Prep alpine ski racing | Lakers Driller, English claim multiple state titles

On any given day, any one of the top-tier racing veterans in the Tahoe Basin Ski League was capable of laying down a winning run.

In the biggest races of the season last week — the NIAA Division I-A Tahoe Basin Ski League state championships at Sierra-at-Tahoe — it was North Tahoe’s Garrett Driller and Francesca English who earned final bragging rights.

Driller won individual titles in both the giant slalom and the slalom, giving him the combined title as well, while English won the GS championship and was second in the slalom to bring home the girls combined title.

North Tahoe also claimed the girls GS team championship and the boys combined, while Truckee’s boys won the team slalom title.

The top three schools during the regular season — North Tahoe, South Tahoe and Truckee — were allowed to bring their best eight boys and best eight girls. The rest of the schools, meanwhile — Whittell, Incline, Douglas and Carson — received wild-card entries based on individual point standings.

The state championships kicked off with the GS on Monday and wrapped up with head-to-head, dual-elimination slalom races on Tuesday.

Driller captured the GS title ahead of runner-up Scott Lebel of Truckee and Hughston Norton of Whittell, while Truckee’s Nico Kuyper was fifth. Driller then eliminated racer after racer in the dual-elimination slalom before defeating South Tahoe’s Alec Jobbins in the final. Lebel finished third in the slalom, while Truckee’s Wes Harrington and Kuyper and North Tahoe’s Lucas Earley all skied into the quarterfinal round.

Lebel finished runner-up to Driller in the combined. Connor McKeen of South Tahoe was third and was followed by Jobbins and Kuyper.

With two racers in the top five, South Tahoe’s boys took the team combined title with 201 points to Truckee’s 199 and North Tahoe’s 184. Truckee’s boys, with three racers earning top-five finishes, won the slalom with 97 points to South Tahoe’s 94 and North Tahoe’s 79. South Tahoe’s boys claimed the GS team win, posting 107 points, while North Tahoe was second with 105 points and Truckee third with 102.

On the girls’ side, North Tahoe claimed the combined team title with 199 points. South Tahoe’s girls were second with 189 points and Truckee’s girls rounded out the combined results with 186 points. The Laker girls also won the GS championship, with 109 points to Truckee’s 98 and South Tahoe’s 92, while the South Tahoe girls won the slalom title with 97 points to North Tahoe’s 90 points and Truckee’s 88.

Individually, English finished first in the GS on Day 1 and was runner-up to Whittell wild card Michael Gardner in Tuesday’s dual slalom, which was good enough to be crowned the combined champion ahead of Gardner and Truckee’s Mo Lebel.

Maia Bickert of South Tahoe was second in the GS and Truckee’s Mo Lebel and Sabrina Futrol placed third and fifth, respectively. Mo Lebel recorded a fourth-place finish in the dual slalom, while Futrol and the Lakers’ Bozhie Pokorney skied into the quarterfinals. Futrol was fifth in the combined.

Also awarded at the state championships were the Tahoe Basin Ski League’s All-League team, as well as the final team standings from the regular season.

Truckee’s Colin Gerrard was second in the All-League standings, North Tahoe’s Nico Monforte was seventh, Harrington was eighth, and North Tahoe’s Drew Austin was ninth and Harrison Goss 10th. Connor McKeen of South Tahoe accumulated the most points for league MVP honors.

In girls All-League, Gardner was the MVP and was followed by Bickert and North Tahoe’s Jessica Tidd. Pokorney was eighth, and teammates Johanna Gur and Nicole Marinoff were ninth and 10th, respectively.

North Tahoe’s girls won the regular-season title ahead of South Tahoe and Truckee. South Tahoe took the boys regular-season title in front of Truckee and North Tahoe. And in the combined, South Tahoe finished first while North Tahoe was second and Truckee third.

— Tahoe Daily Tribune sports editor Becky Regan contributed to this story.

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