who this was their first year ski racing and they all showed tremendous improvement.”

Ski Season Recap

TBSL individual final standings


GW Michael Gardner 303

ST Maia Bickert 272

NT Jessica Tidd 272

ST Mikaela Clothier 268

IHS Hannah Laurie 266

GW Danica Bunnett 259

ST Katie Sears 250

NT Bohzie Pokorney 248

NT Johanna Gur 242

NT Nicole Marinoff 229


ST Connor McKeen 294

TT Colin Gerrard 257

ST Jason Elder 244

ST Chad Kassamani 235

ST Austin Allen 230

DHS Grant Dunkelman 227

NT Nico Monforte 223

TT Wes Harrington 215

NT Drew Austin 214

NT Harrison Goss 211

TBSL Team final standings

Team Girls Boys

1 ST 1 NT 1 ST

2 NT 2 ST 2 TT

3 TT 3 TT 3 NT

4 DHS 4 GW 4 DHS

5 GW 5 DHS 5 GW

6 CHS 6 CHS (tie) 6 CHS

7 IHS 6 IHS (tie) 7 IHS

NIAA Division 1-A State Championships, Feb. 25

Giant Slalom Individual Results

Girls Boys

NT Francesca English NT Garrett Driller

ST Maia Bickert TT Scott Lebel

TT Mo Lebel GW Houston Norton

GW Michael Gardner ST Connor McKeen

TT Sabrina Futrol TT Nico Kuyper

Giant Slalom Team Results

Girls Boys

NT 109 ST 107

TT 98 NT 105

ST 92 TT 102

NIAA Division 1-A State Championships, Feb. 26

Slalom Dual Results

Girls Boys

GW Michael Gardner NT Garrett Driller

NT Francesca English ST Alec Jobbins

ST Mikaela Clothier TT Scott Lebel

TT Mo Lebel ST Connor McKeen

ST Maia Bickert TT Wes Harrington

ST Katie Sears NT Lucas Earley

NT Bohzie Pokorney TT Nico Kuyper

TT Sabrina Futrol IHS Kyle Reeves

Slalom Team Results

Girls Boys

ST 97 TT 97

NT 90 ST 94

TT 88 NT 79

NIAA Division 1-A State Championships Combined, Feb. 25-26

Girls Boys

NT 199 ST 201

ST 189 TT 199

TT 186 NT 184

Girls Combined Boys Combined

NT Francesca English NT Garrett Driller

GW Michael Gardner TT Scott Lebel

TT Mo Lebel ST Connor McKeen

ST Maia Bickert ST Alec Jobbins

TT Sabrina Futrol TT Nico Kuyper

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