Vikings win first TBSL boys race in six years
South Tahoe High’s boys recorded their first team win in six years on Wednesday, powering the Vikings ski team into second overall in the season’s fourth race, at Kirkwood.
North Tahoe, which tied South Tahoe for first place in the first race of the Tahoe Basin Ski League season, a Jan. 5 giant slalom at Alpine Meadows, edged South Tahoe 333-320 for the overall win during Wednesday’s slalom, but the Vikings continue to lead the standings. With three races left, South Tahoe leads the overall TBSL standings by two points over North Tahoe.
“Usually, the other teams, the girls always carried us,” said South Tahoe head coach Mike Shreve.
Not so on Wednesday. Sophomores Cory Harris, Chris McKean and Danny Lear finished 4-5-6, ahead of teammates Chris Little (11th) and Jon McKean (15th). Harris finished the race in a combined time of 1 minute, 10.24 seconds, which was 1.75 seconds off the winning pace of Incline’s Travis Durfee.
“It’s a young team,” Shreve said. “They’re all sophomores, with the exception of Jon McKean, and those guys have two more years left. Incidentally, the guys who beat them today are seniors.”
Whittell made up ground on Incline as the Warriors outperformed the team that entered the race ahead of them on the girls side. Whittell’s girls chipped in 115 points – compared with 87 for Incline – to take fourth overall behind Truckee and move into a tie with Incline in the standings.
“It was nice for us,” said Whittell advisor Mike Kiger. “And we even had room for a little bit of improvement, so we’re happy.”
Truckee finally produced a racer faster than Whittell senior Corky Novotny. Novotny, who won both TBSL races she entered – Jan. 5 and Jan. 26 at Whittell’s home night slalom at Heavenly – was just 0.25 seconds slower than Wolverines racer Stacey Cook. Cook won the race with a combined time of 73 seconds, but Novotny’s finish gave Whittell 47 points, and the Warriors earned even more through the lower seeds. Kim McGlothlin was 23rd, finishing in 1:44:12 for Whittell, ahead of Warriors teammates Kathy Kiger (26th) Amber Merkel (30th), Nicole Jurzenski (31st) and Brandi Ledbetter (39th).
“They did a nice job for us,” Mike Kiger said. “Kathy and Kim, that was a nice job by them.”
South Tahoe’s girls also kept pace with another solid performance. Senior Beth Kirkland was eighth for South Tahoe, combining with freshman Lilly Palmieri, junior Alexis Rudd and freshman Kristen Royce for 150 points. Kirkland finished the race in 1:26.85, leading five Vikings into the top 15. Palmieri was 11th, and Rudd, Royce and Diana Higman 13-15 for South Tahoe. Higman was fourth after the first run, but dropped to 15th after having to hike back to a gate after the first run.
“You can see, our girls were stacked right in there,” Shreve said
South Tahoe may be able to attribute some of its success Wednesday to a solid team attitude. Even though the race was the home meet for Douglas, it was at nearby Kirkwood.
“There was a lot of team spirit,” said South Tahoe girls captain Katy Orr. “The boys were up there with us when we were racing, and the other way around.
“We train together. That helps us, I think, because we know each other very well, in comparison with other teams.”
Whittell had two boys finish among the top 15. Ben Johnson was 13th, after a 33.74-sceond first run, and teammate Sean Weatherston followed at 14th, in 1:17.13. Michael Kiger, the coach’s son, was 19th, Brett Schussel was 23rd, and Bryce Schussel was 27th. Trevor Bartholomew, Eric Sanders and Kris Ledbetter were 30-32 for Whittell.
Whittell and Incline are even in the race for the mythical Nevada championship among the three smaller schools. The race might give the Warriors incentive for the rest of the season.
“It’s something for the kids,” Mike Kiger said. “It’s a nice little rivalry.
“Obviously, when you’re out there competing, you want to have some goal It’s something for us to shoot for.”
South Tahoe may have extra incentive, too. The TBSL series moves to Sierra-at-Tahoe on Wednesday for South Tahoe’s home GS.
“Hopefully, being on our home mountain, we’ll be able to actually win an individual race because the girls haven’t yet,” Orr said. “I think that we can do it. We’re just so good on other hills, I think we’ll be even better on our own hill.”
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