South Tahoe nordic ski readies for state championships
The South Tahoe nordic ski team is showing continued improvement coming down the home stretch of its 2014-15 season. The Vikings made their last push prior to the CNISSF State Championships with three events in the past three weeks — the North Tahoe Pursuit Race, Mammoth Classic and Scott Hudson Retro Relays.
Last Friday, South Tahoe raced in the CNISSF North Tahoe Pursuit race. For the Vikings, a top-10 finish from Orion Maxwell highlighted the event held at Auburn Ski Club — racers skied the first third of the 6k race with classic skis before switching to skate skis for the last two-thirds.
Maxwell took eighth overall in the boys race, skiing a 20:27.0. Paul Hoefer was the Vikings’ next best finisher, placing 13th with a time of 21:59.7.
At Auburn Ski Club, STHS’ Kyle Ferguson (15th, 22:34.6) and Chase Stalter (16th, 23:26.7) also earned points for the team. Daniel Sandborn, Paul Mutz, Freeman George and Max Morgan completed South Tahoe’s eight-skier group.
On the girls side, Ally Swain led the way with a time of 27:13.8 to finish 15th overall. Cara Filce (16th, 27:48.2), Kylee Lyons (18th, 29:53.4) and Jessie Brown (30:14.9) also earned points for the Vikings.
The Vikings had 10 skiers in the junior varsity races last Friday. South Tahoe’s fastest JV boys skier was Charlie Filce (eighth, 25:45.5) while its top JV girls racer was Grace Rosburg (17th, 35:16.6).
A week earlier, South Tahoe delivered a strong performance at the CNISSF Mammoth Classic. The Vikings’ boys placed second and the STHS girls took third in the race held at Mammoth Mountain’s Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center on Feb. 6.
“I divided my teams up and tried to balance them more,” Vikings head coach Mark Hoefer said. “I took my top skiers and put them with the newer skiers so they would all get a chance to ski together.”
The classic race took place on a 6k point-to-point course that required skiers to climb approximately two kilometers to the start line. Wind and a tough course made for a challenging event — much of the race took place 9,000 feet above sea level.
South Tahoe’s boys team earned 140 points at Mammoth Mountain to take second place, 14 points behind host Mammoth. The Vikings were led by Maxwell, who took sixth overall with a time of 20:14.3.
Paul Hoefer was the Vikings’ next fastest finisher, placing eighth by skiing a 21:14.1. Mario Mangiaracina and Sandborn also earned points for South Tahoe — they tied for ninth with identical times of 21:19.4.
Nine STHS skiers raced in the Mammoth Classic boys race. That group included Stalter (11th, 21:50.2), Ferguson (13th, 22:10.6), Mutz (15th, 23:24.4), George (16th, 23:54.4) and Morgan (17th, 24:34.1).
On the girls side, South Tahoe earned 126 points and finished third. Truckee won the event with 208 points, eight points ahead of second-place North Tahoe.
Cara Filce was the Vikings’ top finisher at Tamarack XC, taking 14th by skiing a 25:18.4. South Tahoe skiers occupied the next three spots behind Filce — Tatum Whatford skied a 26:02.1, Lyons had a time of 27:32.6 and Brown finished in 27:43.8.
In junior varsity competition, nine South Tahoe skiers competed at Mammoth. Dillon Lemons (sixth, 23:15.1) was the Vikings’ top skier on the boys side, and Rosburg (12th, 30:20.5) finished fastest amongst STHS’ JV girls.
On Friday, Jan. 30, the Vikings skied in a fun event to celebrate the memory of a former coach. South Tahoe hosted the annual Scott Hudson Retro Relays at Kirkwood Mountain Resort.
“It was low key and we got to have fun — there was good weather and everybody had a good time,” Mark Hoefer said.
The event celebrates Hudson, a former South Tahoe nordic ski coach who passed away from cancer in 2011. While coaching the team in the early 2000s, Hudson’s motto was “Go For It — But Have Fun” and the race embodied that message with competition and costumed skiers — Incline and Nevada Union also participated in the event.
“He always wanted to have a strong team, but the No. 1 thing was making sure that those kids that were coming out for the sport had a good time, learned during the season and went for it — pushed it hard,” Mark Hoefer said. “He was always out skiing with the kids and helping them with their technique.”
Racers were split up into four-person teams at the relays — two boys and two girls — with each skier covering nearly three kilometers in the freestyle technique. Incline produced the winning team, finishing with a time of 35:16.
The top South Tahoe team finished third overall, and featured Ferguson, Brown, Kerry Norton and Matthew Barnett. That quartet completed the race in 38:20.
The Vikings’ team of Whatford, Lemons, Mangiaracina and Skylyn Brock took fourth place by skiing a 39:42.
The grouping of Paul Hoefer, Rosburg, Lyons and Ben Sherwin came in sixth with a time of 41:06, with the team of George, Morgan, Dillon King and a Nevada Union skier finishing seven seconds behind in seventh.
South Tahoe concludes its season Saturday, Feb. 28 in the CNISSF State Championship at Auburn Ski Club. The state title race will involve both disciplines.
“We’ve got two weeks to work on both events — we’re going to fine tune both of those and really work on both techniques,” Hoefer said. “They really just have to stay motivated and thinking positively about how well they are going to ski at championships.”
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