Whittell’s Norton 2nd overall, ST boys, girls 4th at Alpine ski race
Wednesday’s high school alpine race at Alpine Meadows was all about survival.
With a rain/snow mix falling from the sky before noon, the slalom course was slushy and it rutted fast. A large number of racers didn’t finish the course twice or were disqualified for missing or straddling gates.
The recorded times on the boys’ second course were nearly 10 seconds slower on average than the first.
When all the slush had been sprayed, the South Tahoe boys and girls combined to finish in third place, while Whittell came in fifth. The North Tahoe boys and girls swept both races and won the team title.
“It was definitely a challenging day,” said South Tahoe head coach Barbra Bedwell. “A number of our kids showed some amazing persistence by missing a gate, then hiking back up to make it through the gate. They at least get a time, even though it’s slow.”
The Whittell boys came in second place and were led by Payton Norton who nearly earned the title of top slushmaster.
Norton was fastest down the course after the first run finishing in 38.31 seconds, but had some trouble at the start of run two, while his friend, and rival, Winston Pretti, of Incline Village, blitzed past the field for the overall title.
“Payton was on one ski for the first four turns or so,” Whittell girls coach Madeline Cronk said Friday while training with both teams (the girls and boys) at Heavenly Mountain Resort. “But he’s so strong and confident he recovered and made up a lot of time.”
Norton finished the second course, which had more turns, in 47.04 for a total time of 1:25.4.
Pretti claimed the top spot with a second-run time of 46.22 and beat Norton by six-tenths of a second.
“Those two flip-flop results back and forth,” said Whittell coach David Caputo. “They’re also best friends and they push each other.”
Gunnar Barnwell grabbed seventh place (1:28.6), Andrew Carlisle was 19th (1:54.3) and Bastion Elkins was 20th (1:54.6) to complete the Warriors’ scoring. Also for Whittell, Justin Smith was 26th (1:58.2).
Luke Allen led the South Tahoe boys to fourth place. The junior was hoping for better conditions going into the event and also a better result.
“My performance was not as I expected going into the race,” Allen said. “The conditions weren’t what I thought they were gonna be, there were puddles and slush on the course. The snow was super reactive, if you pressured too hard or if you didn’t pressure you’d just lose your outside ski because the slush would take it away. I was trying to find a median.”
Allen came in eighth place, but was fifth fastest on his second run and finished with an overall time of 1:29.5.
Also scoring points for the Vikings were Logan Langmeier in 12th (1:37.1), Noah Lyle in 13th (1:41.5) and Matt Sullivan in 27th (55.83). Two of South Tahoe’s top skiers, Mark Allen and Aaron Johnson, didn’t finish due to missed gates. Finishing just out of point scoring position for the Vikings were Cameron Grant (28th) and Peter Anthony (31st).
South Tahoe’s Lyndsey Allen was a victim of the conditions and didn’t finish her second run after being ninth fastest in her first run.
“Yesterday was pretty rough,” Allen said Thursday afternoon while training at Sierra-at-Tahoe. “It was super wet and soft and slushy so the ruts got huge. So that was kind of an issue, but we made it work.”
Scoring points for the Lady Vikings in their fourth-place finish were, Carissa Buchholz in 14th (2:05.07), Kelsey Buckley in 15th (2:06.6), Shelby Lyon in 20th (2:17.7) and Tyler Pevenage in 21st (2:24.6). Also for the Vikings, Natalie Frazier was 23rd (2:25.3) and Alyx Carlson was 28th (2:52.4).
The Warriors had two girls finish, Tatum Bunnett in 29th and Ava Campbell in 31st.
The next meet will take place at 10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, at Kirkwood Mountain Resort.