Winter Sports Preview: Nordic ski team returns two state champs
The Truckee High School Nordic Ski Team’s opponents have plenty to fear in 2003-2004.The two biggest reasons are sophomores Matt Gelso and Maisha Goodpaster, the defending state champions in the California-Nevada Interscholastic Ski & Snowboard Federation.Amazingly, Gelso and Goodpaster were able to accomplish the feat in their freshman years, when most usually spend their first year learning the slopes on the junior varsity team.”They stuck to their training program,” said Nancy Gordon, who is entering her seventh tenure as head coach of the Nordic Ski Team, “but I still don’t think they expected it. For the seniors, there are a lot more outside distractions.”Besides the young blood, six senior girls will make up the varsity nucleus this season: Kati Clark, Lindsay Collin, Kayla Evans, Jessica Hooper, Kara LaPoint and Whitney Prosor.Joaquin Goodpaster, Katy Jones, and Jenny Van Blarigan are also expected to make big contributions this season, Gordon said.For the boys, the lone senior is captain Rob Beno, but as the team proved last year, class does not matter as much as experience.Gordon realizes that she could put just about any combination of kids on the slopes and compete.”We have such depth,” Gordon said, “and that allows for athletes that are ill or out-of-town to have good supports to take their place. With that kind of strength, we should do really well. We have a really diverse group.”In addition to Gelso and Beno, Gordon expects Ben Kantz, Sam Sterling, Ben Van Blarigan and Owen Wright to turn heads this season.The team is 42 players strong, with 16 skiers competing in the varsity level at each event. The rest are considered junior varsity.Gordon has a huge turnout each season because skiing is so popular in the Truckee area among kids.”One of the reasons we are so strong is because the middle school program is so strong,” Gordon said. “They make it fun, so the kids want to ski. We have such a great foundation and such great community support.”On the nordic team, the kids must learn and demonstrate two disciplines of skiing – skate and classic. The main difference lies in the length of skis and poles used.The ski team calls Tahoe-Donner Nordic Center home, holding practices and hosting competitions there.”We have a locker up there, and it’s easier for the kids to drive to than the Auburn Ski Club,” Gordon said.The team occasionally practices at the Auburn Ski Club, and today it will open the season there in a 3 X 1 and a 3 X 3 skate relay. The team held time trials this week to prepare for the opener.Gordon plans to step down as head coach this year if the right things happen, basically to slow the pace of life.”It’s a lot of work, especially with a team this size,” Gordon said. “There’s a lot of paperwork involved.”Jon Halverson, in his first year as an assistant to Gordon, is waiting in the wings to replace Gordon.Gordon, in contrast to her desire to slow down in life in general, suggests the opposite to her team when it comes to strategy.What is Gordon’s biggest piece of advice for her skiers?”Go fast,” she said.Varsity BoysRob Beno* Matt GelsoJoaquin GoodpasterSam SterlingAlex TaylorSpencer WoodOwen WrightVarsity GirlsKati ClarkSarah ClarkLindsay CollinKayla Evans* Maisha GoodpasterKara LaPointAlexandra O’NeilWhitney ProsorJunior Varsity BoysBen AldridgeJosh CaseyEvan CarrollBrian CoombsDylan CurryBrendan DriscollBlake HeckendornBen KantzLoren MeyersSean PowersColin ShaneGarrett ThompsonBen Van BlariganAlex WilliamsTyler WrightJunior Varsity GirlsAlexis AuckenthalerKristin DeeterSarah HeckendornJessica HooperKaty JonesArienne RevaiHolly RudolphMeg ToombsJenny Van BlariganDiana WaiteRachel WallerKaitie Zusy* 2002-2003 CNISSF state champions
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