GOVERNMENT CAMP — HRV ski coach Jon Copper set a goal for his team at the start of the 2002 season: To win the state combined title.
Although the boys have had some difficult outings this year, they still had a chance to capture the final Mt. Hood Conference state berth with a win over The Dalles Saturday at Ski Bowl.
However, as bad luck would have it, the Indians made the Eagles pay for their early-season mishaps, and skied away with the MHC’s third seed, forcing the HRV boys to wait until next year.
Disappointed as they were, Justin Wiley (third overall), Marc Reed (19th overall) and Luke Pennington (DNF) still qualified to race individually at state. Alec Asbridge (fifth overall) and Geordie Oates (DNF) will look to help the team qualify in 2003.
The HRV girls team, on the other hand, will be competing at state, only not from the start position they envisioned preseason. Instead of being the team to beat heading in, the Eagles will have to surpass a surging Sandy team, which claimed the No. 1 MHC seed Saturday with a dominating 12-second win.
Although the Eagles finished third on the day, they still benefitted from strong performances by Jodie Gates (second overall) and Candice Hoag (fifth overall) in the absence of team No. 1 Lindsay McClure, who was competing at Mt. Bachelor.
Lauren Emmerson (11th overall) and Aileen Herlitz (23rd overall) were each able to complete their two runs, but their combined times weren’t enough to push HRV past Barlow into second place.
The Bruins, led by Saturday’s winner, Elisha Webb, will represent the MHC as the third seed when the state race begins March 7 at Mt. Hood Meadows.
“I think I speak for everyone when I say Saturday was the biggest letdown of the season,” Hoag said. “The girls were all pretty bummed that we didn’t win the conference title.
“But being second doesn’t put us out of the hunt for a state title. All it means is we have to work that much harder than the other girls, which we are fully capable of doing. Plus, we have the hill advantage, so hopefully that will give us the upper hand,” she said.