Local Nordic teams fare well in opening competition
The Truckee Nordic team-intermediate division headed to Royal Gorge for its first race of the year Dec. 13. Despite the intermittent snow and cold temperatures, the 40 racers representing Sierra Mt. Middle School and Prosser Creek Charter burned through the course, winning the meet in the boys and girls’ divisions.
Competing in a skate/ski format, Alexandra O’Neil from SMMS. finished first with a time of 12 minutes and 41 seconds. Jenny Baker followed close behind with a fourth place 13:52 finish, and Sarah Hechendorn, Melissa Kleffman and Whitney Hardy finished sixth, seventh and eighth, respectively.
Leading the way for the boys’ team was Matt Gelso with a lightning speed 9:32 first-place performance. Thomas Hill, representing Prosser Creek, brought home second place for the Truckee team while teammate Ben Kantz finished third. Casey Haskell also skied very well finishing fifth with a time of 10:51.
The team’s next race will be at Mammoth at Twin Lakes cross country area on Jan. 12.
High School teams
The Tahoe-Truckee High School boys and girls’ junior varsity and varsity teams skied strongly in their first race of the season at Royal Gorge on Dec. 13. The girls’ varsity clinched first place for the day over North Tahoe, placing every skier in the top eight.
Strong performances by freshmen Lindsay Collin, Kara LaPoint and Whitney Prosor were encouraging for coach Nancy Gordon and her young team.
Collin secured second place with a time of 20:10, followed by Kara LaPoint in third, and Prosor in fourth. Sophomore Caitlin Oats was sixth in the pack and Kelly Collins rounded out the group in eighth with 22:79.
The girls junior varsity team also claimed first place in the 5 km race, finishing in front of Mammoth, North Tahoe and South Tahoe. Amber Johnson led the TNT pack with a time of 23:40 and Kayla Evans followed suit, finishing in 23:58.
Finishing a close second for the day, Truckee varsity boys’ lost to North Tahoe by three points. Nick Sterling skied impressively to finish second with a flat time of 16 minutes amidst a pack of competitors. The next Truckee racer to cross the line was Andrew VanBlarigan in 10th, with a time of 18:39.
Closely behind VanBlarigan, four Truckee racers, Daniel Coombs, Brian Beno, John coombs and Justin Popov battled it out to finish in the 12th through 15th positions.
Sophomore Tom Kleffman was the fastest boy in the junior varsity race, easily taking first with a time of 20:26. Lyle Poulin and Brendon Harry also raced well finishing in 22:18 and 22:19. These performances propelled Truckee to the lead, winning the junior varsity meet over second place Mammoth.
Both the boys and girls’ teams continue to practice, yet will take a hiatus from competition until the next race at Mammoth on Jan. 12.
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Several Truckee-Tahoe skiers will vie for Olympic medals next month.