South Tahoe nordic ski wraps up season at CNISSF State Championships |

South Tahoe nordic ski wraps up season at CNISSF State Championships

Anthony Gentile
South Tahoe skier Orion Maxwell strides out from the start of the classic race during the CNISSF State Championships at Auburn Ski Club. Maxwell was the Vikings’ top skier at the championships.
Courtesy Ross Kovac |

SODA SPRINGS, Calif. — It took until the last race of the season, but the South Tahoe nordic ski team finally had the chance to compete on fresh snow during the CNISSF State Championships on Feb. 28. Both Vikings’ teams brought the 2014-15 season to an end by placing fourth overall in the pursuit race held at Auburn Ski Club.

“They skied well and they certainly enjoyed having the fresh new snow — that made it nice,” Vikings head coach Mark Hoefer said.

The state championship pursuit race was split into two 4-kilometer races — classic followed by skate — with a break in between. Skiers in the skate race began in intervals based on their time in the classic race, and the order of finish following the second race produced the final result.

Eight inches of fresh snow greeted South Tahoe on race day, the most it had seen all season. The precipitation allowed the Vikings to use hard wax for the first time in two year, and made the course challenging early on while lowering visibility.

“Once the race got started, it was snowing hard enough that it made it tricky and the tracks started to fill in a little bit,” Hoefer said.

In the boys race, South Tahoe finished in fourth place with 128 points — North Tahoe won the state title with 234 points, Mammoth took second and Truckee came in third. Lakers skier Dylan Syben won the race with a time of 26:01.9 — he rallied in the skate race after taking second in the classic race.

Orion Maxwell was South Tahoe’s top finisher at Auburn Ski Club — he placed 12th with a time of 30:44.2. Maxwell finished 14th in each discipline.

Paul Hoefer came in next for the Vikings, placing 19th with a time of 33:31.7. Maxwell (sixth) and Hoefer (10th) each finished top 10 in overall points for the season.

Daniel Sandborn (22nd, 34:56.9) and Kyle Ferguson (35:35.0) also earned points for South Tahoe at the state championships. Freeman George (26th), Mario Mangiaracina (27th), Paul Mutz (29th), Chase Stalter (30th) and Max Morgan (40th) rounded out the Vikings’ varsity contingent.

On the girls side, South Tahoe came in fourth place with 91 points — Truckee won the state title with 172 points, six points ahead of Sugar Bowl Academy and 17 points in front of North Tahoe. Sugar Bowl’s Hannah Halvorsen won the race by skiing a 29:28.3, the 11th-best overall time.

Ally Swain was the Vikings’ fastest finisher at Auburn Ski Club, placing 17th by skiing a 37:58.2 — she was 19th after the classic race. Tatum Whatford checked in two spots behind Swain, finishing with a time of 40:20.3.

“It was a little bit of a switch up there — Tatum came back and had a strong finish to her season,” Hoefer said.

Cara Filce (22nd, 40:56.6) and Jessie Brown (27th, 44:21.4) also earned points for South Tahoe at the state championships. Kylee Lyons (31st) and Emma Sower (45th) rounded out the Vikings’ varsity group.

In the boys junior varsity division, David Holmes led the way for South Tahoe — he took seventh in the division and 34th overall with a time of 38:46.3. Charlie Filce, Matthew Barnett, Dillon Lemons, Dillon King, JP Embry and Ben Sherwin also raced JV for the Vikings — on the season, Charlie Filce finished ninth overall while Lemons took 10th in his first year skiing.

In the girls JV division, Grace Rosburg was the Vikings’ top finisher — she took 15th in the division and 36th overall by skiing a 50:13.0. Kerry Norton, Skylyn Brock, Theresa Sandborn and Sio Cook also raced junior varsity for STHS.

The state championships brought South Tahoe’s campaign to an end and produced similar results to the regular season. The Vikings girls came in fourth overall during the season while STHS’ boys took fifth.

“We had a mix of kids at all sorts of different levels — some were skiing competitively for the first time, and then we had our stronger skiers,” Hoefer said. “All of those skiers showed good improvement throughout the season — despite the little amount of snow that we had, they kept a positive attitude and were positive at all the practices.”

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