Sometimes, all it takes is a little adversity to rally a team together.
After learning that it may be without senior No. 2 Jodie Gates for the remainder of the season, the HRV girls ski team banded together and posted the fastest team time at last Saturday’s Mt. Hood Conference Giant Slalom race at Mt. Hood Meadows.
“The girls are really pulling together now that Jodie is out,” coach Jessica Gunesch said. “Jodie’s experience will be missed, but we still have some strong skiers that can help us compete every week.”
Gunesch said that Gates, who is on medical leave, will continue to support her teammates by attending races and team meetings.
In her absence, senior No. 1 Candice Hoag posted the second-fastest individual finish of the day to contribute 70.38 points to HRV’s winning total of 215.15 points.
Freshman Jessica McMorran (72.24, fourth overall) and sophomore Shanna Cochran (72.53, fifth overall) also had superb outings to help push the Eagles past second-place Barlow by .30 points.
Rounding out the girls results, sophomore Aileen Herlitz finished 22nd overall.
In the boys race, three HRV skiers finished in the top five to push the Eagles past league favorite, Sandy, by one point.
Freshman Tyler Nelson blazed to a second-place overall finish with 64.79 points, while senior Justin Wiley took third overall with 65.84 points. Sophomore Alec Asbridge took fourth with 66.04 points.
Junior Luke Pennington finished fourth on the team and in eighth place overall. Freshman Kyle Griffith rounded out the boys varsity results with an 18th place finish.
“Our guys team is really starting to come alive,” Gunesch said. “Each of the top four was really impressive, but Alec maybe surprised us the most. He really stepped it up. If our top four ski like that every week, we’ll be right in there with Sandy.”
HRV finished with 196.67 team points, while Sandy was a close second with 197.86 points. Individual winner Cooper Raasch of Sandy barely outskied Nelson by 33 hundredths of a second. But the key to the Eagles victory was the effort by Wiley and Asbridge.
“They’re going to do great this year, as long as they can stand up,” Hoag said in reference to last year’s team, which failed to qualify for state because of too many falls.
HRV is back in action on Saturday at Anthony Lakes.