HRV SKIERS pose with a treasure trove of medals following the team’s first place combined finish at the OISRA state championships, which were held late last week at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort. The girls placed first and the boys place second. This followed up the team’s sweep of giant slalom and slalom competitions during Mt. Hood League races earlier this season. This is the 12th combined state title the team has won.
The heads of HRV boys and girls ski team members were hanging Friday night at the conclusion of the state championships, not out of shame, but out of the sheer weight of all the medals they had draped around their necks.
Following the giant slalom (GS) and slalom competitions Thursday and Friday at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort, the boys and girls HRV ski team brought home the title at the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association state championships, beating out some big, competitive Portland metro area 6A schools for the honor. The girls placed first overall and the boys placed second to win the combined title — almost half a minute ahead of second place team Lincoln. The boys edged Lincoln by just over a second to take the silver, but were behind first-place Lakeridge by 28 seconds. The girls were ahead of second-place Lincoln by 26 seconds.
“Boy, it was a good one for us, wasn’t it? That worked out well,” Alpine Head Coach Scott Keillor said.
It was the team’s first combined title since 2015 (the Eagles placed second at least year’s championships in Ashland) and the 12th in school history — more than any other sport. It was a fitting end to a year when HRV swept every single event in the regular season, which culminated in the school’s crowning as champions of the Mt. Hood League and earned the Eagles some low bib numbers at last week’s OISRA championships.
Josie Petersen, who ended her league season with most points of any skier, was tops for HRV, placing second overall with a combined GS and slalom time of 3 minutes, 39.68 seconds, which was 3.51 seconds behind leader Isabella Hoffman, of Lakeridge. Erin Sutherland also landed in the top 10, placing fifth with a combined time of 3:48.42. For the boys, Christopher McElwee was the top performer during the regular season, but it was Colson Zack who had the highest finish of any HRV boy, placing 11th with a combined time of 3:51.94.
Conditions were challenging, particularly on the first day of alpine competitions Thursday. With strong winds and a course that Keillor said was soft due to copious amounts of snow that had fallen in the days prior, ruts formed on the slalom course, which required continual attention. Skier spills and injuries for other teams on the first run of the girls GS course caused lengthy delays. On Friday, though, conditions improved.
Though there were a few “bobbles” by some athletes on the course, HRV’s strong stable of skiers filled in where one of their teammates had faltered. Any athlete seemed to be able to score at any time, demonstrated by HRV taking both the boys and girls “Move Up” awards in slalom, given to athletes who have the largest difference between their bib number (seeding) and their finish. Paris Nunn won for the girls, placing 20th despite her bib number of 76, and Nash Levy, who moved up from his No. 84 bib to an 18th-place finish.
“We did have two athletes who came from the back of the pack… that’s just showing team depth,” Keillor said.
Though Keillor noted he was “never surprised at their ability to win,” he did say the season had been a challenging one for his athletes. Ironically, there were times when the skiing conditions were so good on the mountain that the team couldn’t hold practice, as the school canceled activities due to weather. The team only gets six competitions a season and one of those was canceled due to the weather. Getting turns in was even more important considering that the team is primarily made up of underclassmen, although the team will lose leadership with seniors Oskar Anderson and Jesse Nunn graduating this year.
“This is a particularly welcome accomplishment for our athletes, because it is a fairly young team and they performed exceptionally,” he said. “They have a very bright future.”
The Mt. Hood League sponsored the competitions at Meadows, with “a lot of great local support. Our thanks goes out to the local community,” Keillor said.
Freestyle competitions were also affected numerous times this year by the weather, impacting attendance at events that were able to be held. That included the state competitions, which were originally supposed to be all held Wednesday and Thursday, but the halfpipe competition was canceled, while rail jam was pushed to Saturday and slopestyle was moved to Timberline Lodge Sunday. When the snow settled, HRV came out on top once again, taking first place overall.
Skier cross did go off Wednesday and the girls edged Lake Oswego to place first in the event and handily defeated Lincoln and The Dalles. Leading the way for HRV was Avrie Van Tilburg, who placed second overall, and Sarah Hall, who placed third. Also competing for the girls were Sophie Caldwell (eighth) and Rosie Dillon (13th).
The boys placed second in the same competition, losing to Lakeridge but defeating Lake Oswego, The Dalles, and Cleveland. Carter Rigert was first for HRV and second overall and was the sole Eagle in the top 10. Trailing Rigert were Trey Roeseler (14th), Levy (15th), Sammy Stevenson (24th), Ollie Stevenson (28th), and Evan Blaine (31st).
Roeseler also placed first in the rail jam and slopestyle competitions, leading the boys to gold medals in both events. Ollie Stevenson took second in slopestyle and third in rail jam, while Sammy Stevenson placed fourth in both.