PREP SKIING: Miners wrap ski season with top-10 finishes at State Championships
An abundance of wet weather wreaked havoc on the high school alpine ski season, making for less than ideal racing conditions, causing several cancellations and even forcing an abbreviated State Championship competition.
But, none of that dampened the spirit of the Nevada Union ski team which puts as much, if not more, emphasis on having fun as they do finishing on the podium.
“The biggest thing about this team at Nevada Union is we all want to succeed and become better skiers and racers, but at the end of the day, it’s more about having fun on the mountain with your friends,” said senior Zoe Cohen, who competed at the California Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation’s State Championships for the fourth straight year.
Just because the focus is on having a good time, doesn’t mean the Miners are lacking success.
Facing the top competition from across California at Mount Shasta last week, the NU boys squad placed fifth as a team, and the girls took 10th overall.
“I’m super proud of their perseverance with the February that we had,” said head coach Alex McDowell, noting the team had every race and practice in February canceled due to weather and/or road closures. “We were going hot and strong in January then February came. But, I’m proud they were able to scramble and hold it all together. It’s easy to lose focus when you don’t train for a month.”
Despite the long layoff, several Miners were able to tally top-20 finishes at the state championships.
Leading the boys team was Judah Good who competed in both the giant slalom and slalom races at the state championships. Good’s best showing came in the giant slalom where he finished 12th in the state with a time of 46.06 seconds. Usually skiers will take two runs in each event, but Wednesday’s portion of the state championships was canceled due to weather, so skiers ran the giant slalom and slalom courses one time each on Thursday.
Ben Arenchild, a senior, wrapped up his high school ski career at the state competition, placing 18th in the slalom race and 26th in giant slalom.
Fellow senior Jake Schlothauer placed 20th in slalom and 35th in giant slalom.
“It’s definitely been something fun to do,” Schlothauer said of his time with the NU ski team. “I’d say it really added to my high school experience, to be a part of something like this.”
Also competing for the NU boys was junior Camden Breaux, who made his first appearance at a state championship. Breaux took 32nd in the slalom race.
“I was nervous coming up to my race, but as soon as I started it was a lot of fun,” he said. “I’m really excited to see what I can do next year.”
In the girls races, the Miners were led by senior Dannah Fournier, who placed fourth in the slalom race and seventh in giant slalom.
“For me, I just do it for the fun — the thrill of getting to the bottom — and the feeling of accomplishment,” she said.
Fournier, who just finished her third year racing varsity, also took on the role of assistant coach this season.
“Dannah had huge growth this year,” said McDowell. “Especially being the assistant coach for her senior project. It was nice growth for her and I think it kept the sport fresh for her.”
Fournier’s top-seven finishes at the state championships earned her a spot on the All-State Ski Team. The top-10 performers at the state competition make the All-State team. Fournier’s combined point total from the two races placed her fourth among all female competitors.
Cohen, a senior, also competed in both races for NU, placing 18th in giant slalom and 25th in slalom.
Fellow senior Lindsey Thomas also competed for NU, placing 42nd in the giant slalom race.
After three years on the team, Thomas said it is the bonds she has made with her teammates that will stick with her the most.
“I got really close to a lot of my teammates and I know I’ll be friends with them for years to come. That’s the biggest takeaway,” she said. “I also became a much better skier this year and in my three years in the ski program.”
Sophomore Haley McCormick rounded out the Miners competitors, placing 41st in the giant slalom race.
“It was a really fun course, and a really fun experience,” McCormick said. “It will help push me for my future years in high school.”
The squad from Colfax won the girls team title thanks to the trio of Karina Martel, Faith Cooper and Lou Pallandre. Cooper won the slalom event and placed fourth in giant slalom. Martel tied for second in slalom and was third in giant slalom. Pallandre took second in giant slalom and was 33rd in slalom.
Mammoth High School won the boys team title.
The CNISSF Snowboard State Championships were held last week as well, with the NU girls team placing fifth overall and the boys squad taking 19th.
Leading the girls team was Hazel Kyle, who placed seventh in the giant slalom race and eighth in slalom. Hazel’s impressive showing landed her on the All-State Snowboard Team.
NU’s Linden Lovett was strong in the giant slalom event, earning an 18th place finish. Lovett also competed in the slalom race and placed 42nd.
Also competing for the NU girls squad was Phoebe Bertan, who was 30th in giant slalom and 33rd in slalom.
For the NU boys, Maximillian Kenny was 30th in giant slalom and 45th in slalom. Lincoln Villnow was 50th in giant slalom. And, Joseph LaValley was 58th in slalom and 60th in giant slalom.
To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email email@example.com.
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