Ski racing |

Ski racing

by dan thomas

Nothing was unlucky about the 13 racers the Heavenly Ski Foundation took to a pair of USSA J4 and J5 age-division slaloms Saturday and Sunday at Boreal.

In fact, young racers Courtney Carmichael and Kendal Northrup came away with four podium finishes to lead the way for the Foundation racers.

“It’s pretty much a sweep for Courtney in those races, so they’re both looking good for the Cole Cup overall,” Heavenly coach Mark Norton said, in reference to the overall age-group championship points series.

Carmichael blasted to the top of the podium on Saturday, propelling herself to a 1 minute, 18.86 second combined time on the strength of a 37.93 second run. Northrup was second on Saturday, finishing in 1:21.78. Carmichael was even better the second day, finishing in 1:16.27 after a 37.17-second first run – the fastest of the weekend.

“It was wonderful for us,” said Heavenly coach Mark Norton. “We went out with 13 kids, there were about 200 competitors and the hill was steep and soft snow, with big ruts.

Both girls are in position to qualify for a special time-trial race at Diamond Peak in two weeks. The top three racers in the trial make the USSA Western Regional Junior Olympics, where they’ll have a chance to be among the four J4s who make the North American J4 Championships.

Kirkwood’s Erik Sambrailo had a strong weekend, following an eighth-place, 1:28.74 time on Saturday with a third-place 1:24.22 on Sunday. Heavenly racer Marty Harris was third in Saturday’s J4 race, finishing in 1:27.45, and Donnie Little was fourth among J4s Sunday. Kirkwood’s Bryce Wehan was 13th on Saturday. Heavenly’s P.J. Bacon was 10th on Sunday, ahead of Bryce Wehan and Heavenly teammate Harris.

Shelby Hawthorne of Kirkwood was fifth among J5s on Saturday, finishing in 1:34.18, ahead of teammate Brittany Cotter, 10th in 1:36.76. Hawthorne bettered that with a third-place 1:39.96 on Sunday, ahead of teammates Cotter (12th) and Hilary Sanders (14th).

Kyle Smaine was fourth among J5s on Saturday and third on Sunday. In the same class, Kirkwood’s Cory Wehan was 15th on Saturday.

Young Heavenly racers bring medals from North Shore

If the Heavenly Ski Foundation keeps taking most of the medals from the North Lake Tahoe series to the South Shore, its skiers might not be welcome back.

Heavenly’s young skiers continued their strong series at the North Shore developmental Alpine series, winning 34 of the 78 medals available in a slalom race at Diamond Peak on Sunday.

“As one of my guys says, Heavenly pretty much brings a broom and sweeps,” said Foundation coach Mark Dobson.

Heavenly’s Robert Pulford won the boys 8-and-under race in 1 minute, 25.08 seconds, nearly four-and-a-half seconds ahead of second-place teammate Austin Norton. Holly O’Brien was second in the girls 12-and-under class, finishing in 1:12.23. Justin Smaine won the boys 6-and-under division, with a combined time of 1:32.63.

The family ties also stayed strong between the gates for Heavenly. The three Denny brothers – Keston, second in the 12-and-under class, and Grant and Wyatt, second and seventh, respectively in the 6-and-under class – had highlight finishes for Heavenly, as did the two girls and one boy from the Killebrew family (Andrea, fifth U10 girls; Katie, sixth, U12 girls; and Hugh, fourth, U6 boys), the two Manoukian brothers (Charlie, fifth U6, and Jake, eighth U8), and siblings Kelly (second, U6 female) and J.J. (boys U10) McLaughlin.

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