Stocked Vikes claim first TBL win
South Tahoe High Alpine skiing coach Mike Shreve knows his team has the potential to win any race in the Tahoe Basin League. Far West competitions have robbed Shreve of a full arsenal of racers at several earlier events. A well-stocked Viking squad left no doubts Thursday at Heavenly Thursday night, capturing the top overall spot for the first time this season.
“This was the first race that all the teams have their best skiers there, including us,” Shreve said. “When we have our full complement of upper-level skiers, we’re eye to eye with other teams.”
The Vikings outdistanced the field with 339 total team points, followed by North Tahoe at 294 and Truckee at 275. Whittell finished fourth in the six-team field with 259 overall points.
On a course Shreve described as a “demolition derby,” more than 30 girls were unable to finish both runs and nearly a quarter of the boys field was disqualified by crashes.
“When it was all said and done, we had more kids standing up than the others,” said Shreve, whose squad sees its next TBL action Feb. 24 at a giant slalom race at Alpine Meadows. “Our kids skied very well out there.”
South Tahoe racer Chris McKean finished second overall, followed by Jon McKean in seventh place and Cory Harris at 11th. Whittell racers Ben Johnson and Sean Weatherston topped Warrior skiers with ninth and 14th marks, respectively.
The Vikings heavily populated the top 15 on the girls side, as Christine Higman (third), Amelia Edwards (sixth), Beth Kirkland (seventh), Katie Orr (11th) and Toni Toreno (13th) paced STHS to first place. Whittell’s Corky Novotny finished second overall, followed by Mia Thompson at ninth.
After the Alpine Meadows event, the Alpine season will end with the TBL championships at Heavenly on March 2.
“We’re going to lose a lot of seniors, but we have a good layer of underclassmen coming in as well,” Shreve said. “Every season is cyclical. You’re going to lose some and add some. We’re fortunate because we have a tremendous caliber in our underclassmen here.”
Familiarity might breed contempt, but it also breeds consistent performances as far as the South Tahoe High Nordic ski team is concerned.
The Vikings knocked heads with the CIF’s North and South division for the fifth time this season in a 7-kilometer classic race Friday at Spooner Summit. South Tahoe finished fourth in the girls races and fifth in boys in the last event of the regular season.
“Our finish is exactly what I expected it would be,” said STHS coach Lynn Harriman of the Vikes’ showing in the 11-team field. “We placed where we have been all year. It may not be exciting, but we know where we stand against most of these teams.”
In the boys race, Nevada Union skier Zack Violet crossed the finish line first with a 26:53 mark to lead NU to the boys team win. South Tahoe’s top finishers were Cory Martin at 15th, Dan Matzinger at 24th and Ryan Nibouar at 25th.
Lee Vining’s Jessica Ford continued to add more notches to her belt, winning the girls race with 33:31 time. Viking skiers Nicole Fruitman (15th), Mindy Manglinong (18th) and Denise Bogard (19th) rounded out the top 20.
“My skiers kind of move around within the squad,” Harriman said. “It seems like every week there’s someone different in the first position for us.”
North Tahoe claimed first in the girls competition, while Nevada Union dominated the boys races en route to top honors.
Next on the the Vikings’ slate are the state championships Feb. 27 at Auburn Ski Club. South Tahoe will face the exact same field that they competed against at Spooner, … and at four prior races this season.
“I imagine we’ll take fourth and fifth in states, just like we did in this race. I think it’s less stressful because we’ve skied against all the teams five times,” Harriman said. The North and South divisions include North Tahoe Truckee, Incline, among others. “Our skiers have done it before and it’s not quite as stressful in that way.”
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