Laker Alpiners gearing for competition |

Laker Alpiners gearing for competition

Sun File photoNorth Tahoe senior Brian Gimbert is one of the Lakers' returning skiers. The Tahoe Basin Ski League begins with a giant slalom at Alpine Meadows on Jan. 9.

North Tahoe is never a team to write off when it comes to Alpine skiing.

While Truckee and South Tahoe, as well as the Incline boys, are predicted by many to be the teams to beat entering the 2008 season, the Lakers are fine with their dark-horse role in the Tahoe Basin Ski League.

“Overall we’ve got a great group of kids,” said first-year head coach Scott Everist, an assistant coach for the Lakers last season. “We’ve got some pretty good skiers out there, so we should make a run for it.”

Everist was quick to name the Wolverines and Vikings, as well as the Highlanders’ better half, as standout squads.

“Truckee and South Tahoe,” he said when asked the question. “Incline’s boys are also super tough, we know that. We didn’t see them at the preseason race, but if they’re anything like last year, they’re going to be really good.”

North Tahoe placed third overall behind South Tahoe and Truckee at that preseason race, a giant slalom at Alpine Meadows on Dec. 17.

“We did OK ” got the rust off,” Everist said of the performance, which was highlighted individually by Kevin Scardigli’s fifth-place finish on the boys’ side and Taylor Pasvantis’ ninth place in the girls’ competition. “I think we’ll be all right.”

Even though some of the Laker skiers did not compete, Everist said the race served as a helpful barometer to judge where the team was at that point and where it needs to be entering the regular season, which begins with another GS at Alpine Meadows on Jan. 9.

“We got to see the things we still need to work on ” starts, for sure. There hasn’t been a sense of urgency there, so we need to work on that,” the coach said.

At this early point in the season, Everist thinks the Laker girls are stronger overall than the boys. But he noted that there are more unknowns on the boys’ squad, and anything is possible once the season kicks off.

“We’ve got some potential there,” he said. “The girls are strong and the boys are improving. We have some strong returners, so overall I’m pretty optimistic.”

Among the top returning skiers for North Tahoe are juniors Zach Tomlinson and Scardigli, who led the Lakers in last season’s Tahoe Basin League championship with 11th- and 12th-place finishes. Everist also expects solid results from Kyle Lowis and Ian Hughes.

On the girls’ side in last year’s league championship, Danielle Smallman and Christina Lane led the Lakers with fourth- and fifth-place finishes, while Adrienne Ash and Jana Lane were 13th and 14th and Pasvantis 18th.

Although North Tahoe did not qualify as a team for the NIAA State Alpine Skiing Championship, several individuals did. Smallman represented the girls with a seventh place in the GS race while Christina Lane placed eighth in the slalom.

As far as a team goal in 2008, Everist said the Lakers are shooting for a state championship berth, which goes to the top two boys and girls teams from each league.

“We want to get back to making state as a team,” the coach said, adding that he expects North Tahoe’s tradition of success to help motivate the squad. “We try to emphasize that and use it as fuel.”

Date Race Location

Jan. 9 GS Alpine Meadows

Jan. 14 SL Alpine Meadows

Jan. 22 SL Heavenly

Jan. 30 GS Sierra-at-Tahoe

Feb. 7 GS Heavenly

Feb. 14 SL Diamond Peak

Feb. 23-24 State Championship, Mt. Rose

Feb. 26 Dual Championship, Homewood (tentative)

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