Whittell alpine ski places 5th in TBSL opener
MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. — The Whittell alpine ski team took to the hill for its first race of the season on Monday at Mammoth Mountain. On a cold, windy day with limited visibility, the Warriors took fifth overall in the giant slalom race, highlighted by second-place finishes from freshman Payton Norton and sophomore Madison Idso.
“We really haven’t been able to train on snow at all yet — we’ve been doing a lot of dry land stuff — so to come out and have a good result was a good start to the season,” Warriors head coach Patrick Kelly said. “To have two racers in the top three was great.”
The Whittell boys team took fifth place on Monday with 154 points, 42 points behind co-winners South Tahoe and North Tahoe. Norton came in second place with a time of 1:13.42 — Incline’s Winston Pretti won the race by clocking a 1:11.48.
“Payton has two older brothers that are tremendous ski racers and his mom and dad are both respected ski coaches — it’s kind of in his genes to race as well as he did,” Kelly said. “It was a very good showing for his first varsity ski race.”
Junior Matt Davis was the Warriors’ next highest finisher, placing 21st with a run of 1:29.01. Senior Logan Manchester (23rd place, 1:31.09) and junior Gabe Rusk (34th, 1:41.96) also earned points for Whittell.
Nine skiers raced for the Warriors’ boys team at Mammoth Mountain. Sophomore Kaven Peck (1:42.09), freshman Andrew Carlisle (1:52.17), junior Hilton Atherton (1:55.28) and freshman Dylan Kixmiller (2:08.94) rounded out the Whittell contingent.
On the girls side, Whittell came in fifth with 127 points — 84 points behind first-place Incline. Idso finished second with a time of 1:16.52 — Incline’s Laurel Taylor won the race by skiing the course 1:16.15.
Senior Michael Gardner was the Warriors’ next fastest finisher — she placed seventh with a run of 1:20.36. Junior Jade Louis (35th, 2:31.03) and freshman Tatum Bunnett (tied for 37th) also earned points for Whittell.
“Madison and Michael are going to be our go-to racers this year as we go forward,” Kelly said.
Whittell returns to the hill Jan. 8 for a giant slalom race at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort. It will be the second and last giant slalom race of the regular season.
“We didn’t have all our racers down there at Mammoth because we had exams coming up, so some of our athletes decided that they would like to be in school on the last day before exams started,” Kelly said. “Going forward from here, we hope to have more depth in our future races.”