South Tahoe Nordic ski wraps up season at CNISSF State Championships; Maxwell, Swain deliver top results |

South Tahoe Nordic ski wraps up season at CNISSF State Championships; Maxwell, Swain deliver top results

Anthony Gentile
The South Tahoe Nordic ski team competed in the CNISSF State Championships last Saturday, Feb. 27, at Auburn Ski Club.
Courtesy Photo |

SODA SPRINGS, Calif. — The South Tahoe Nordic ski team brought its season to a close at the CNISSF State Championships last Saturday, Feb. 27, at Auburn Ski Club. In the season finale, the Vikings matched their league results — the boys team placed fifth while the girls team took sixth.

“We had an awesome season,” Vikings coach Mark Hoefer said. “It was great to actually have strong snow conditions throughout the season for both racing and training. The team was able to show improvement from beginning to end.”

Conditions for state championships last Saturday were perfect — for spectators. Clear blue skies, light wind and temperatures in the 50s by the early afternoon made for wet, sloppy snow that led to tough skiing.

Auburn Ski Club’s classic and freestyle courses are both very hilly with a number of ups and downs, and neither provides much in terms of recovery time. The event began with a mass start classic race in the morning contested on a 3-kilometer loop.

After a break, the state championship resumed in the afternoon with a two-loop freestyle race that totaled approximately 4 kilometers. Starting position in the second race was determined by results in the morning’s classic event, with the fastest classic skier heading out first — final results were where each skier crossed the finish line in the afternoon.

In the boys event, Sugar Bowl Academy’s Haydn Halvorsen won the state title with a time of 18:52.0. Halvorsen edged North Tahoe’s Dylan Syben, who came in second with a time of 18:52.7.

For South Tahoe, senior Orion Maxwell delivered the team’s top performance. Maxwell took 16th with a time of 22:45.8 after finishing the classic portion with a time of 9:15.16.

Senior Paul Hoefer was the Vikings’ next-best skier at state championships. He finished 21st with a time of 24:44.2.

“Orion and Paul were the team’s co-captains this season, and they have been pushing each other since they started skiing with coach Beth for the middle school,” Hoefer said. “I was very happy to see them finish out the season so strong.”

Seniors Daniel Sandborn (22nd, 24:47.7) and Mario Mangiaracina (23rd, 25:11.3) crossed the finish line just behind Hoefer while junior Kyle Ferguson (26th, 25:46.1), freshman Christopher Hoefer (27th, 26:02.3) and freshman Ryan Newberger (28th, 26:09.3) each finished in close quarters. Sophomore David Holmes, senior Chase Stalter, senior Paul Mutz and junior Max Morgan rounded out South Tahoe’s varsity contingent.

“It was good to have the rest of the team well bunched up as they came into the finish,” Hoefer said.

On the girls side, Truckee’s Lizzie Larkins outlasted the field to deliver the state championship with a time of 22:55.7. North Tahoe’s Quinn Lehmkuhl finished as runner-up by skiing a 23:03.5.

The Vikings were led by senior Ally Swain, who finished 20th by skiing a 29:14.2. Sophomore Jessie Brown (23rd, 32:18.3) and senior Kylee Lyons (24th, 33:34.6) also competed in the varsity race for South Tahoe.

In the JV boys race, junior Charlie Filce led South Tahoe with a 12th-place finish and a time of 29:20 while freshman Forrest McCann, junior JP Embry, junior Matthew Barnett and junior Ben Sherwin also skied for the Vikings. In the girls JV event, sophomore Theresa Sandborn finished 10th for STHS with a time of 35:46 and completed the course along with freshman Emily Dilts, freshman Clarice Ferguson and junior Sio Cook.

“There are seven super seniors that will be graduating this year and those will be hard boots to fill,” Hoefer said. “I have known most of these athletes since middle school, and it is very hard to see them race in their last competition as Vikings.

“But looking at the entire team and knowing there are some strong skiers coming up from the middle school, I know we will have good competitive skiers representing the South Tahoe Nordic ski program for the coming years.”

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