TTHS boys win first race of season, girls still struggling

JAMES BALL, Sierra Sun

It took several tries and a lot of perseverance, but the Tahoe-Truckee High School boys’ nordic team came away with its first win of the season Monday at Auburn Ski Club in the all-league midseason championship meet.

In fact, five of the six Truckee teams in competition won their respective races, while the girls’ varsity squad continued to battle the North Tahoe powerhouse girls’ team, which has won every race this year.

Leading the way for the varsity boys was Nick Sterling (19:31.2), who finished in second place behind Nevada Union’s Ian Hill (19:22.5) in the 6K mass start skate race. Chris Waller was Truckee’s second fastest skier in 20:11.5 for sixth place, while Josh Bennett secured seventh with his 20:23.1 race time.

Louis Van Blarigan was ninth in 20:38.3; Jesse Steverman, 13th in 21:35.6; Justin Popov, 16th in 21:43.0; Brian Beno, 19th in 22:40.6 and John Coombs, 22nd among 37 racers in 23:01.8.

The boys’ team garnered 279 points, enough to vault them past Nevada Union, which had 275 and North Tahoe with 272.

“One of the reasons the boys had a better race was that they trained pretty hard for the past few weeks and they were pretty focused,” said Truckee coach Olof Carmel. “They knew – second to state – this was the most important race.”

Carmel also said the boys’ familiarity with the course helped them in the win.

JV boys

Daniel Coombs finished first in the junior varsity race with a 22:19.3 finish, and was followed by Jeremy Popov and Brian Jitloff in second and third, respectively.

It was also the JV boys’ first win of the season.


In the girls’ race, Truckee’s 271 points was not enough to catch North Tahoe, which earned 290.

In what is becoming standard practice, four of the top five spots were taken by North Tahoe racers, with the first place going to Jessica Ford from Lee Vining High School.

Despite being second, Truckee filled eight of the top 15 finish times.

TTHS racer Betsy Van Blarigan (24:17.0) finished in sixth place, just behind North Tahoe’s Rory Besio.

Shannon Lankenau (24:44.0) was seventh, Justyn Cooper (26:18.0) was ninth, Elia Burrill (27:12.1) was 11th, Allison Bergen (27:15.8) was 12th, Kelly Collins (27:48.8) was 13th, Dawn Vanscoy (27:50.4) was 14th and Courtney Burton (28:51.5) was 15th.

JV girls

Jana Bergen took the top spot in the JV girls’ race with a 27:58.4, just ahead of North Tahoe’s Hillary Robins with 28:02.1.

Kaitlan Steverman and Amber Johnson finished third and fourth, respectively. With three of the top four racers from Truckee High, the JV girls beat Nevada Union 279-269 for first place.


At the intermediate level, both the boys’ and girls’ teams from Sierra Mountain Middle School won their respective races, as well.

Led by Kara LaPoint with a 13:17.3 finish on the 3K mass start skating race, six of the top 10 racers were from SMMS.

Abby Grimmer, Catlin Oats, Michelle Dorwart, Kayla Evans and Witney Prosor rounded out the top 10 for Truckee.

Andrew Van Blarigan was tops in the boys’ intermediate race, posting a 12:55.8 finish.

Van Blarigan was followed closely by Joaquin Goodpaster in second and Ryan Popov in third.

Brett Poulin finished sixth, Kyle Kelly was seventh, Tom Kleffman was eighth and Doug Coombs was ninth.

“For the first time this season, everything gelled,” Carmel said. “It was exciting to see Nick (Sterling) skiing so well that he was briefly in front of Ian (Case). I give a lot of credit to Nick; he’s skiing really well.”

The next race is tomorrow at Tahoe Donner, starting at 10 a.m.

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