Tuesday, February 21, 2006
By ADAM LAPIERRE
News staff writer
February 1, 2006
The slopes of Cooper Spur Ski Area were buzzing Saturday with high school racers from the Mt. Hood Ski League. A slalom course stretched down the entire length of the hill, with racers, course officials and spectators lining its edges, battling the cold, windy weather to watch and cheer for racers tearing towards the finish line.
The Hood River Valley High School boys and girls were among the six teams of racers in attendance. After two runs each down the course, the girls finished second as a team and the boys finished fourth.
Due to the recent dumping of snow on the hill, conditions were less than ideal because ruts were easily carved around several of the gates. The girls raced first, giving them an advantage over the boys because they had better course conditions. Sandy High School edged the Hood River girls for first place once again, this time by a margin of 11.38 seconds. Third place finisher, St. Marys Academy, was 29.36 seconds slower than Sandy, and in a distant fourth was The Dalles-Wahtonka with a 1:04.38 margin.
“The race went well,” commented Coach Jessica Gunesch. “The girls are close to being in first and the team is getting more confident every race.”
Highlights from the girls’ team include four Eagles finishing in the top ten, out of 44 total racers. Kaytlin Hughes was fastest for the girls’ team, with a two-run time of 1:08.66 — 4.56 seconds behind first place. Less than two seconds behind Hughes was fifth place finisher Jessica McMorran, followed by Jessica Ostler in seventh and Ashley Kastner in ninth.
“Kaytlin has had a couple surprise first finishes for us,” Gunesch said. “She is doing awesome. Jessica Ostler improved greatly in the last race and I’m expecting Chrisie (Brock) to do a lot better.”
Although racers and helpers tried to smooth out the course between the girls’ and the boys’ races, the course was rutted for the boys. Sam Mears finished best for the team, in 12th place out of 32 racers. The first place boys’ team, Sandy, placed six racers in the top ten and took first, second and third places to finish 23.12 seconds ahead of second place Barlow High School.
Mears, Tyler Sassara and Scott Brous were the only three boys to put together two complete runs. Matt Byrne Taylor Eaton, Nick Maslen and Joe Sager all disqualified on their second runs, meaning the team’s second run total was scored as a DNF (did not finish).
“The boys had a hard time putting two runs together,” Gunesch said. They need to start finishing both runs. And they need to gain confidence to do that. They need confidence in their abilities, which comes from training as much as possible in all different conditions.”
Next up for the team is another Mt. Hood Ski League race on Saturday at Ski Bowl, which is where the state race will be in February.
Girls — second as a team
Kaytlin Hughes 3rd
Jessica McMorran 5th
Jessica Ostler 7th
Ashley Kastner 9th
Chrisie Brock 12th
Claire Snelling 16th
Caley Melton 19th
Heather Van Swaay 20th
Molly McCulloch 25th
Emily Kao 26th
Boys — fourth as a team
Sam Mears 12th
Tyler Sassara 17th
Scott Brous 20th
Matt Byrne N/A
Nick Maslen N/A
Joe Sager N/A
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