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South Tahoe’s Thomas advances to final 8

Jeremy Evans

The final Tahoe Basin Ski League race of the season wasn’t the most glorious day for the South Shore. But South Tahoe’s Areina Thomas did her best to represent the area well.

The Vikings’ Thomas finished fifth in preliminary qualifying, then won her second-round match before being eliminated in the quarterfinals on Tuesday at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort.

Thomas was the only South Shore racer to get past the second round. Whittell’s Natalie Rastello and Meri Johnson both qualified for the second round but lost in the round of 16. In qualifying, Rastello finished 14th and Johnson 16th, but both didn’t advance after they were pitted against two of top three racers in qualifying.



“I think I could’ve done a little bit better,” Rastello said. “I just didn’t get it going on that first run, which kind of screwed me up later on. But the girl I lost to was pretty good.”

More than 75 racers from around the basin competed in the event, with the top 16 boys and girls advancing to a second round that began the single-elimination, dual slalom format for the final stages. During the head-to-head portion, athletes went against each other twice and the skier with the largest margin of victory in either of the two races advanced to the next round.



Truckee’s Brandy Barna, who defeated Johnson in the second round, won the girls’ title and was followed by Douglas’ Brittany Cotter, North Tahoe’s Mia Eriksson and Mateja Lane. Cotter was responsible for knocking Rastello out of the competition.

“I think they were both excited with that,” said Whittell co-coach Lindsay Wines. “Natalie has been performing well all year and Meri has really been coming on lately. It didn’t surprise me at all that both of them made it out of the qualifying round.”

In the boys’ division, Incline’s Shawn Higgins finished in first place. He was followed by North Tahoe’s Adam Henriques and Incline’s Joey Markham.

In the qualifying round, South Tahoe’s Kyle Sullivan finished in 19th place, three spots from advancing, and Whittell’s Jeremy Worley ended up 22nd. In girls’ qualifying, the Vikings’ Laura Vogelgesang came in 19th place and Whittell’s Danielle Daly also placed 22nd.


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