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Locals head to nationals on Sierra College’s ski team

Sierra College’s Ski Team is back to the Collegiate National Championships.

Last week, the ski team secured a birth to the U.S. Collegiate Ski National Championships that started March 5 and ends Sunday, March 9 in Sunday River, Maine. The men’s team placed three in the top 10 as the No. 1 team in the state.

Local athletes played a big role in this event. Dan Alvey from Grass Valley won the first run of the Giant Slalom, beating the super power Sierra Nevada College athletes by .70 of a second. Had he not made a mistake, he would have received the overall victory. It was one of the biggest recovery moves I have ever seen on such a big stage. We needed him to finish. We would have liked him to pull off the victory for himself but it was more important for the team to finish strong.



Rafael Schopfer, from Colfax, had a huge season for the Wolverine Ski Team. Placing consistently in the top five with a second place run in the giant slalom at Diamond Peak and a third place finish at Northstar-At-Tahoe put a fear in opposing teams that this freshman means business and can mix it up with the big boys on any run.

Both Alvey and Schopfer have been long time teammates that raced together at Auburn Ski Club. Jake Larson from Cool was the overall athlete that clinched the regionals. He was also one of the Sierra skiers that consistently placed in the top 10. Judson Diehl had several top 10 finishes throughout the season that gave the much needed depth for the team to be a contender.




Bill Toney also had a top 15 result in the season.

Auburn’s own Kelly Conroy from Sierra College will be the individual female that will represent the region at the US National Championships. Kelly proved early in the season that she was a threat by placing consistently in the top five with a third place finish at Northstar-At-Tahoe, beating four-year Division I teams on a regular basis.

The freshman worked hard all season and she is starting to peak at the right time.

The Sierra College Ski Team was let go by Sierra College five seasons ago due to state cutbacks, but we are hopeful it will be picked up again do to the team’s consistent success, the national exposure it gives the college and the 39 high school ski programs that feed Sierra College.

The trip is going to be expensive for these athletes to compete. The team is asking for any assistance. All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Tax I.D. # 23-7241877. Make checks payable to: Sierra College Ski Team, 5000 Rocklin Rd., Rocklin CA 95677.

I would like to thank the community members that have already donated, it has meant a lot to the team to be able to compete. Your contributions have a direct effect on the success of the team.

Ryan Rodarte is the head coach of the Sierra College Ski Team.


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