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Wolverines take four first places

LARA MULLIN, Sierra Sun

The trip to Mammoth Lakes on Friday, Jan. 12 was an especially slow one for the Tahoe-Truckee cross country ski team as the roads were icy from Thursday’s storm. The team left Truckee High School at 5 a.m. and barely arrived at the race in time to change, wax up, and pre-ski the lap course.

In the end, the Wolverines took home four first place finishes for the day and made their mark in what promises to be another successful year for the talented team.

Nick Sterling blasted through the 6K course, lapping many of the later starters in the dual-interval race. He grabbed first place for Truckee with 23:26, and Andrew Van Blarigan claimed fourth place finishing in 24:16.

Justin Popov, Brian Beno, Tom Kleffman and Robby Beno also scored well for the varsity boys team, scoring enough points to propel the Wolverines into first place with 83 points over second place North Tahoe.

Ryan Popov led the JV team, finishing first with a time of 30:32. The Wolverine team only had three skiers due to team members’ absences, and Doug Coombs and Wes Ajari both placed in the top ten. These strong finishes were enough to offset the team’s small numbers and scored enough points to claim second place overall for Truckee.

Racing effortlessly through the course and showing the other girls how it is done, Truckee’s Kara LaPoint and Betsy Van Blarigan won first and second place with times of 27:43 and 28:12 respectively. Shannon Lankenau stayed close to the leaders finishing in fourth, followed by Lindsay Collin in sixth place. The Lady Wolverines crushed their opponents, easily capturing first place overall over North Tahoe in second.

The junior varsity girls team followed the example of the varsity, grabbing first place as a team and first and second in the individual standings. Michelle Dowart skied remarkably well to claim the top spot, shadowed by Kayla Evans in second. Amber Johnson and Kati Clark also finished in the top ten for the JV girls, providing enough points to come out on top of North Tahoe for the Wolverines third team win of the day.

Coach Nancy Gordon and the skiers were particularly pleased with their success in light of the fact that six boys were absent for the race.

“Nick Sterling’s performance was jaw-dropping awesome. He’s training seriously, has great focus, determination and a very positive attitude,” said Gordon.

The team’s next race is Saturday, Jan. 20 at Auburn Ski Club.

Alpine team does well

Alpine Meadows was the site of the first race of the 2001 Alpine ski season last Wednesday, Jan. 10. The Giant Slalom race was the first opportunity for Coach Pat Mooney and his small team to gauge the other teams in the league as well as assess their own potential this season.

Finishing third overall, the Wolverines skied well as Mike Thomas took home first place in the varsity boys race. Peter O’Neill, who looked strong in the time trials on Monday Jan. 8 with a third place post, finished sixth in Wednesday’s race.

Joe Auckenthaler, who claimed the top spot in time trials, landed 12th place individually – adding essential team points to the Wolverine total.

For the girls team, Heidi Anderson finished third and Kim Smith, who was the second fastest skier in the time trials, finished 11th. The team’s next race is a slalom next Wednesday Jan. 24 at Heavenly.


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