Lady Eagles ranked No. 1 ahead of conference opener | SierraSun.com

Lady Eagles ranked No. 1 ahead of conference opener

Last season's U.S. Collegiate Skiing and Snowboarding National Championship runners-up, Sierra Nevada College, will return to the snow soon, according to Head Coach Elias Stuerz, after having their scheduled home opener at Diamond Peak Ski Resort scratched due to snow conditions.

Ahead of the team's season opener, the Sierra Nevada College women's squad was given the No. 1 collegiate ranking for United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association (USCSA) teams by CollegeSnowSports.com. The men's team garnered a No. 2 selection in the rankings, which were released on Jan. 5, and trailed only the defending national champions, Rocky Mountain College.

The men's team returns a number of skiers from last season, including junior Anton Waller, who finished 61st overall at last year's national championships, and sophomore Luka Gobec, who finished 64th last season. One of the squad's top skiers from a year ago,  Stuerz, has now taken over as the program's head coach. The team also lists a pair of freshmen on their roster in Adrian Rhomberg and Vidar Widing.

The men's squad has entered several International Ski Federation (FIS) races leading up to Sunday's conference opener. Widing has posted strong results so far with his best coming at Snow King Mountain Resort on Dec. 12, where he raced against roughly 100 skiers to finish in second place in slalom. Gobec also had his best day of the year at Snow King, finishing in fifth place in slalom. Waller raced five events at Snow King, and managed no worse that an eighth-place finish in each race.

The women's team comes into the season as the giant slalom national champions, and returns an experienced squad of mostly juniors and seniors for the upcoming season. The Eagles bring back last year's runner-up from the national championships in both slalom and giant slalom, junior Saana Ahonen. The junior skier raced at Snow King in December and posted an eighth-place finish in slalom for her best result.

The Eagles also return fifth-place finisher in giant slalom, senior Ebba Grant, and giant slalom sixth-place finisher, senior Michaela Kosi. The team also returns senior Caroline Sanden Gustafson, and juniors Eva Jazbec and Erika McCormick.

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* This post was updated to reflect the team’s canceled race on Jan. 14-15 at Diamond Peak Ski Resort. Officials are looking to find an alternate site for the event, according to Head Coach Elias Stuerz.