South Tahoe’s Bickert wins Heavenly duals in last TBSL race
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — Maia Bickert ended her high school skiing career in a familiar place — atop the podium. The South Tahoe senior went out with a first-place finish in the Tahoe Basin Ski League duals race Wednesday at Heavenly Mountain Resort, earning the top girls’ seed in time trials on the way to victory in her last event skiing for the Vikings.
“It’s always so much fun to come back here and race with all my friends,” Bickert said. “It’s a totally different environment — less pressure and a lot more fun — and to come out on top was awesome.”
Bickert earned the top seed in the girls bracket with a 20.37 in time trials — the fastest overall time at Heavenly’s World Cup. She beat Truckee’s Cheyenne Brown in the semifinals before downing second-seeded Anna Yamauchi from Truckee in a competitive final.
“It’s great to see all the kids who haven’t been skiing as much as I have out here — a common liking definitely brings great people together,” Bickert said.
Wednesday’s TBSL event was the second and last of the season for Bickert, and it came two days in advance of her graduation from South Tahoe. Now alumni after graduating a semester early, Bickert will return to the International Ski Federation (FIS) circuit — in four 2015 races she has earned 114.56 FIS points with a best finish of 43rd overall at Snowbird, Utah on Jan. 7.
“I’m pursuing my dreams and going the ski route,” said Bickert, who will race her next FIS event at Spirit Mountain in Minnesota.
Bickert showed her talent and class on the downhill while rolling to victory on Heavenly’s World Cup. Her skiing drew both the admiration of her teammates and the praise of the opposition.
“She went out with a smile and we all went out with tears — she is going onto bigger venues with her skiing,” Vikings coach Kristi Leonard said.
“Maia is a fantastic racer and it’s been a pleasure to watch her race,” Whittell coach Patrick Kelly added. “She has a professional attitude, she’s out there to win every single race and yesterday was a great example of that.”
Bickert’s championship highlighted an overall team win for South Tahoe at Heavenly, which totaled 319 points to beat North Tahoe by 14. The Vikings’ boys and girls teams each finished in second place.
In the boys bracket, South Tahoe junior Alec Jobbins earned the top seed with a 20.40 in time trials. Jobbins advanced all the way to the final — eliminating two teammates in the process — where he lost to North Tahoe’s Harrison Goss, the second seed.
Vikings sophomore Tristan Deatherage just missed the podium with a fourth-place finish. He earned the third seed (21.53) and was beaten by Jobbins in the semifinals before falling to North Tahoe’s Ryan Conner in the third-place race.
South Tahoe freshman Logan Langemeir (ninth seed, 23.75) advanced to the quarterfinals, where he lost to Jobbins. Senior Grant Swift (eighth, 23.01), junior Trenton Leonard (11th, 24.57) and junior Garrett Knudson (15th, 25.94) made it to the second round while senior Bryce Kortge (21st, 28.09) was eliminated in his first race — senior Austin Allen was disqualified in time trials.
On the girls side, all eight South Tahoe skiers made it into the bracket. Senior Mikaela Clothier was the Vikings’ next-best finisher behind Bickert, advancing to the quarterfinals after earning the third seed (21.14).
Three Vikings made were eliminated in the second round Wednesday — ninth-seeded sophomore Rose McDonough (24.82), 10th-seeded freshman Lyndsey Allen (25.21) and 14th-seeded senior Abi Killebrew (26.51). Senior Teagan Grant (20th, 28.38), senior Jade Child (21st, 29.11) and junior Cassie Flynn (22nd, 29.67) were each beaten in the first round.
In the junior varsity boys race, South Tahoe swept the podium. Top-seeded freshman Weston Swift beat second-seeded sophomore Lex Merrifield for the championship, while sixth-seeded sophomore Nick Coolbaugh placed third.
South Tahoe returns to action Monday at Heavenly for the second duals event of the season. Time trials are scheduled to start at 10 a.m.
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