North Tahoe, Truckee climb podium at Western Championships

The top high school alpine racers from across the United States made their way to Mt. Rose – Ski Tahoe last weekend to compete for slalom and giant slalom gold.

The Western Regional High School Championships got underway last Friday, bringing teams of 12 boys and girls from high school leagues in California, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming, Illinois, and Minnesota.

A pair of local girls landed on the podium following Friday’s giant slalom race. Slalom state champion Brenna Ritchie, of North Tahoe, posted the fastest opening run on the way to a runner-up finish with a combined time of 1 minute, 59.66 seconds. Truckee’s Amber Hansford, who won the state giant slalom championship, finished in third place with a total time of 2:00.58. North Tahoe’s Mikayla Walsh was ninth with a combined time of 2:04.97, and teammate Kate Fligor was 15th with a total time of 2:06.95.

Cate Simpson, of Aspen, Colorado, captured the giant slalom title with a time of 1:59.20.

The girls returned to the mountain the following day for slalom, and Truckee’s Hansford led the area’s skiers with a third-place finish, posting a combined time of 1:30.04. Walsh finished 13th with a combined time of 1:35.68.

Oregon’s Annie Henderickson took the slalom gold with a total time of 1:28.39.

As a team, skiers from the Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association took second place. The Colorado girls took top honors.

On the boys’ side, North Tahoe’s Tyler Rantz led the local effort each day, claiming a third place in giant slalom with a total time of 1:54.39 and fourth in slalom with a total time of 1:26.82. The Lakers also had Prince Ilano (2:02.28) take 12th and Ben Bower (2:02.41) take 15th in giant slalom. North Tahoe’s Jackson Sanford took eighth in slalom with a total time of 1:31.09.

Aspen, Colorado, skier Chase Kelly swept both the giant slalom and slalom events.

As a team, skiers from the area took second place. The Colorado boys’ squad won the overall title.

Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at

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