TTHS wins 4th straight state cross-country ski title
The New York Yankees built a baseball dynasty in the 1950s. The Boston Celtics created a basketball dynasty in the 1960s. The New York Islanders established an ice hockey dynasty in the 1970s.
And now it appears that the Tahoe-Truckee High School cross-country ski team has built a Nordic dynasty in the 1990s, as the Wolverines claimed their fourth straight state title Saturday at Auburn Ski Club.
“This is perhaps the strongest team with the best depth we’ve had,” said Wolverine coach Olof Carmel after seeing the Truckee boys’ team win by 18 points over Nevada Union and the girls’ team win by 38 points over North Tahoe. “Our athletes skied with a lot of heart today. I’m proud of them – they deserve their success.”
The Rassuchine family dynasty also continued at the championships, as siblings Tom and Jen Rassuchine both claimed their third individual state championship.
Going into the girls’ varsity race, junior Jen Rassuchine said she was a little apprehensive about the mass start of the seven-kilometer classic event which would decide the state title. But her worries proved to be unnecessary, as the diminutive junior was able to avoid traffic early on and establish a lead before the pack of 30 skiers had even left the Auburn Ski Club stadium. She would go on and cruise to a nearly two-minute win over the second place finisher, teammate Kristy Davis.
“I’m not strong at mass starts, but today’s went better than I though it would,” Jen said.
By the time Rassuchine returned to the stadium at the half-way point of the course, Rassuchine had a one-minute margin on her pursuers, leaving the large crowd of spectators with little question as to who would win the race.
“I went hard on the first lap,” Rassuchine said. “Then I rested a bit before the last few hills and then pushed myself to the finish.”
The real drama in the race came as Truckee’s Davis battled with Lee Vining’s Jessica Ford over the final few hundred meters of the course for second place. At the finish, Davis’ ski tip edged Ford’s by a few inches, giving her second place by one-tenth of a second.
Truckee’s third and fourth varsity scorers quickly followed Davis across the finish line, as Christina Harvey took fourth overall and Kim Collins placed fifth. Other Truckee varsity skiers were Justyn Cooper (seventh) and Kari Weller (11th).
“With five of the top seven times – 12 out of the top 25 including junior varsity times – it was a very impressive showing by the girls’ teams,” Carmel said.
Appearing in his final race as a Wolverine, senior Tom Rassuchine quickly took the lead from the field of 45 in the boys’ varsity race.
“I’ve skied with the high school team since I was in fourth grade, so I wanted to put a good ending on my high school career,” Rassuchine said. “I had been thinking about this race a lot and was pretty psyched up for it.”
Rassuchine had about 80 meters on teammate Spencer Archer after the first 3.5-kilometer lap and then gradually pulled away from Archer during the second lap for a 39-second victory.
“I’m pretty strong on hills and seemed to have the right wax on for the conditions,” Rassuchine said. “Spencer said I had fast skis on the flats.”
Truckee’s third and fourth scorers were James Beauchamp (eighth) and and Jimmy Leatherman (10th). Also in the varsity race for the Wolverines were Jesse Steverman (13th) and Chris Waller (18th).
“I’d have to say this team had a lot of depth,” Rassuchine said. “A few times earlier this season, when James missed a few races, I had some worry that we might lose a team race. But with James back, I wasn’t afraid of losing the team title today.”
Truckee also won both junior varsity races. In the boys’ race, Ashley Burrill, Josh Bennett, Stephen Lodge and Josh Andresen took four of the six top places to give the Wolverines a nine-point win over second-place Nevada Union. Truckee dominated the girls’ junior varsity race as Elia Burrill, Kelly Bush, Susan Lingelbach, Kelly Watson, Tracy Schegg, Katie Stock, Stephanie Bundy and Dawn Vanscoy claimed the first eight positions in the race.
(See results, Page 2B.)
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