HRV skiers endure difficult day on hill

MT. HOOD MEADOWS — A week after appearing invincible on the hill, the HRV ski teams showed that they are human on Saturday, neither registering a team time after an unthinkable number of crashes.

For the girls, Jodie Gates, Candice Hoag and Shanna Cochran each fell on their first runs, while for the boys team, Geordie Oates fell on his first run and Marc Reed on his second.

“All in all, the day was one of the worst I’ve ever experienced throughout all my ski racing years,” junior Candice Hoag said. “The entire girls team was pretty emotional about the outcome, but we should still be able to win the league title — assuming we win the rest of the races.”

But, as the girls found out Saturday, nothing is a given — except maybe the overall winner. Lindsay McClure surprised no one Saturday, winning her fourth race of the year by a whopping eight seconds, with times of 0:56.64 and 1:00.44. Her first-run time was also the best on the day for the entire field of both boys and girls.

Teammate Lauren Emmerson put together a strong effort to win third-place overall — her best finish this season. One surprise on the day was the performance of JV skier Aileen Herlitz. Filling for Cochran, who injured her knee on a fall during her first run, Herlitz had little trouble with the choppy course and went on to finish in 12th place overall — another season’s best.

Gates and Hoag, the team’s No. 2 and 3 skiers, were able to bounce back in their second runs and post solid individual times. In fact, Hoag’s time of 1:07.31 on the second run was third best among the girls’ field.

“I managed to finish,” a modest Hoag said. “I was very tentative and skied conservatively. At that point, I didn’t care about my time. I just wanted to finish cleanly.”

Two guys who finished squeaky clean Saturday were Luke McCarthy (4th overall) and Luke Pennington (8th overall). The rest of the team, however, had its problems.

Reed started off strong with an 0:57.55 time on his first run, but wiped out on the second and was disqualified. Oates’ fate was the other way around as he was DQ’d on the first run and finished the second run in 1:16.30.

The team was without its No. 1 guy, Justin Wiley, after he broke his collarbone earlier in the week. It also competed without Alec Asbridge, who was ill.

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