HRV’s tradition of fielding one of the most competitive ski teams in the state continued this weekend on the slopes of Mt. Ashland in southern Oregon, where the boys and girls alpine teams combined to take second place overall at the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association (OISRA) state championships late last week.
As they did last year, the boys team, fresh off its first-place finish in the Mt. Hood League, took first place in the boys combined standings thanks to gold and silver finishes in the slalom (SL) and giant slalom (GS), respectively, beating out 17 other teams. The girls placed ninth in the SL and second in the GS for a sixth-place overall finish out of 15 teams. Combined, the boys and girls finished behind first-place Ashland in the field of seven teams (not all schools field large enough teams or produce enough results to be considered in the final tally).
“The Hood River athletes did an excellent job,” said fifth-year HRV Head Coach Scott Keillor, “and Ashland was a great host.”
It wasn’t easy, though, as Keillor said conditions at Mt. Ashland were at times blustry, the terrain was steep, and that in some cases, the snow was “rodeo rough,” causing the athletes to “take some hits.” Keillor added that it was still “a great competition,” which he characterized as a kind of comeback for the Mt. Ashland Ski Area, which was mostly closed throughout the 2013-14 and 2014-15 ski seasons.
For the boys, senior Montana Kurahara remained undefeated this season, taking first place individually in both the GS and the SL. Though he is a senior, this is the first season that Kurahara has competed for the HRV ski team, having previously taken the time to hone his ski racing skills elsewhere, as was the case his sophomore year when he attended the Sun Valley Ski Academy in Idaho.
“(Kurahara) has not lost a race this year,” Keillor noted. “He made a choice and his choice was high school racing his senior year, and he made a huge impact… he was a huge asset.”
Seniors William Lamer and Charlie Sutherland, the former of whom is the captain for the boys team, made big contributions for the team with top-20 finishes in the SL and had “consistent team finishes” throughout the season. Lamer also nearly cracked the top 10 in the GS, where he placed 11th.
Keillor also gave kudos to Carter Rigert, “who came in and scored the first team time,” for HRV in the GS, as well as Oskar Anderson, who was originally selected as an alternate, but ended up racing in the SL, where he placed 40th out of 95 skiers.
One of the most impressive performances from the HRV boys came from “young up-and-comer” Christopher McElwee, who “came back strong,” Keillor said, after crashing hard into the net during the GS on Thursday, and then placed 18th overall the next day and fourth on HRV in the SL. Even more impressive, McElwee received the “Move Up Award” after having the highest bib number (seeding) to best finish ratio in the event.
HRV associate team members Colin Howe, representing White Salmon’s Columbia High School, and Mattea Schwab, representing Horizon Christian School — who practice with HRV, but do not score points for the team — also had good days, finishing in the top 10 and in the top 30 in both events. HRV also represented well in the alternate races, with Anderson placing second in the GS and Colson Zack placing third in the SL for the boys. In the girls alternate race, Nicolette Paulus placed first in SL and Sarah Hall placed third in GS.
For the girls, sophomore Erin Sutherland continued her late-season surge by having some of her best races last week, taking fourth overall in the GS, fifth overall in the SL, and second overall in the combined standings.
“Erin really stepped it up in terms of her strength and consistency… it was Erin’s time and Erin’s day,” Keillor said.
Frosh Josie Petersen continued to show her abilities as a young skier, finishing fifth in the overall standings after taking eighth in the GS and 10th in the SL. For awards, Hall received the “Ski Meister” for competing in both the freestyle and alpine disciplines (freestyle championships occurred the previous week at Mt. Hood Meadows). Hall placed 63rd in the SL and girls captain Jesse Nunn placed 33rd in the GS.
Claire Davies had a DNF in one of her two runs for both the GS and SL and wasn’t included as a finisher in the individual results, but raced fast enough in the two runs she did finish to contribute to HRV’s team times in both events. Davies had the fourth-fastest time in the GS (52.43) and 14th-fastest in the SL (40.15). Paris Nunn also raced for HRV, putting together a run apiece in both the GS and SL, but received disqualifications in her other attempts.
The girls team, which Keillor said is almost entirely comprised of freshmen and sophomores, had its mettle tested after falling behind early with what Keillor called “a very tough” ninth-place finish in SL on Thursday. The team continued undaunted, however, on Friday, storming back to a second-place finish in the GS to take sixth-place overall in the girls standings.
“They are an extremely cohesive, supportive group — really probably one of the best-focused teams in terms of support and cohesiveness,” he noted.
“It’s a young team,” Keillor continued. “We’re looking at a young team coming back and coming back strong.”
Keillor said the team took “a good Hood River contingent” to cheer on the athletes in Ashland and thanked the parents, coaching staff, and volunteers who helped with the team this season. Next year, the Mt. Hood League will host the OISRA state championships at a venue on Mt. Hood that has yet to be determined.
HRV boys GS results
Montana Kurahara, 1st, 1:26.59
Colin Howe (Columbia High), 8th, 1:33.60
William Lamer, 11th, 1:34.56
Carter Rigert, 37th, 1:47.21
HRV boys 2nd overall
HRV girls GS results
(First overall: Nicole Danilevsky, Lake Oswego, 1:44.95)
Erin Sutherland, 4th, 1:46.95
Josie Petersen, 8th, 1:49.14
Mattea Schwab (Horizon Christian), 29th, 2:00.12
Jesse Nunn, 33rd, 2:05.36
HRV girls 2nd overall
HRV boys SL results
Montana Kurahara, 1st, 1:09.21
Colin Howe (Columbia High), 7th, 1:17.79
William Lamer, 13th, 1:21.21
Charlie Sutherland, 15th, 1:22.19
Christopher McElwee, 18th, 1:23.14
Oskar Anderson, 40th, 1:34.01
HRV boys 1st overall
HRV girls SL results
(First overall: Sami Woodring, Oregon Episcopal School, 1:14.12)
Erin Sutherland, 5th, 1:19.94
Josie Petersen, 10th, 1:21.84
Sarah Hall, 63rd, 2:10.93
HRV girls 9th overall
HRV boys combined results
Montana Kurahara, 1st, 2:35.80
Colin Howe (Columbia High), 5th, 2:51.39
William Lamer, 11th, 2:55.77
HRV boys 1st overall
HRV girls combined results
(First overall: Nicole Danilevsky, Lake Oswego, 3:02.88)
Erin Sutherland, 2nd, 3:06.89
Josie Petersen, 5th, 3:10.98
Mattea Schwab (Horizon), 21st, 3:32.37
(Other racers participating at the OISRA state meet included Colson Zack, Nicolette Paulus, Claire Davies, and Paris Nunn.)