HRV skiers continue to shred opposition

By BEN MCCARTY

News staff writer

February 10, 2007

The Hood River Valley High School girls’ ski team got another strong race from Ashley Kastner, Claire Snelling and Toby Carratt to pick up the win at last Saturday’s Mount Hood Conference Giant Slalom race. The first place finish by the girls, and a third place finish by the boys keep the Eagles in a tight race with Sandy for overall combined boys and girls lead in the conference.

Six Hood River girls finished in the top eight on the meandering course on Middle Fork at Mt. Hood Meadows. Ashley Kastner, Claire Snelling and Toby Carratt took first, second and third respectively. Morgan Nance, Jessica Ostler and Whitney Fox supported the team with fifth, sixth and eighth place finishes. Other girls earning points for the Eagles were Molly McCulloch in 15th, Caley Melton in 17th, Katherine Rouse in 18th, and Jill Goatcher in 27th, capping first place for both Varsity and JV. Jannicke Sletmoe took 32nd, and Alice Zanmiller 45th.

Eight Eagle boys secured a third place Varsity finish, and first place JV finish.

“All our boys are skiing better. We have six boys in the top 20, and it’s amazing how they’re improving with every race,” Head Coach Peter Nance said. “But Sandy and Barlow have very strong boys teams, so we’re still in third place, working hard.”

Colton Swearingen captured fourth place for they boys, followed by Sam Mears in 15th, Nick Maslen in 16th, Gary Paasch in 17th, Taylor Bentz in 19th, and Tyler Sassara in 20th. Zach Eaton and Logan Merriam garnered supporting points with respective 24th and 30th place finishes.

“We have our last two races ahead and our boys are working to step it up a notch to catch Sandy by the end of season,” Nance relates. “We are feeling about Sandy how the rest of league feels about Hood River’s girls. We have seven girls in the top nine. Most of our JV girls would be starting varsity on any other team. It’s a wonderful thing for the team in terms of depth.” Both varsity and JV girls have been undefeated in the 2007 season.

The Eagles will race their final two league events at Ski Bowl February 10 for the Giant Slalom and Feb. 17 for a Slalom race.

“The steeper terrain at Ski Bowl will help prepare us for the state competition in Ashland,” Nance said. “So far, our team focus is coming together for state.” The State High School Alpine Championships will be held at Mount Ashland March 1-3.

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