Lakers sweep Nordic regular season crowns
Local high school and middle school Nordic athletes have been building all season toward a chance at winning a state championship.
Countless hours on the snow and tough skiing conditions will give way to one final event at Auburn Ski Club on Friday, Feb. 16, with the California Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation State Championships.
The season has had its share of struggles with the lack of snow, which saw several races either canceled all together or as in the case of Friday’s state championships, rescheduled for a date in which conditions are likely to be best.
The championships were previously scheduled for Feb. 24, but according to Truckee Head Coach Mary Ellen Benier, race officials moved the date up a week to take advantage of current conditions at Auburn Ski Club.
Local teams concluded their regular season last week on Friday, Feb. 9, with the North Tahoe Pursuit at Auburn Ski Club for a 3-kilometer freestyle event. Sugar Bowl’s Haydn Halvorsen captured the win on the boys’ side with a time of 12 minutes, 18.50 seconds. North Tahoe skiers JC Schoonmaker (12:47.70) and Cooper Anderson (13:17.90) were the next two to cross the finish line. Sugar Bowl’s Nate Cutler (13:27.10) and North Tahoe’s Nikolas Burkhart (13:31.20) rounded out the top five. Steffen Cuneo was Truckee’s fastest skier with a time of 14:15.90 for eighth place. KC Larkins (14:47.80) also broke into the top 10 for the Wolverines.
On the girls’ side, Sofia Sanchez gave Sugar Bowl a sweep in individual racing with a time of 14:58.20 for first place. North Tahoe’s Lily Murnane came across in second with a time of 15:36.40. Sugar Bowl’s Kianna Mullings (15:45.10) finished next followed by North Tahoe skiers Kili Lehmkuhl (15:48.70) and Alani Powell (16:06.50) to round out the top five finishers. Truckee’s Abby Baier was the school’s top skier with a time of 16:49.20 for a seventh-place finish.
Auburn Ski Club’s Matt Seline won the middle school boys’ race with a time of 5:59.90, and Sugar Bowl’s Hayden McJunkin won the girls’ race with a time of 7:07.30.
The North Tahoe pursuit marked the fifth and final race of the regular season, and crowned this year’s regular season champions. North Tahoe’s Anderson claimed the title with 103 points, edging Sugar Bowl’s Halvorsen, who finished the year with 99 points. Lakers skiers Nikolas Burkhart, Phoenix Sanchez, and Etienne Bordes also landed in the top five for the regular season.
On the girls’ side, North Tahoe’s Murnane captured the regular season title with 91 points. The Lakers’ Lehmkuhl and Powell were next with 88 and 80 points, respectively. Baier finished in fourth place for Truckee with 76 points.
The Lakes boys and girls also swept the regular season team titles. The boys edged out Sugar Bowl 35-34, and the girls’ topped Truckee 36-33.
The CNISSF state championships are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. with a continuous pursuit format, according to Benier, which includes 2.5 kilometers of classic technique followed by a 2.5-kilometer lap of skate technique. Middle school racing is scheduled to start after the girls race concludes, roughly around 12:15 p.m.
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As seniors from North Tahoe collected diplomas this week, a group of Lakers continued another local tradition — capturing first place at the boys’ regional golf championship.