Wolverines, Lakers take Sierra by storm
SIERRA-AT-TAHOE – Speed and accuracy were at a premium as nearly 200 area high school racers hit the slopes for the Tahoe Basin League’s second race of the season Wednesday.
South Tahoe captured third place in the girls competition, while Whittell garnered third in the boys races for the top marks among area teams. The Warrior girls and Viking boys rounded out area teams by both finishing fifth overall. Truckee’s boys team grabbed first overall and North Tahoe’s girls claimed first-place honors in tightly contested races.
“I’m not disappointed. But at the same time I am not going to settle for mediocrity,” said South Tahoe coach Mike Shreve, whose squad is second in the TBL season standings behind North Tahoe with 20 points. “We’re going to put the pedal to the metal and get ready for (the upcoming) Kirkwood (race).”
“Our goal is to have a good time, enjoy skiing and get serious when we have to,” said Whittell advisor Mike Kiger.
Amelia Edwards led South Tahoe racers, finishing third with a 1:51.09 mark. Dianna Higman pulled down seventh place (1:56.82), while Janea Apland (2:02.47), Launa Giordano (2:04.20) and Katy Orr (2:10.53) nailed down 10th, 11th and 18th places, respectively. The top Warrior racers were Zoe (2:09.94) and Mia Thompson (2:13.92), placing 17th and 20th overall.
North Tahoe’s Julia Mancuso notched both the fastest run (50.63 in her first run) and the best combined score of the day (1:45.60).
“I’m very happy, especially since this is my first time racing in this (expanded) league,” said Edwards, a Viking FIS racer who competed with a torn ligament in her right thumb and was “in pain” nearly all day. “I expected to come in here and get 10th place and be proud about it, but (getting) third place is great.”
Truckee and North Tahoe dominated the boys competition, combining for 10 of the top 11 individual spots. Whittell skier Ben Johnson slipped into the top 10 at fourth, posting a 1:49.22 mark. Fellow Warrior Sean Weatherston (1:55.09) chimed in at 12th and WHS racer Bryce Schussel earned a 22nd-place finish. Top individuals for the Vikings included Jon McKean (1:55.23) at 15th and Toby O’Brien at 18th. North Tahoe’s George Hjelte scored the fastest time of the day with a 51.97 mark, while Truckee’s Johnny Kane had the top combined times (1:48.04).
Several racers – including some of South Tahoe and Whittell’s top skiers – crashed during their final runs in a hard-packed, icy rut halfway down the slalom course.
“When a spot is considered hairy, it really is all relative,” Shreve said Shreve. “Skiers know about it ahead of time because the coaches will tell them. It’s just a matter of them compensating for it during the race.”
Kiger said he is pleased with the Warriors’ progress at this point in the race season.
“We’re looking better and better each week,” said Kiger, who was without star Warrior racer Corky Novotny, who was attending a Far West event in Utah. “Hopefully, by the end of the year, we’ll have two top 10 finishers overall.”
In the overall team standings, South Tahoe finished third (275 points) while Whittell (233) racked up a fifth-place mark. North Tahoe won the overall event with 343 combined points, and continues to lead the season totals with 12 points
The next TBL race will be a giant slalom at Kirkwood on Jan. 26.
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