By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
February 14, 2007
HRV ski team’s boys answered the coach’s call in Saturday’s Mt. Hood League race at Ski Bowl with a second place finish, while the Eagle girls garnered another first place amid some challenges.
Hood River placed six girls in the top 10, with Kayla Lloyd and Ashley Kastner finishing second and third place respectively. Toby Carratt, Whitney Fox and Morgan Nance followed suit with fifth, sixth and seventh place finishes, while Caley Melton capped a 10th. Molly McCulloch turned in a 15th and Katherine Rouse a 19th place.
Nearly across the board, the Eagle boys ratcheted up their finishes, placing six racers in the top 20. Colton Swearingen’s second place and Nick Maslen’s seventh helped bump the boys’ team into second place for this event. Gary Paasch, who began skiing just last year, turned in an amazing 11th place, followed by Taylor Bentz, Sam Mears, and Taylor Eaton in corresponding 12th, 13th and 14th. Logan Merriam, Tyler Sassara and Zach Eaton helped with 22nd, 24th and 25th place finishes.
Swearingen, Maslen, Paasch, Bentz and Merriam had their personal best finishes of the season in this race.
The top six gates on West Wall were set on the steepest racing terrain so far this season, and changing weather conditions added to the challenge. As the day progressed, racers experienced a winter blizzard at the top, and heavy rain at bottom.
“It was by far the most challenging course, and the snow deteriorated very quickly, leading to dangerous racing conditions,” Eagles coach Peter Nance explained.
Two of the Eagles’ top varsity racers sustained injuries during crashes on the course. Jessica Ostler injured her ankle, while Claire Snelling hurt her knee. A racer from another team was taken off in a toboggan.
“It was a tough race, and with injuries sustained, it was the most costly we’ve had,” Nance said.
Saturday’s race was also the first of the season without an individual first place finish for any of the Hood River girls.
“There is competition in the league. We’ve been making it look easy but it isn’t as easy as it seems,” Nance said. “It’s easier to get to number one than it is to stay at number one. In ways, it was good for the girls to have had a tough race like this.”
With the teams last race this Saturday, the teams coaches are expecting the boys side to build on how well they’ve done in this last event.