Ski teams prepare for state with fresh snow

The “freshies” finally fell on Mt. Hood last weekend, giving the HRV ski teams a much-improved training ground in the final Mt. Hood Conference race of the year.

Both the boys and girls teams qualified for the March 6-7 state races by finishing second in the league behind Sandy.

The boys finished with 44 team points to Sandy’s 52, while the girls team finished tied with Barlow at 58 points — a close second to Sandy’s 60 team points.

“We have the potential of doing really great at state this year,” coach Jessica Gunesch said. “The kids all know what they have to do, and as long as they can get finishes, they should be competitive.”

The boys are led by senior Justin Wiley, juniors Tyler Nelson and Luke Pennington, and sophomore Alec Asbridge, while the girls team will rely heavily upon senior Candice Hoag, freshman Jessica McMorran and sophomore Shanna Cochran.

“Candice really wants to finish top five,” Gunesch said, “and I think Jessica and Shanna can easily crack the top 10.

“As for the boys, any one of our top four could come out on top. I don’t know much about the teams outside the Mt. Hood, but I know the Bend competition will be good for us,” she said.

Hoag led the girls last weekend at Meadows with a third-place overall finish, while McMorran took ninth, sophomore Aileen Herlitz 15th and senior Lindsay Heppe 20th. Cochran was unable to race due to eligibility concerns.

Pennington led the boys team in the absence of Wiley and Asbridge, taking second place overall. Nelson took fourth and was followed by junior Kyle Griffith in 19th and freshman Tony Guisto in 23rd.

The remaining member of the boys team, freshman Fletcher Hukari, was racing on Mt. Bachelor on Saturday, but should be ready for state.

“We just need to get more gate training behind us,” Gunesch said. “A few more days of practice and we will be ready.”

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