Freshman Koeck leads STHS Nordic racers
Though faced with ‘exceptional’ competition at Friday’s Relay Classic Race at Kirkwood, both the South Tahoe High boys and girls Nordic ski squads fared well and showed promise for the future.
The Vikings’ No. 1 boys team placed 14th out of 22 teams, paced by racers Tom Leurkin (27 minutes, 22 seconds), Jeff Koeck (26:56) and Dan Matzinger (28:25). South Tahoe’s No. 2 team did not finish the race due to an injured skier in the anchor leg.
South Tahoe coach Lynn Harriman said she was pleased with the efforts of all her skiers, especially Koeck, an underclassman who is new to the sport.
“He’s a freshman and he’s just learning to ski,” Harriman said. “He was our top finisher [at Kirkwood], which says a lot about the future of our team.”
On the girls side, the Vikings’ No. 1 team placed eighth, while the No. 2 squad finished last in the 11-team field. South Tahoe’s No. 1 team featured racers Nicole Fruitman (29:59), Mindy Manglinong (31:12) and anchor Lisa Orr (35:52).
Harriman noted a dramatic improvement in the performance of Manglinong, a junior.
“I’m really happy with Mindy Manglinong,” Harriman said. “She has really improved her skiing. Her conditioning is excellent and I am looking for great things from her this year.”
The Vikings’ No. 2 team – Shauna Rogers (47:51), Marin St. Michele (36:00) and Jenna Kramer (48:38) – have all taken up the sport within the past three weeks. Harriman said she was pleased that all three first-time skiers finished the course.
The relay races featured three-person teams, with each skier completing approximately a 5-kilometer leg on the Nordic layout. The race attracted teams from all over the region – the foothills to the west (Nevada Union), the Bay Area (Marin Academy) and the mountains to the south (Mammoth) – and included several members of the U.S. Junior Olympic ski teams.
“None of our kids should feel bad about losing to schools like North Tahoe and Truckee,” Harriman said. “They have some really fast skiers and are always stiff competition.”
Overall, the Nevada Union boys team placed first, led by top finisher Ian Case’s 20:04 time. The Truckee and North Tahoe No. 2 teams rounded out the top three. The North Tahoe No. 1 girls team finished first, followed by the No. 1 teams for Truckee and Mammoth at second and third, respectively. Lee Vining skier Jessica Ford notched the fastest time for the girls with a 24:43 mark.
Several area middle schools competed in Friday’s relay, running the race in three 2.5-kilometer legs. On the girls side, Sierra Mountain No. 2 finished first, followed by Mammoth Mountain No. 1 second, Sierra Mountain No. 1 third and South Tahoe seventh. On the boys side, Sierra Mountain No. 2 captured first, with Mammoth Mountain No. 1 second and Mammoth Mountain No. 3 third. The South Tahoe boys fielded four teams, finishing ninth, 10th, 14th and 17th overall.
The South Tahoe high school teams compete again Jan. 8 in the Classic Race at Incline Valley’s Diamond Peak. Racing starts at 10:30 a.m.
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