Returning class should make it smooth skating for Vikings
Six returning males and five females should help the South Tahoe High Nordic team adjust to a new schedule format.
In past years South Tahoe repeatedly competed against the three other teams in the South Division. This winter, the Vikings will only face their Southern counterparts twice, while five events will include all the teams comprising the North and South divisions.
Going into Friday’s season-opening race at Kirkwood, the Vikings welcome back Denise Bogard, Nicole Fruitman, Mendy Manglinong, Lisa Orr and Nicole Smith on the girls side, while Tom Luerken, Cory Martin, Dan Matzinger, Ryan Nibouar, Connor Robinson and Josh Zion are back for the boys.
“I’m tentative to say how we’ll do this season,” said Viking coach Lynn Harriman. “I would like to see them dedicate themselves more and see them work a little harder in practice, but they are a great bunch of kids.”
Because of the early arrival of snow, the Vikings have been working out on snow for the past three weeks. However, Harriman says their training course and the quality of snow have been less than ideal.
“We were having trouble finding a place to ski. We’ve been skiing on snowmobile track to Fallen Leaf Lake for the past three weeks,” Harriman said.
Before slipping into their skis, STHS’s dryland program included running and pole bounding. In the latter exercise, skiers emulate the classic technique using poles while running uphill.
A newcomer with the potential to make an immediate impact is freshman Jeff Koeck.
“He works super hard, comes in in great shape and has a real positive attitude,” Harriman said.
With their good turnout Harriman believes the Vikings can improve upon last year’s second-place standing in the South Division.
“It would be nice to take first this year, and with 19 skiers it could be possible,” Harriman said.
The second-year coach skied for STHS, was a three-time Junior Olympian and competed collegiately at the University of Alaska-Anchorage. An accommodating boss has made it easy for the Tahoe Fracture Clinic employee to share her knowledge with the teen-agers.
“Trying to work and coach at the same is difficult, but I’m lucky I work for a great doctor who lets me take the time off,” she said.
Friday’s classic race at Kirkwood starts at 11 a.m.
“It’s easy to ski on classic snowmobile tracks. When they get to the machine-groomed track, it will be such a nice surprise and such a good feeling after skiing in less than perfect conditions,” Harriman said.
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