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Alpine team faces new season

BAY KELLEY, Sierra Sun

Despite a depleted roster, the Tahoe-Truckee Wolverines’ Alpine ski team is one of the favorites in the upcoming season.

The squad is coming off a successful season where the boys finished top of the ranks as the Tahoe Basin Ski League champions. The Alpine team as a whole, though, had to settle for second place behind the North Tahoe Lakers.

But last year is last year, and a lot of that team is now gone.

It’s part of the plight surrounding this year’s Wolverine team. In addition to losing a lot of seniors, this year’s team has a few of its members graduating early and a waning roster due to the transportation fee, which according to head coach Pat Mooney, scared a few racers away.

“I’m not sure that we’ll have the depth we’ve had in the past,” Mooney said. “Usually we have about 50 members on the team, but this year only have about 30.”

The absence of members does not lessen the quality of the skiers the Wolverines have. They still have a core of Far West members with a lot of racing experience.

Included in this list are Gary Cook, Stacey Cook, Tim Jitloff, John Parker, Derek Phebus, Bryan Richmond, Emily Sterling, Michael Thomas, Cein Watson and Kendra Windham.

There are also a host of other racers who are not or have not been on the FarWest team that Mooney cited as being very determined and hard-working in practice in the opening few weeks. Included on this part of the roster are Lindsay Anderson, Rob Anderson, Natalie Bergman, Evan Birchard, Lance Cohen, Emma Ferneyhough, Katie Heckendorn, Chelsea Horvath, Jillian Marchi, Johnny Kane, Tom Kelly, Megan Minnick, Heather Phebus, John Rose, Matt Scholz, Dan Shimmon, Kim Smith, Danny Shannon, Nikolai Travis and Billy Wrenn.

The Cook siblings, Thomas, Kane, Richmond and Phebus all performed well last season, according to Mooney, who says that he expects “them to be leading the league this year.”

Mooney has been Truckee’s coach for the last eight years and has three championships to his credit. The other five seasons he finished in second place. The title is usually swapped with the Lakers, but Mooney is mindful of the inclusion of South Tahoe this season.

“South Tahoe just joined last season,” Mooney said, “and they are a really good team. This should be a very competitive season.”

The time trials for the first race of the season were held on Monday, Jan. 3. Windham was the top finisher for the Truckee girls with runs of 37.04 and 36.30. Anderson, Phebus, Heckendorn, Smith, Bergman, Ferneyhough and Horvath finished in descending order for the slalom runs.

Gary Cook was the top Truckee finisher with times of 31.81 and 31.62, nearly a second faster than the nearest Truckee finisher, Phebus. Jitloff, Parker, Kane, Thomas, Travis, Kelly, Wrenn and Watson rounded out the top ten.

The team’s first race was yesterday, but the results were not available at press time.


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