Sierra College ties for fourth at USCSA Nationals
The Sierra College men’s alpine ski team placed fourth out of 19 schools in the combined results at the U.S. Collegiate Ski Association (USCSA) National Championships at Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett, Maine, held March 4-6.
Coming off a first-place state finish, Sierra College, which has a campus in Truckee, was one of only two junior colleges that qualified for nationals.
“It’s really tough not having juniors and seniors,” said Sierra College head coach Ryan Rodarte.
There is more strife involved, as well. Due to budgetary reasons, the ski team was one of five sports cut from Sierra College in 2004. Through the help of donations and team fundraisers, the team was able to keep alive a program that has a legacy dating back to the 1930s under the Placer College name.
Despite the disadvantage and difficult odds, local talent Ahren Renner led Sierra to its best team result in more than 20 years, Rodarte said.
More than 120 of the nation’s top athletes qualified for the U.S. Nationals. Going into the races, Sierra College was ranked 10th among four-year universities, even though it is technically a junior college. But the team hoped to get a top-five placing, Rodarte said, and it did just that.
On March 4, in the men’s Giant Slalom, Sierra College earned seventh place. Renner, a Truckee resident, led his team with a ninth-place finish. Nate Nesset was 24th, Miles Mott 48th, Alex Odt 53rd and Matt Millar did not finish.
On March 6, in the men’s Slalom, Renner again shined with a third-place podium finish. Renner’s performance propelled Sierra to a fourth in the team slalom. Nesset was 18th, Mott 35th and Odt and Jon Vanroo did not finish.
“We were counting on Ahren to start the team off with a solid first run,” Rodarte said. “The course was very tough and technical, perfect for Ahren’s technique. He did his job and then some by posting the second-fastest time on the first run. I knew Ahren could get in (the top 3).
“Nate Nesset would have posted a top 15 if he hadn’t made a mistake on the first run. We relied heavily on our two sophomores (Renner and Nesset) to come through, and they did.”
Sierra College ended tied for fourth with University of Massachusetts in the combined results. Renner was named a first team All-American in the alpine men’s slalom and in the combined ranks. Nesset was named a second team All-American in the slalom.
Sierra Nevada College, located in Incline Village, swept all the events for first place.
For any skiers interested in the Sierra College program, or if any alumni or community members wish to donate to the ski team, call Ryan Rodarte at 550-9604.