CNISSF snowboard finals opening today
For the next two days, 24 western Nevada County snowboarders will take to the slopes of Mammoth Mountain in hopes of bringing back individual and team medals from the California Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation State Meet.
Eleven of those 24 racers qualified to compete in the state meet for the first time in their careers, with four of those 11 doing so as seniors. The Nevada Union snowboarding team sends 12 snowboarders, three of them sophomores, with Bear River totaling eight, two of them sophomores.
Both the Miners and the Bruins hail from the Central II Division, with six divisions coming together to compete at the state meet. Each boys race consists of 115-130 racers, with 100-115 in the girls field.
“The big story of the state meet may be the weather,” Nevada Union coach Samson Smith said. “The snow conditions will be great for free riding, but maybe not for racing.”
Sending 12 snowboarders to the state meet is quite a feat for the Nevada Union team, but is not the record for the program. Smith said the Miners sent 13-14 snowboarders in the program’s second year, the year they won the state championship, but not each snowboarder qualified in both the slalom and giant slalom.
This season, every Miner going to state will compete in both events, with three racers seeded in the elite top 12 category. Each of the six divisions take the top two boy and girl racers in each event and send them into a special category.
No matter how those top 12 racers do on their first run, they will still go down the mountain as the first 12 racers on the second run, which usually ensures being treated to a smoother course. Racers not in the top 12 take their second run in order of the speed of their first run.
Senior Doug Potter earned No. 1 seeds in slalom and giant slalom from the Central II Division, with junior Caitlin Chase drawing No. 2 seeds in both events. Senior Drew Kremple is a No. 1 seed in the giant slalom, but a No. 3 in slalom, meaning her first run in that event will be anywhere from No. 13 to No. 18 and her second run will be based on the speed of her first run.
Sophomore Marco Maynard earned a No. 5 seed in the giant slalom and a No. 6 in the slalom, giving him a top 30 start in both.
Last season, the Miners finished fifth as a team at state with Smith saying that the team had some issues and a few “unfortunate turn of events” that hurt its performance.
“The kids coming back this year went away from last year saying it wasn’t going to happen again,” Smith said.
“We’ve gone through the difficulties of adjusting gear and getting our heads on straight at races and the bugs should all be worked out now. North Tahoe is the main team we’re concerned with and Mount Shasta and El Dorado usually have good teams as well.”
Mount Shasta won the team competition last season, with North Tahoe being the Miners’ main rival in the Central II Division.
In division races, the top four racers from each team count toward team points, but at the state meet only the top three count – something Smith said works in favor of Nevada Union.
“I’ll gladly put our top three finishers against North Tahoe’s top three finishers,” Smith said. “If we have standup runs, it will be an extremely tight race.”
Potter is one of the front-runners for an individual championship with his main competition this season being George Fellows from Chester. Last season Potter finished third at state, fourth as a sophomore and 19th as a freshman.
Teammate Maynard, in his second trip to state, turned in especially strong races at the end of the season, with both Smith and Potter warning to watch for him on the podium as well.
Sophomore Evan Peake returns to state this year with classmate Jared Olson and seniors Austin Baker and Jordan Golnik all qualifying for the first time.
In the girls races, the biggest competition Kremple and Chase will face may be each other, with senior Allysa Fennelly and junior Lisa Pichitino returning as state meet veterans. Senior Tanzi Lampert and junior Chelsea Ulinski head to Mammoth for the first time in their careers.
“We know our team has a lot of depth,” Kremple said. “It’s not just two or three outstanding racers, but a whole team filled with people who could podium.”
Smith agreed with Kremple saying his team is so deep that its even hard for him to predict who will earn points for the team.
The racers compete in the giant slalom today and the slalom Thursday.
Of the eight racers the Bruins send to state, six of them are going for the first time. Senior Drew Goodrow and junior Megan Streeter are the only state veterans for the squad, with Streeter only qualifying to compete in the giant slalom.
After going to ski state last season, junior Diana Paasch heads to snowboard state this season to compete in both events with sophomore Brittnie Shepard competing in both events as well. Junior Lauren Tostado races in just the slalom.
Goodrow and senior John Plagmeir are in both events with sophomore Robbie Stoddart in the slalom and senior Ryan O’Neill in the giant slalom.
“I think our best hopes for top finishes on the team will be John, Drew and Megan,” Bear River assistant coach Trevor Sanders said.
To contact sportswriter Stacy Hicklin, e-mail email@example.com or call 477-4244.
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
New season. New co-head coaches. Same expectations.