South Shore schools have eyes on ski title today |

South Shore schools have eyes on ski title today

Matt O'Neill

This what is all comes down to.

The Tahoe Basin Ski League championships will decide the top individual competitors for the alpine season.

Both South Tahoe High and Whittell have a good chance of taking home individual titles when the schools hit the slopes today at Alpine Meadows.

Ben Johnson, Sean Weatherston, Brett Schussel, and James Rostello head the Warrior hopes, while the Vikings’ best chance is Chris McKean, Toby O’Brien for the boys.

As many as six girls for the Vikings have a chance to finish high with freshman Kylese Zaiger being the odds-on favorite.

“If I had to predict the race, I would say Chris will take the boy’s race and Kylese the girls,” Viking coach Mike Shreve said.

However, Johnson is coming off his best race of the season last week when he finished second at the regular season ending event at Kirkwood last Wednesday and Weatherston is returning from a Far West event and has routinely finished in the top- ten.

“Sean and Ben have the experience to win,” Warrior coach Mike Kiger said. “Brett and James also have a great chance to break into the top 16.”

All the competitors will run qualifying races in the morning, but only the top 16 will make the championship runs in the afternoon, which could make for an interesting morning, considering the sloppy conditions expected today with the warm storm hitting the basin.

“When two-thirds of the field becomes spectators after the first run, it’s important to have a perfect run,” Shreve said. “On a short course the kids have to ski fast early on and any error will be magnified at the bottom.

“They have to ski flawlessly.”

On thing that will be affecting all the competitors is the course itself.

“Obviously it will be a problem,” Kiger said. “But, it’s going to be the same for everyone so we can’t really worry about it too much.”

While the top South Tahoe girl skiers are not making the trip, there are still a group who could join Zaiger in the finals.

Casey Rise, Shayna Gianelli, Kristin Royce, Grace Harding and Lauren Bachelder can all make some noise, but it is Royce who has the best chance.

“Kristin could be a surprise,” Shreve said. “She’s a long shot, but still has the most potential to make it as well.”

For the Warrior girls consistency has been the story for most of the year. Throughout the season, they have been bunched in the lower 20s in many of the races.

Led by Ashley Daw and Jannette Bak, as many as three or four could slip into the to 16 today.

“For most of them it’s all new,” Kiger said. “It would be nice to get one or two of them into the finals.”

The format for today’s races is duals, which is a departure for the slaloms of the regular season.

The different style will force the racers to have a different approach to racing today.

“I’ve just told them that they don’t have to worry about scoring points,” Kiger said. “They don’t have to worry about the team, just go all out and ski as fast they can.”

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