Viking Alpine finishes second with shortage of racers |

Viking Alpine finishes second with shortage of racers

Matt O'Neill

This week’s finals schedule depleted South Tahoe High prep rosters, but that didn’t stop the Viking Alpine ski team from finishing in second place, only one point behind North Tahoe in Wednesday night’s Tahoe Basin Ski League event at Heavenly.

The only thing that stopped the Vikings from winning the event was a late re-run by a Laker skier, which gave North Tahoe the one-point advantage. The NTHS skier was given a second chance when maintenance on the hill interrupted his run.

“We saw him pull out of his run and the North Tahoe coach reached over and shook my hand, congratulating me on the win,” Viking coach Mike Shreve said. “Then we heard that his kid had a chance to run again, and he told me to give him back his handshake.”

STHS was without four key competitors but was helped out with the return of junior Chris McKean from international competition.

“I was real pleased with our performance,” Viking coach Mike Shreve said. “We watched a lot of our potential either crash or be disqualified.

“The fact that we can finish as well as we did is a tribute to our depth.”

The Vikings strong finish was due in a large part to the improved performance of the boys team.

Led by McKean’s first-place finish, South Tahoe had four boys finish in the top 20. Drew Ketelsen was the second-highest finisher in sixth place, followed by Aaron Strickly (13th) and Kyle Kracht in 17th.

“It’s good to have Chris back,” Shreve said. “And for him to get a win on his first race says a lot about his ability.

“Aaron, on the other hand, remains one of our most consistent skiers.”

The strength of the Vikings throughout the season has been the girls squad. Led by six skiers in the top 20, South Tahoe had another outstanding performance from its girls.

Dianna Higman was the top Viking in fourth, followed closely by Janae Apland (fifth) and Lilly Palmeiri (sixth).

Also in the top-20 were Alexis Rudd in 11th, Kristen Harding (12th) and Shayna Gianelli (16th).

But the surprise of the competition was the finish of Tyler Alexander in 24th. The senior was the final scoring Viking as he rode double-tipped trick skis.

“How he finished the race is beyond me,” Shreve said.

The Whittell Warrior team had a more difficult time on their home course. Despite finishing fourth, the Warriors had four boys and three girls finish in the 25 .

Ben Johnson was the top Warrior with his third-place finish, while James Rastello came in 19th and Brandon Lee and Justin Darra came in back-to back at 22nd and 23rd, respectively.

For the girls, Jannette Bak was the top Warrior at 16th, while Alison Dunleavy was 20th and Kathy Kiger came in 24th.

The next race for both teams is scheduled for Wednesday at Sierra-at-Tahoe, the home course for the Vikings.

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