CNISSF snowboarding | Truckee settles for controversial third place at state |

CNISSF snowboarding | Truckee settles for controversial third place at state

Harry Lefrak / Lefrak PhotographyTruckee senior Blair Esson competes in the CNISSF State Snowboard Championships at Northstar on Thursday. Esson, who led the Truckee boys with a sixth-place finish in Wednesday's slalom, was disqualified on a controversial decision in the GS. Truckee still finished third in the combined while North Tahoe was sixth.

After two days of sunny racing in the CNISSF State Snowboard Championships at Northstar last week, a goggle-tanned group of Wolverines smiled on the podium as they celebrated a third-place finish out of 29 schools from across the Golden State.

Behind the smiles, however, all did not sit well with the Truckee team, which was essentially stripped of a combined state title when one of its top racers was disqualified and denied his opportunity to protest.

and#8220;We would have won (the combined state championship), so there was a lot at stake for them to call this, and then nothing for us to do about it once it was called,and#8221; said Truckee snowboard coach Eniko Kuch, referring to an incident involving Truckee senior Blair Esson and#8212; a multi-discipline competitive snowboarder who was born deaf.

Esson finished sixth overall out of 108 racers in Wednesday’s slalom and seemed poised to record another top finish in Thursday’s GS after posting one of the fastest times on his first of two runs. As he prepared to take his second run, however and#8212; this after a coaches’ meeting between runs indicated that Truckee had no DQs and was in the clear, Kuch said and#8212; he was told he had disqualified on his first run.

Esson contested the charge and, after fighting for it, was allowed to take a provisional second run before a final decision was made, Kuch said. But the run was later disallowed when the CNISSF division coordinators voted against Esson’s appeal. Instead of receiving between 110 and 120 points for another top-10 finish, which would have lifted the Wolverines to the combined state title over El Dorado, Esson was disqualified and received 0 points.

Kuch explained that a couple of and#8220;gatekeepersand#8221; and#8212; both student-athletes from competing schools and#8212; ruled that Esson had cut through a panel on one of the gates. Esson argued that he simply hit the back of his binding, Kuch said. But due to a discrepancy with Esson’s bib number, the gatekeepers had already left by the time it was realized that he had been marked as a DQ.

and#8220;When we went to protest it later, the gatekeepers who called it were gone already, so at that point it was too late,and#8221; Kuch said. and#8220;According to the kid, he cut through a panel, which is debatable, or it should have been, if they were there to debate it. I’m not arguing the DQ. Maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t. I’m more upset for him (Esson) at the way it was carried out.

and#8220;I just think it was unfair. I would have erred on the side of the athlete, if I, as an adult, screwed up and made a bad call. They made their decision without really giving him a chance instead of erring on the side of caution toward an athlete who is going to carry this with him forever. And they didn’t do that.and#8221;

Despite the controversial DQ, Truckee posted a combined score of 1,177 points to finish third behind El Dorado’s 1,241 points and Pleasant Valley’s 1,205.

North Tahoe, meanwhile, tied for sixth place in the combined finish with 1,100 points. Colfax (1,139) was fourth and Chico (1,116) fifth, followed by Placer (1,100), Davis (1,095), Foothill (1,084) and Ponderosa (1,047). Five of those top 10 are in Truckee and North Tahoe’s Central II Division.

Both Truckee and North Tahoe’s girls’ teams carried the scoring load, as Truckee’s girls finished second to El Dorado with 675 points to El Dorado’s 687, while the Laker girls were third with 609 points. Truckee’s boys finished 11th and the North Tahoe boys tied Mt. Shasta for 12th, as Placer took the win.

Not surprisingly, Truckee junior standout Ruby Wood followed up her season of consistent top-five finishes by placing fourth in the state in the combined. She posted an overall combined time of 3:50.45 over the two days of racing, while Nelly Steinhoff of Colfax won the combined with a time of 3:42.24.

Truckee teammate Ariah Curtis finished fifth in the combined with a time of 4:00.20.

In Wednesday’s slalom, Wood placed third with a time of 1:28.75 while Drew Bernadett of Nevada Union, who was second in the combined, posted a winning time of 1:25.27. Curtis came in sixth place in 1:33.10, and Truckee’s Shauna Day was 23rd and Nichole Graham 32nd.

Roxy Schumann led the Laker girls with a 10th-place finish in 1:43.41 as teammate Courtney Peters was 12th in 1:44.77. North Tahoe’s Bri Dubuc was 48th and Dana McConnell 71st.

The following day in the GS, Wood and Curtis finished fourth and fifth, respectively, with times of 2:21.67 and 2:27.13, while Sage Hoffee of El Dorado, who was third in the combined, won in 2:14.84. Day was 10th in 2:36.45, Truckee’s Sofie Maciel was 31st and Karen Corral 53rd.

Kenna Bolt led the North Tahoe girls with a sixth-place GS finish in 2:28.29. Schumann was 19th, followed by Peters in 22nd and Sierra Aildasani in 55th.

On the boys’ side, Esson recorded the top result among the Wolverine and Laker contingents when he placed sixth in the slalom in a time of 1:25.35. Jacob Hougum of Shasta, who swept both races to take the combined, posted a winning time of 1:18.07.

Truckee’s Austin McWhinney finished 17th, while teammate Casey Curtis was 22nd. North Tahoe’s Konrad Przybyslawski was 26th, Nash Baehr 30th and Garrett McDermott 48th.

Przybyslawski led the way in the GS, finishing 13th in a time of 2:27.9 to Hougum’s winning time of 2:15.4. Curtis placed 25th for the Wolverines and Dustin McQuary was 33rd. Baehr was 40th and Brandon Hayakawa 53rd for the Lakers.

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