Heavenly slalom skiers out of gate ahead for season
The Heavenly Ski Foundation team members and coaches couldn’t be happier.
Three first-place finishes and nine other top-10 placements were captured by Heavenly racers at Alpine Meadows over the weekend, as they competed in the first slalom of the season in the Tahoe League Race Series.
Hayden Fulstone and Keston Denny won the boys 12- and 13-year-old divisions by several seconds. Both Fulstone and Denny used a cross-block technique in which they hit gates out of their path to take a faster and tighter line down the course.
“The course was very rhythmical and had several combinations (flushes and hairpins), which require fast footwork and setting up for the turns coming out of them. Those who inspected the course well knew where to let the skis run and where to be conservative. And I believe our team did that,” said Coach Raquel Norton of the Heavenly Ski Foundation.
Fulstone and Denny’s teammate, Steven Gaughn, followed with a fifth-place showing.
The girls had a strong showing as well in the 13-year-old class division. Heavenly’s top finisher was Katie Harding in third, followed by Lacey Leonard in sixth. Katie Killebrew had a solid first run and was also a medal contender until she missed a gate, disqualifying her from the race.
Garth Alling, Heavenly coach of 7-8 boys, was ecstatic.
“All my athletes were consistent and placed in the top eight. They worked hard and it shows,” he said.
Austin Norton was in first place in the 7-8 boys division after the first run, followed by teammate Justin Smaine, who was in second. Both geared up for the second run, but it was Justin Smaine who prevailed. Smaine smoked his second run, winning the run by more than two seconds to take first place overall, bumping Norton to second place.
Heavenly teammate Dillon Mckeen had a strong showing with a sixth-place finish, followed by Luca Genasci, who was seventh, and Grant Denny, eighth. In the boy’s 9-10 age category, Heavenly had only one competitor, Adam Laub, who placed a respectable 11th. In the girls 7-8 division, it was Adam’s sister, Rachel Laub, who took the top finish, placing seventh; and on her heels was Aimee Pitcher, who placed ninth; and Kelly McLaughlin, 17th. Heavenly Ski Foundation team members travel to their next Tahoe League Race Series event Saturday and Sunday at Diamond Peak in Incline Village.
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Athletes from across the globe will make their way into the National Stadium in Beijing, China, next month for the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.