Prep Nordic skiing: Austin Meng, Annika Taylor win CNISSF state titles |

Prep Nordic skiing: Austin Meng, Annika Taylor win CNISSF state titles

Submitted to the Sun

Courtesy of Mark Nadell/www.macbethgraphics.comAustin Meng of the Sugar Bowl Academy races to a top finish in the two-day CNISSF Nordic skiing State Championship at Auburn Ski Club this past weekend.

Sugar Bowl Academy junior Austin Meng and Truckee junior Annika Taylor cruised to victories in the two-day CNISSF Nordic skiing state championship at Auburn Ski Club this past weekend.

The state championship event tested athletes’ mettle in both the classic (diagonal striding) and freestyle technique. Friday was an individual-start, 5-kilometer classic race that also tested coaches’ prowess, as snow started to fall just before the race began.

In the varsity boys’ race, Meng finished first in Friday’s classic event with a lead of less than one second over Truckee senior Alex Hamilton. On Saturday, athletes began the skate race based on their finish time in Friday’s race.

The start was electric, with Meng and Hamilton flying out of the stadium to the roar of the crowd lining the course. The next competitor to start, Truckee’s Justin Ondry, was nearly a minute behind the pair, making the race for first place a two-man competition.

By the time they finished their first 2.5-kilometer lap, Meng had a solid lead, which he widened on his second trip around the course. By the end, Meng had posted a winning time of 27:54 to Hamilton’s 28:54.1 between the two days of competition.

and#8220;I was taking it easy on the second lap,and#8221; Meng said afterward, and#8220;and only really hammering on the uphills.and#8221;

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Sugar Bowl Academy head coach Jeff Schloss said it was Meng’s best performance of the season.

and#8220;Classic skiing is not Austin’s strength,and#8221; he said, and#8220;so to see him win the race on Friday was awesome. His performance in Saturday’s skate race shows what a great skier he’s become.and#8221;

Miles Heapes of North Tahoe finished third with a time of 29:26.3, while Carson Lindsay of Truckee was fourth (29:30.7) and Ondry fifth (29:50.3). Patrick McElravey, Alex Kopytko, Alex Picken, Carson Clark and David Wise rounded out the top 10.

In the varsity girls’ competition, Taylor easily took the win with a combined time of 32:25. Truckee teammate Katrin Larusson finished runner-up in 33:40.9, while Laurel Fiddler of Mammoth was third (33:57.9), Cassidy Cichowicz of South Tahoe was fourth (35:16.9) and Kathi Kirkeby of Mammoth was fifth (35:44.6). Erica Larusson, Joelle Romo, Raylene Chew, Natalie Cutler and Lauryl Rudolph rounded out the top 10.

Alder Creek Middle School dominated the girls middle school championship, sweeping the top nine spots to take the team win, while the North Tahoe Middle School boys captured the top two spots and four of the top 10 en route to their win.

Bria Riggs won the middle school girls’ race, and was followed by teammates Skyler Flora, Savannah Meng, Erika Klenk and Gabrielle Rinne. Emma Warren was sixth, followed by Hannah Halvorsen, Savannah Blide, Jenna Rohlf and Amanda Kirkeby.

Dylan Syben and Shane Christian finished 1-2 for North Tahoe in the boys’ race, followed by Brandon Flora and Skyler Mullings of Alder Creek in third and fourth, and Peter Holmes of North Tahoe in fifth. Sam Zabell, Harrison Goss, Colin Deurlington, Ryan Thomas and Aaron Deeter rounded out the top 10.

To view complete results, go to

and#8212; Sierra Sun sports editor Sylas Wright contributed to this report.