South Tahoe nordic ski races in Truckee Sprints, skates at Sugar Bowl
SODA SPRINGS, Calif. — A lack of snow again moved the CNISSF Truckee Sprints to Auburn Ski Club, where a challenging course awaited the South Tahoe nordic ski team last Friday. The Vikings’ girls placed fourth and STHS’ boys took fifth in the race, highlighted by semifinal appearances from senior Ally Swain and junior Orion Maxwell.
On the girls side, Swain finished ninth overall after advancing to the semifinals — she skied a 2:12.9 in time trials. Tatum Whatford (14th, 2:20.5), Cara Filce (19th, 2:29.5), Jessie Brown (20th, 2:33.1) and Kylee Lyons (21st, 2:33.1) each advanced to the quarterfinals — in her quarterfinal race, Brown started strong but was slowed down after getting stuck behind overall champion Hannah Halvorsen of Sugar Bowl Academy in the downhill.
“They all seemed to be skating really well,” Vikings coach Paul Hoefer said.
Eleven girls raced for South Tahoe at the Truckee sprints. Kerry Norton (34th, 2:58.0), Emma Sower (39th, 3:14.6), Grace Rosburg (44th, 3:45.4), Skylyn Brock (47th, 3:59.6), Sio Cook (48th, 4:26.2) and Theresa Sandborn (50th, 5:11.1) rounded out the Vikings’ contingent.
In the boys race, Maxwell placed 12th overall after reaching the semifinals — in time trials he skied a 1:23.9. Kyle Ferguson (14th, 1:14.3), Paul Hoefer (16th, 1:24.2), Mario Mangiaracina (21st, 1:32.7), Chase Stalter (22nd, 1:35.7) and Freeman George (24th, 1:43.5) each advanced as far as the quarterfinals — a timing error during boys’ time trials led to a lengthy delay and potentially skewed results.
Fourteen Vikings competed in the boys race. Max Morgan (35th, 1:54.5), Matthew Barnett (36th, 1:58.0), Paul Mutz (37th, 1:58.9), Charlie Filce (38th, 1:59.0), Dillon King (39th, 1:59.3), Daniel Sandborn (40th, 2:01.0) finished close in time trials while JP Embry (44th, 2:07.7), Dillon Lemons (46th, 2:10.5) and David Holmes (50th, 2:15.4) completed the group. Sam Zabell of Sugar Bowl Academy won the overall title.
High school racers didn’t start until 3 p.m. and skied on snow that began as mush and became more packed as the race went along. The 1-kilometer loop featured a stretch at the beginning that resembled more of a giant slalom course.
“It was a very tricky course — it was a little bit icy in some sections and skiers from various teams were blowing out of the track,” Hoefer said. “We didn’t end up with any injuries, but there were some skiers that went off course.”
For the sprints, racers were seeded based on results from the previous two races then skated the loop to get a qualifying time. From there, the top 30 were divided into heats of six in the quarterfinals, 12 made the semifinals and the finals consisted of six skiers.
A week earlier, South Tahoe competed in its first skate race of the season, held at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort in Truckee on Jan. 17. The Vikings’ girls took fourth and STHS’ boys placed fifth while making their debut in the discipline.
“We were a little behind on the tempo side — we need to pick up our race tempo,” Hoefer said. “Other teams seem to have a little bit quicker turnover with their skate technique and we’re chasing that.”
A big course at Sugar Bowl featured a downhill into a flat section near Lake Van Norden, followed by small climbs, technical turns and a 150-yard climb to the finish. A steady light rain throughout the day made the course’s snow mush by the end of the event.
Swain led South Tahoe in the girls race with a 13th-place finish — she skied a 14:47.02. Whatford (19th, 15:52.02) was the Vikings’ only other varsity racer — Rosburg, Cook, Brock and Theresa Sandborn all competed in the open race.
The Vikings’ girls team scored 130 points at the event, 62 behind third-place North Tahoe. Sugar Bowl won the race, led by a first-place finish from Halvorsen.
On the boys side, Maxwell was South Tahoe’s top finishe, placing 11th with a time of 13:39.61. Zabell won the race by skiing an 11:51.98.
Daniel Sandborn finished eight spots behind Maxwell with a time of 15:22.98, while George (21st, 16:05.23) and Ferguson (16:05.95) also scored for South Tahoe. The Vikings finished with 107 points, 32 behind fourth-place Truckee — Sugar Bowl won the event with a score of 206.
Mangiaracina (27th, 16:20.14) rounded out the South Tahoe varsity contingent. King, Holmes, Embry, Charlie Filce and Lemons all raced in the open division for the Vikings.
“Except for being a lean team because of people being out due to illness, we fell about in the same placing,” Hoefer said. “Some of our beginning skiers are beginning to show improvement in their techniques and are moving up.”
South Tahoe returned to action Friday, when it hosted a relay race at Kirkwood Mountain Resort. Next Friday, the Vikings travel to Mammoth Mountain for a race at Tamarack XC Ski Center.
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