Area Teams prep for Heavenly TBL championships |

Area Teams prep for Heavenly TBL championships

They better hurry up before all the snow melts …

The South Tahoe and Whittell prep Alpine ski teams will wind up their seasons today in the Tahoe Basin League championships beginning at 10 a.m. at Heavenly Ski Resort.

Preliminary races will start in the morning. During these heats, the 48-skier field for the boys and girls will be pared down by two-thirds to 16 for the afternoon finals. The final round will feature a dual slalom single- elimination format, pitting racers against one another until a champion is crowned.

Place points will be awarded in reverse order of finish; only the scores of the top 16 racers will help determine the overall team standings. Heading into the season finale, North Tahoe leads the overall team standings, followed by Truckee in second and the Vikings in third.

Though one would have to look at North Shore stalwarts North Tahoe and Truckee as the prohibitive favorites, South Tahoe has proven itself to be up to the challenge of winning the big race.

“We have a full roster, nobody has to go out of town and everybody’s really excited to be here,” said South Tahoe coach Mike Shreve. “Most definitely, we have a good shot to win the race. But our skiers will have to do well in the morning if they want to see any action in the afternoon.”

If the Vikings are to take home the TBL crown, they will have to get enough top-16 performances from racers in the morning prelims to score enough points for the title.

Expected to lead the way for South Tahoe will be racers Cory Harris, Danny Lear and Jon McKean on the boys side, while Christie Higman, Amelia Edwards and Dianna Higman will likely rule the roost for the Viking girls.

Though Whittell may not have the firepower to match toe-to-toe with North Taheo and Truckee, the Warriors could surprise a few schools today. Freshman Ben Johnson continues to prove himself as one of the South Shore’s top youth downhill skiers, most recently scoring a sixth-place finish at a TBL race at Alpine Meadows. Though the Warriors lack the depth to win the boys title, Johnson is a definite threat for a top- five finish.

For the Whittell girls, Corky Novotny is the one to watch. A veteran Far West skier, Novotny is consistently among the top finishers for the Warriors and can break off a winning run at any moment.

Whittell coach Mike Kiger could not be reached for comment for this story.

The 1998-99 High School Alpine schedule welcomed its newest addition to its six-team league. The South Tahoe team, despite frequent competition absences from some of its top-tier skiers, established itself as one of the league’s elite squads.

“I’m glad that we joined the league. I know we needed it to keep that (competitive) edge going,” Shreve said. “The TBL had done exactly that for us.”

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