‘Fast and furious:’ Nevada Union skiers carve out a near-full season despite late start
The Nevada Union alpine ski team has been busy.
“It’s been fast and furious,” said head coach Alexandra McDowell, noting her team first got the go-ahead to compete Jan. 29 and has since competed in four events. “We essentially had a full season.”
In a normal campaign, the Miners start racing in mid-December, and compete in about six regular season events. Those who qualify move on to the state championships in early March. Despite the late start, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the team will get in five total events with the finale coming today at Boreal.
State championships will not be held this year.
“They love it,” McDowell said of her team. “Just to be outside, to be racing, to be talking to people other than their family. They really, really enjoyed it and they are just so eager to learn and are so responsive. … Just a really wonderful group to be working with.”
Due to several sports playing out of their normal seasons, ski team participation was smaller than usual with just eight members on the girls team, and no boys team at all.
“We ended up with a very young girls team,” said McDowell, noting five of the eight on the girls squad are new to the team.
Leading the group on the slopes is senior captain Sarah Kellermann, who placed third overall at Monday’s giant slalom time trial held at Alpine Meadows.
Kellermann also scored a fourth place finish in the season opener, Feb. 2, and an eighth place finish, Feb. 24.
NU’s Kayla Bullock was right behind Kellermann on Monday, placing fourth overall to give the team two in the top-four.
Fellow Miners Sophia Goodwin, Skyla Kerr, Megan Hundemer, Lydia Franza, Hannah Molitor and Gabrielle Goodwin have also fared well throughout the season, helping the team place second overall at three of the events, and third at another.
The Miners compete against squads from Colfax, Placer and Davis.
McDowell noted the team has been good about following all COVID-19 safety guidelines, and Alpine Meadows — where the first four events were held — has done a great job of putting on the events while adhering to all the safety protocols.
“The thing I always want (NU skiers) to do is have fun,” said McDowell, “The silver lining is there is this crazy worldwide pandemic going on, but if we take these small precautions, like wearing a mask, we can make this happen. We can have a ton of fun, be outside, be healthy and engage with other people.”
DRIVEN, FOCUSED AND COMMITTED
Nevada Union’s nordic ski team has also been putting in time on the snow, competing in four races already with their finale taking place today.
“It’s been a good season,” said head coach Amy Van Voorst. “The kids actually got to race. … It’s really about teaching the kids a new sport. Something they can do for the rest of their lives. That’s our focus.”
Van Voorst said NU’s team consisted of five skiers, led by Cody Jones.
“He’s been racing since he was a small kid, and this is his senior year,” she said. “He’s gotten a lot stronger and he’s focused, and he has done very well this year.”
Leading the charge for NU’s girls team has been junior Megan Schreck and freshman Sara Sullivan.
“The highlight for me is the camaraderie with the athletes, the support and the stick-to-it-ness to come out,” Van Voorst said. “It’s not an easy sport. You have to be fit in order to do it. And they’re just so driven, focused and committed. Just to see these amazing kids come out and do a sport that doesn’t come naturally for most people.”
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Given the job loss associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits’ social services were greatly impacted.