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Vikings host first nordic event since 2013

South Tahoe's Melanie Maher competes on the Vikings home course at Kirkwood.
Provided / Mark Hoefer

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Tahoe has finally hosted a home Nordic race.

For the first time since 2013, Vikings cross country skiers skated around on a “beautiful sunny day” Dec. 20 at the Kirkwood Cross Country Ski Center.

Past cancellations came down to not enough snow, too much snow, impassable roads, rain, wind and so on, said Vikings head coach Mark Hoefer.

The race kicked off the 2019-20 California-Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation season.

The high school athletes skied on a relatively flat fast 3 kilometer loop in the meadow area.

The teams, including Colfax, Tahoe-Truckee, North Tahoe, Mammoth, used three-person relay teams to cover the approximately 9k course, each racing a one-lap, 3k leg of the race.

A team from Truckee captured the boys’ race, covering the distance in 22 minutes, 37 seconds, nearly 90 seconds ahead of the second place team from North Tahoe.

South Tahoe boys grabbed the sixth and seventh place positions with Milo King, Rjys Davies, Matteus Sokulsky finishing in 28:03, while Andre Albanese, Zane Fink and Lachlan Bray covered the three loops in 29:53.

Truckee also took first in the girls’ race.

The Lady Vikings took fourth place.

“I am very happy with the way the season started out,” Hoefer said. “Super awesome how the team did, especially since we have only had a few good days on the snow. Now that our home meet is over, and all the energy that goes into hosting an event, we can focus on the rest of the season. I just hope it isn’t another 6 years before we get to do it again.”

South Tahoe kicked off 2020 with the Foothill Classic Jan. 10 at Auburn Ski Club, hosted by colfax and Nevada Union.

Sugar Bowl, Truckee, North Tahoe and Mammoth were also at the event.

Fresh snow arrived a couple of days earlier, so athletes and coaches were happy hand wax was in order for the day. This wax is used on the kick zone (center third of the ski) to obtain grip on the uphill portions of the course.

“Finding the correct grip wax can be a challenge,” said Vikings head coach Mark Hoefer. “Not enough grip means slippery on uphills, too much grip on the uphills can mean terrible glide on the downhills and flats. Always a bit of stress for the coach.”

North Tahoe won the race in 12:26, 16 seconds ahead of the next finisher, also from North Tahoe.

For the Vikings, five girls represent the team this year.

Senior Melanie Maher lead the way in 16th place, finishing in 17:19.

Emma Waskiewicz and Jenni Novak, both freshmen, where in the next two placings with times of 18:36 and 18:53, respectively.

Sierra Dahl was 19th and Eliana Carney finished in 20:55.

On the boys side, Stephen Cuneo from Truckee lead from start to finish.

The Vikings boys top two skiers were not in attendance for this race.

Freshmen Lachlan Bray, Max Menke and Milo King finished 19th through 21st.

“We are young and developing team this year,” Hoefer said. “We have one senior, no juniors, four sophomores and five freshmen. Two of the sophomores are first-year competitors in Nordic racing.

Both the girls and boys teams will continue to get stronger throughout the season as we spend more time on the snow.

The Vikings race again Friday, a freestyle race at Sugar Bowl’s home turf, Royal Gorge XC Ski Center.


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