Truckee skiers targeting the ‘monster’ |

Truckee skiers targeting the ‘monster’

Jamie Bate

With the strongest turn out of students in roughly five years, Truckee High Alpine Ski Team coach Pat Mooney has high hopes for his skiers.And that played out Wednesday, as Truckee’s Josh Benge was the top skier at the Tahoe Basin Ski League’s first event at Alpine Meadows. Benge finished first on two combined runs of 56.87. For the girls, Paola Teran placed in seventh, with a combined 1:01.18. Overall, Truckee skiers posted a solid second place, 312, behind perennial power North Tahoe, 356.

“We were very close,” Mooney said. “We’re hoping to hold on to second place this year.”Truckee finished the 2003-04 season in third place.With 19 skiers starting Wednesday on the boys squad and nine on the girls’, Mooney said the team is the strongest it’s been in years.

“It’s the most boys we’ve had start in about five or six years. The varsity boys and junior varsity are pretty strong,” Mooney said. “Most of our top racers are returning and we have a whole slew of incoming freshman.”The number of female skiers is the most the team has had for “a long time,” said Mooney, who has headed the team for 11 years.As for challenging North Tahoe, Mooney said second place was a good showing. And on Wednesday, the Truckee boys finished only three points behind the powerhouse, which fielded 40 skiers.

“North Tahoe is the ski monster,” Mooney said. “They’re more than just a rival, they are the target.”It’s not like they are out of reach. The boys were right behind them,” he said.The next race is Jan. 12 at Kirkwood.