By ADAM LAPIERRE
News staff writer
March 8, 2006
After roughhousing local skiers with snowy, icy, windy and sub-zero conditions this season, Mount Hood cooperated in fine form last week for the 2006 State Skiing Championships. With sunny skies and ideal snow conditions, the annual who’s who of high school skiing brought hordes of young racers to the slopes of SkiBowl to compete for individual and team titles in the giant slalom and slalom.
And after two days of racing, the Hood River Valley High School ski team came through with a solid showing, placing fourth as a combined team behind Ashland, Bend and Sandy high schools.
“It went about as I expected,” Coach Jessica Gunesch said. “It went great and the team did really good. I think they were prepared mentally to be racing at state. We went in prepared and they all did great. And we couldn’t have asked for better weather this year.”
On the first day of racing, the girls hit the giant slalom course and the boys the slalom. On the second day they switched and results would be tallied for individuals in each event, individuals in combined events, by boys’ and girls’ teams individually and combined events, and by entire teams in combined events.
As a whole, in combined teams and combined events, the Eagles took fourth in the state. The girls’ team also finished fourth in the combined standings with a fifth place finish in the giant slalom and a third place finish in the slalom. First, second and third place finishers were Bend, Sandy and Ashland, in that order. The HRV boys didn’t place as high in the combined, finishing 14th out of 17 total teams, meaning the girls’ solid showing carried the combined team to its top-five finish.
Highlighting the girls’ showing were racers Kayla Lloyd, Chrisie Brock and Kaytlin Hughes. Lloyd raced fast and consistent, placing 11th in the giant slalom on Thursday and 15th in the slalom on Friday for a combined time fast enough for 10th place overall. Brock finished second for the Eagles with an 18th place combined showing off 19th and 20th place finishes in the two events.
Hughes finished 56th, which in itself was a middle-of-the-pack finish. Her day-two performance in the slalom is worth noting, however, as she finished fourth in the event out of 100 racers.
“The girls were very excited,” Gunesch commented. “We knew they could do that well as long as they held it together, which they did.”
Leading the HRV boys in both events was Tony Guisto, who finished with an 11th place overall standing out of the 115 racers who qualified from their individual leagues. The senior racer placed 18th in the slalom and 12th in the giant slalom, with a combined time of 19 seconds slower than the first place overall racer from Southerlin High School.
Sam Mears and Tyler Sassara were the only other HRV boys to complete all runs in both events: the two finished 58th and 65th respectively.
As anticipated, the Sandy High School boys took the combined title by a decent margin, with first place finishes in both events.
“I think the boys were a little overwhelmed and nervous,” Gunesch said. “But they still did well, especially for how young of a team they are.”
The team graduates only four seniors this year — Guisto, Matt Byrne, Jessica McMorran and Heather Van Swaay.
“The seniors gave great examples for the others all season,” Gunesch said. “They helped the team see how to train hard and race with confidence … We had a great season. The snow and the weather were great for us and we were able to train a lot. In general we’re a very young team so we’re going to keep getting better and better.”
HRVHS overall —
5th giant slalom
Kayla Lloyd — 10th overall
Kaytlin Hughes — 4th in slalom
Chrisie Brock — 18th overall
Claire Snelling — 28th giant slalom
Jessica Mc Morran — 42nd slalom
Ashley Kastner — 74th giant slalom
Tony Guisto — 11th overall
Sam Mears — 58th overall
Taylor Eaton — 61st giant slalom
Nick Maslen — 63rd giant slalom
Tyler Sassara — 65th overall