Young racers from local mountains hit Boreal
With more than 200 competitors from California and Nevada and an icy, tricky course, a pair of USSA Far West races afforded local skiers few opportunities to shine.
Racers in the J5 (9-10) and J4 (11-12) age groups Heavenly, Kirkwood and Sierra-at-Tahoe, though, took advantage of those precious few chances in the twin giant slaloms at Boreal on Saturday and Sunday. The races were on schedule for Squaw Valley, but conditions forced it to Boreal, where Squaw’s race crew set the course.
Heavenly’s Courtney Carmichael, a J4 racer, had the fastest four runs in the J4 age group, winning both J4 races, by six seconds on Saturday, and by nearly two on Sunday. Carmichael edged teammate Kendall Northrup in the second race by finishing in 1 minute 25.77 seconds, just quicker than Northrup’s 1:27.72. Natalie Rastello of Heavenly also competed, finishing 41st in 2:05:08.
Carmichael won Saturday’s GS with a combined time of 1:28.90. Northrup, ill with the flu, missed a gate and could not finish. Rastello was 43rd for Heavenly, rounding out the local finishers in the race.
In Sunday’s J5 boys race, Jake Baker of Sierra-at-Tahoe was the top local finisher, coming in third out of the 27th start position. Baker had a combined time of 1:34.33, finishing just behind Alpine Auburn’s Eric Schlobohm and Bear Valley’s Trevor Skivington.
“This kid is an up-and-comer, and someone we should all keep our eyes on,” said Sierra’s Ben McLeod.
Kyle Smaine of Heavenly finished in a tie for seventh, and Kirkwood’s Cory Wehan was next among South Shore racers in Sunday’s race, finishing 14th. Heavenly’s Robert Pulford was 19th with a 1:44.82 finish, and teammate Austin Norton was 27th in 1:47.71.
Baker fell two spots the next day, while Wehan rallied, climbing into sixth. Kirkwood Alpine J4 and J5 coach Jim Hein was happy with his team’s effort.
“It went pretty well,” he said. “We had several kids who had top-15 finishes.”
Heavenly’s Smaine posted a top-10 finish, just missing Wehan by 0.06 seconds. Dayne Carmichael of Heavenly rounded out the South Shore participants, finishing 24th.
Shelby Hawthorne, though, provided highlights for Kirkwood. She was second in both J5 girls races against older competition.
“What was pretty amazing about Shelby was if you look at all the girls, J4s and J5s, … she had the third-fastest time the first day,” Hein said.
Northstar’s Ani Serebrakian won both, but Hawthorne posted a 1:34.73 that first day. Kirkwood’s Brittany Cotter was 11th, and two Heavenly racers posted top-20 finishes: Margo Cutter was 17th and Austyn Harrington 18th. Becca Gardner also finished for Heavenly, coming in 22nd in 2:11.94.
On Sunday, Hawthorne finished in 1:32.65. Teammate Cotter was 14th 1:45.24. Heavenly had one finisher, as Gardner cruised into 25th.
The boys J4 races also were stacked with racers from Kirkwood, Sierra and Heavenly.
In the J4 boys race, Bryce Wehan finished sixth for Kirkwood on the first day – edging Heavenly’s Donnie Little – with a time of 1:34.49. Donnie Little, Marty Harris and P.J. Bacon had top-10 finishes for Heavenly, with a seventh, eighth and 10th, respectively, and R.J. Gardner just missed the top 10 by .09 seconds. Erik Sambrailo of Kirkwood was 12th, and Matt Galdin of Sierra 18th. Nick Cohee of Kirkwood was 21st, teammate Holden Sapp 40th and Heavenly’s Cody Harrington 44th. Heavenly’s Scott Lusby and Kirkwood’s Justin
Schiller also finished, in 52nd and 58th, respectively.
Bryce Wehan improved on Sunday, posting a 1:29.96 and seventh-place finish for Kirkwood. Bacon was just behind him in eighth, and Cohee rallied for a 10th-place finish. Sambrailo was 13th, Harris 16th, and R.J. Gardner 18th for Heavenly. Heavenly’s Jamie Moore (27th), Kirkwood’s Sap (31st), Kirkwood’s Travis Johnson (47th), Phillip Frank (51st) and Schiller (56th) also finished, as did Heavenly’s Lusby (59th).
The schedule for the J4 and J5 racers from the three South Shore ski foundations continues the first weekend in February, with two slalom races at Boreal.
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