Eagles soar in conference opener | SierraSun.com

Eagles soar in conference opener

The Sierra Nevada College alpine ski team was on fire to start conference racing last weekend, sweeping the podium in each of the team's four races.

After a lack of snow delayed the start to the season, the United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association (USCSA) Northern California Conference got competition underway, and the defending Far West Regional champions on the men and women's side put the rest of the conference on notice with a dominant display at Sugar Bowl Ski Resort.

"It was a good start considering the lack of snow and the conditions," said Head Coach Elias Stuerz. "We're definitely happy about it."

Eagles junior Anton Waller led the way, laying down the two fastest times in giant slalom on Saturday, Jan. 20, to open conference racing. Waller finished with a total time of 53.89 seconds to claim first place over skiers from the University of Nevada, Reno, University of California, Davis, Stanford University, and University of California, Berkeley.

Sierra Nevada College then had sophomore Luka Gobec claim second with a total time of 54.52, followed by freshman Adrian Rhomberg in third with a time of 54.50.

Nevada skier Reid Lambres broke up the streak of Sierra Nevada College skiers with a fourth-place finish, but freshman Vidar Widing's total time of 54.57 gave the Eagles four skiers in the top five.

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The men's team returned to Sugar Bowl the following day for another round of racing, and again Waller proved to be untouchable, dropping the two fastest times of the day to claim first place with a total time of 53.89. Gobec again finished in second with a time of 54.38, followed by Widing with a time of 54.83. Rhomberg completed Sierra Nevada College's dominant day with a total time of 55.15 for a fourth-place finish.

Rhomberg recently made his return to the team after two months of being away at his home in Europe, according to Stuerz, due to a death in his family.

"He came back and skied really well," said Stuerz. "I'm really impressed with him coming back and getting back into it with such a passion."

As dominant as the men were to start the year, the Lady Eagles put an even greater beating on their conference foes.

Freshman Emma Stenvall led the Eagles on Saturday, finishing her two runs with a total time of 56.41 to edge senior teammate Miahela Kosi by 0.09.

"(Stenvall) is really stepping it up and giving some fire to the older folks on the team," said Stuerz on the freshman skier.

Junior Saan Ahonen claimed third place with a time of 57.23 to sweep the podium for Sierra Nevada College.

Davis' Haley Louis broke up the streak of Eagles with a fourth-place finish, but a trio of Eagles, led by junior Erika McCormick (58.00), finished with the next three fastest times to give the team six skiers in the top seven.

Ahonen led the Eagles charge on Sunday with the day's two fastest times for a total time of 56.70 and a first-place finish. Stenvall followed with a time of 57.18. Senior Caroline Sanden-Gustafsson was next for the Eagles with a time of 58.54, followed by junior Eva Jazbec with a time of 58.79, and McCormick with a total time of 1:00.56, as the Lady Eagles posted the day's five fastest total times.

The men and women's teams will next head to Heavenly Mountain Resort for two days of competition, starting on Saturday, Jan. 27.

"Shout out to Sugar Bowl for pulling it off," said Stuerz on the race. "We're all having trouble with the lack of snow, but they did a great job."

The school's freeski team is also scheduled to be in action over the weekend at Heavenly with a two-day rail jam.