Middle school Nordic teams looking strong | SierraSun.com

Middle school Nordic teams looking strong

Mark Nadell
Special to the Sun

Although the glamour often goes to the high school teams, the size of some of the middle school Nordic squads dwarfs those at the high school level. Alder Creek Middle School, last year’s state champions, has more than 70 racers on its roster this year ” about 30 percent more than its record-setting number in 2006.

“While managing such a large team is challenging, our athletes’ enthusiasm and commitment make each day spent on snow worthwhile,” said Brian Kehoe, head Nordic coach at Alder Creek.

Along with its depth, Alder Creek also has quality at the top, with 2006 state champion Annika Taylor leading the way and serving as a good bet to take over Sophie Aaron’s role as league points leader.

Close behind Taylor will be Annika Deurlington, Allene Kennedy and Cami Straw, all strong skiers looking to improve upon their 2006 standings.

On the North Tahoe side, Michelle Cahill is poised to take the leadership role for the girls team, while Kristin King of Mammoth Middle School is a good bet to be in the top rankings this season.

The middle school boys’ side is a little less clear-cut, with many of the top racers from 2006 graduating to the senior circuit. But in light of early-season results, eighth-grader Justin Ondry of Alder Creek is the clear-cut favorite to dominate this year’s competition. Taller, stronger and faster this season, Ondry has been working energetically to become the next top young skier in the state.

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Carson Clark and Sean Lovely are two from North Tahoe with great potential, with Evan Dion, Austin Meng and Jordan McElroy of Alder Creek showing great promise in light of their hard training in the offseason. They will all have strong competition from Will Stimson and Alex Picken from the Mammoth Middle School team.