By BEN MCCARTY
News staff writer
March 7, 2007
The picture at Mount Ashland looked a little different for HRV skiers at the State Alpine Championships last week. The varsity girls’ team, undefeated in the Mt. Hood League, met stiff competition by out-of-the-area teams with competitively trained racers, made all the more challenging by powdery racing conditions.
The varsity girls team and two varsity boys qualified for State, with the girls’ team finishing fourth place overall.
“Our girls’ team did not meet many PNSA (Pacific Northwest Ski Association) racers this season, which is a whole other level of youth ski racing,” relays Coach Peter Nance. “In Ashland, they did. Only 12 girls’ teams qualified for State, so to earn our spot by winning our league, and to place fourth in slalom and giant slalom was incredible.”
Hood River’s Kayla Lloyd placed ninth in the girls combined with a great individual effort, which she managed with an 11th place in giant slalom and a 12th place in slalom.
Toby Carratt, who was the team’s fifth seed with a start number in the mid-70s, took 16th place in the giant slalom. Ashley Kastner placed 23rd in Slalom out of 84 girls racing.
Representing HRV boys were Colton Swearingen and Sam Mears. Swearingen placed 17th in the giant slalom, while Mears placed 33rd in slalom out of 102 racers. “The first day on the boys’ slalom course was absolutely brutal,” Nance said. “You could hide a Volkswagon in some of those ruts.”
“These racing conditions were unlike any we encountered all season. Mount Ashland had six feet of snow in eight days and it snowed every day we were there,” recounts Nance.
Other Eagle girls shined with single runs that might have placed them in the top 25 were it not for upsets in their additional runs. Morgan Nance ended up 56th, Jessica Ostler 61st, and Claire Snelling 69th in slalom.
In giant slalom, Ashley Kastner was 39th, Jessica Ostler 43rd , and Claire Snelling 56th. Whitney Fox and Molly McCulloch attended as alternates.
Snelling had an incredible first run in giant slalom, according to Nance, overtaking the girl in front of her resulting in interference.
“Overall I am very pleased with the season. The group of kids who made up this team is an outstanding group of young people,” Nance said. “The coaching staff is all looking forward to being back next year. We’re sorry to lose some seniors but we’re fortunate to have a core group of junior, sophomore and freshman boys and girls, so the building on the both sides should be excellent.”