Sierra College skiers qualify for Nationals
The Sierra College ski team secured a berth this past weekend to the U.S. Collegiate Ski National Championships from March 5-9 in Sunday River, Maine.
The men’s team placed three racers in the top-10 and earned the No. 1 seed in the state.
Dan Alvey won the first run of the GS, beating the superpower Sierra Nevada College athletes by seven-tenths of a second. Had he not made a mistake, he would have received the overall victory.
“It was one of the biggest recovery moves I have ever seen on such a big stage,” said Ryan Rodarte, head coach of the Wolverines. “We needed him to finish. We would have liked him to pull off the victory for himself, but it was more important for the team to finish strong.”
Freshman Rafael Schopfer had a huge season for the Sierra College ski team, placing consistently in the top-5. He had a second-place run in the GS at Diamond Peak, and a third-place finish at Northstar.
Both Alvey and Schopfer have been long-time teammates, racing together at Auburn Ski Club.
The Wolverines’ Jake Larson clinched the overall title at regionals. He was also one of Sierra skiers who consistently placed in the top 10.
Judson Diehl had several top 10 finishes throughout the season that gave the much-needed depth to be a contender. Bill Toney also had a top-15 result during the season.
Kelly Conroy from Sierra College will be the individual female that will represent the region at the U.S. National Championships. Early in the season she proved that she was a threat by placing consistently in the top-5, with a third-place finish at Northstar, beating four-year, Division I teams on a regular basis.
The ski team was let go by Sierra College five seasons ago due to state cutbacks, but the team is hopeful that it will be picked up again because of the national exposure it gives the college and the 39 high school ski programs that feed college.