South Tahoe Nordic ski team races at Truckee Sprints, Swain makes semifinals |

South Tahoe Nordic ski team races at Truckee Sprints, Swain makes semifinals

Anthony Gentile
South Tahoe senior Orion Maxwell skates hard into the first turn during the CNISSF Truckee Sprints on Friday, Jan. 22, at Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area.
Courtesy / Mark Hoefer |

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The South Tahoe Nordic ski team competed for the second time during the 2015-16 season last Friday, Jan. 22, and continued to take strides forward. The Vikings raced in the CNISSF Truckee Sprints at Tahoe Donner Cross Country Ski Area, led by a semifinal appearance from senior Ally Swain.

“They are really starting to pick up their tempo and skate well through the entire event,” Vikings coach Mark Hoefer said. “We are training hard in preparation for our next race.”

The event was moved from Truckee High to Tahoe Donner, and took place on a 1.2-kilometer loop. Rain peppered the course throughout the day, and made for slow snow during parts of the sprint race.

Skiers began Friday’s event with a time trial loop around the course, with racers starting 15 seconds apart. The top 36 boys and girls skiers based on time moved into six quarterfinal races, with the top two from each heat advancing to the semifinals.

In each semifinal race, the three best moved onto the finals. North Tahoe’s Dylan Syben won the boys event while Sugar Bowl’s Kianna Mullings took home the girls title. The top six spots were determined by the final races with the remainder based on each racer’s original time trial marks.

Swain delivered South Tahoe’s top performance of the event, advancing to the semifinals on the girls side after a second-place ski in her quarterfinal heat. In the semis, Swain missed out on the finals and placed 13th — she skied a 3:47.7 in the time trial.

“Ally looked strong in her quarterfinal race despite the fact she had been battling a cold most of the week,” Hoefer said.

Sophomore Jessie Brown made it to the quarterfinals last Friday, eventually finishing 19th. Brown turned in a time of 4:11.8 in the time trial.

South Tahoe’s boys team sent six skiers to the quarterfinals, led by senior Orion Maxwell. Maxwell just missed the semifinals with a third-place finish in his heat, and finished 16th after skiing a 3:01.6 in the time trial — he moved into a slower lane prior to the start of the race.

“I was super proud of Orion for making the move, because it didn’t look like the skier from the other school was going to do it,” Hoefer said. “Having a team of athletes that are not only super competitive but also want to represent the Vikings with great sportsmanship is what makes coaching them that much greater.”

Senior Mario Mangiaracina (21st), senior Paul Hoefer (22nd), junior Kyle Ferguson (25th), senior Daniel Sandborn (26th) and senior Chase Stalter (29th) were the Vikings’ other quarterfinalists in the boys’ race. Sophomore David Holmes, freshman Christopher Hoefer, senior Paul Mutz and junior Max Morgan also raced for South Tahoe.

“Even though we did not end up with a skier in the finals, I was excited to see the girls and boys back out on the snow racing after having to miss the previous week’s race due to a snow day,” Hoefer said.

South Tahoe was unable to race at the Sugar Bowl Freestyle event Jan. 15 due to transportation issues after school was canceled. The Vikings return to racing Feb. 5 for the 5-kilometer CNISSF Mammoth Classic at Mammoth Mountain’s Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center.

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