Prep Nordic skiing | Sugar Bowl Academy girls, North Tahoe boys win team titles |

Prep Nordic skiing | Sugar Bowl Academy girls, North Tahoe boys win team titles

Courtesy of David AntonucciSurrounded by North Tahoe teammates, Shane Christian holds up the Laker boys' first-place plaque from the CNISSF State Championship. Joining Christian (left to right) are Peter Holmes, Dominic Antonucci, Patrick McElravey and Jackson Wood.

It’s been a tough cross-country ski season, to be sure.

But all that dry-land training and hard work off the snow paid off for the North Tahoe boys’ and Sugar Bowl Academy girls’ varsity teams and#8212; as well as a number of individuals and#8212; at the CNISSF State Championship pursuit race at Auburn Ski Club this past Saturday.

Led by junior Patrick McElravey’s runner-up finish, the North Tahoe boys captured the team state championship title for the first time in perhaps a decade, said Lakers head coach Kara LaPoint.

and#8220;I am really happy with their performance and just really proud of them. They worked very hard for everything they accomplished; it was well deserved,and#8221; said LaPoint, who wasn’t exactly sure how many years it had been since the Laker boys’ last Nordic title. and#8220;I’m not positive, but it’s definitely been awhile, because Truckee has been a powerhouse.and#8221;

The Sugar Bowl Academy girls, meanwhile, continued their season-long dominance with a top-four sweep led by junior Katrin Larusson to earn the varsity girls’ title.

and#8220;All year the Sugar Bowl girls have been really strong, and it’s great to have such a strong group of women who can all push each other,and#8221; said Jeff Schloss, head coach of the Sugar Bowl Academy’s Nordic team, which is only in its third year. and#8220;You never know which one is going to come out on top on any given day. I think it’s really good for them, because it raised their level of skiing to be pushed by each other.and#8221;

The pursuit-style event featured two separate legs, starting with a mass-start, 2.7-kilometer classic race. Skiers then lined up for a 4-kilometer skate race based on their finishing times in the classic.

Truckee’s Jordan McElroy, a consistent top finisher throughout the regular season, laid down the fastest time in the classic, less than two seconds in front of McElravey. As it turned out, he needed every bit of that slight edge, as the two top contenders battled neck-and-neck until the finish, where McElroy took the win in a time of 19:58.8 to McElravey’s 20:00.5.

and#8220;They were so close the whole time, which is how they were all season,and#8221; LaPoint said. and#8220;Patrick had a really solid season. Last year he had a bit of a back injury that held him back a little bit, but this year he was able to really push himself and see what he could do.and#8221;

Sam Zabell, a Sugar Bowl Academy freshman who raced varsity all season, rounded out the top three in a time of 21:17.9.

and#8220;That was a great result for Sam as a freshman. He’s had a solid year all year, but I think that was probably his best race of the year,and#8221; Schloss said.

Zabell was followed by North Tahoe sophomores Peter Holmes (21:22) and Shane Christian (21:56.4) in fourth and fifth, respectively, to help lift the Laker boys to the team title.

and#8220;Peter and Shane were awesome this year. They really stepped it up,and#8221; LaPoint said of her underclassmen. and#8220;They put high expectations on themselves and knew we had a pretty good chance with the team that we had, and I think they took it on themselves to put in the work needed to get there.and#8221;

Incline sophomore Evan Vomund placed sixth in 22:22.7 and was trailed by Truckee’s Alex Kopytko (22:25.9) and Branden Deeter (22:51). The Sugar Bowl Academy’s Peter Carroll and South Tahoe’s Kyle Swain rounded out the top 10.

In the varsity girls’ race, the Sugar Bowl Academy’s winning performance was of little surprise after leading the way all season.

Larusson outdistanced teammates Cassidy Cichowicz, Laurel Fiddler and Joelle Romo to claim the individual title. After posting the fastest time in the classic leg, Larusson benefited from a two-second head start in the skate race, which she maintained till the finish to hold on for the win in a time of 22:54.7 to Cichowicz’s 23:06.9. Fiddler finished in 23:32.6 and Romo in 24:40.6.

Truckee’s consistent duo of standout freshmen, Gabrielle Rinne and Skyler Flora, finished fifth and sixth, respectively, with times of 24:42 and 25:01.5, while Incline senior Melanie Swick was seventh in 25:02.6, Raylene Chew was eighth, and the Sugar Bowl Academy’s Camille Hartley and Danielle Nivinski were ninth and 10th.

Truckee’s boys cleaned up in the open (JV) division, with Eli Yale (22:44.3), Brandon Flora (23:53), Aaron Deeter (23:53.6) and John Guerra (25:37.6) sweeping the top four spots. Savannah Blide of the Sugar Bowl Academy finished runner-up in the open girls’ race in a time of 26:18.5 to Mammoth’s Amanda Kirkeby’s 25:40.8. Truckee’s Annika Winans (29:36) was fourth and North Tahoe’s Ingrid Roske (20:09.5) was fifth.

Among the middle school contingent, Alder Creek’s girls once again left little doubt which team was most dominant, as the Cougars took the top six spots and 11 of the top 15. Hannah Halvorsen led the way with a winning time of 12:35.8 in the shorter race. She was followed by Lizzie Larkins, Jenna Rohlf, Kyla Burrill, Brianna Parker and Mia Winans, while North Tahoe’s Camile Syben was eighth. Alder Creek’s Olivia Yale was ninth and Claire Lang-Ree 10th.

On the boys’ side, North Tahoe controlled the leaderboard, with Julien Bordes (10:51.2) leading a sweep of the top three along with Dylan Syben (11:12) and Brandon Herhusky (12:05.2). The Sugar Bowl Academy’s Skyler Mullings came in fourth and was followed by Alder Creek’s Colin Deurlington, North Tahoe’s Cody Atwood and Alder Creek’s Ethan Rohlf, Ryland Belisle, Casey Jobe and Andrew Clusserath.

and#8220;It was a tough season with the lack of snow, but that allowed you to see who really wanted it and who didn’t,and#8221; LaPoint said.

Find a photo gallery from the race at

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