The first day of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Alpine State Championships was held Monday at Sierra-at-Tahoe, bringing the top skiers from the region to the mountain to vie for state slalom titles.
Conditions proved difficult and the two courses soon became rutted, causing a number of skiers problems near the bottom, but as they’ve done all season, the girls from North Tahoe put together a dominant showing with seven of the 12 fastest combined times on the way to defending last year’s state championship in slalom.
And for the boys’, Gunnar Barnwell continued the Whittell legacy while North Tahoe won its third straight slalom title.
Junior Maddie Roberts took first place to lead the Lakers girls, finishing with the two fastest runs of the day to take this year's girls’ individual state slalom title by nearly three seconds.
“I’m happy with the way that I skied, especially because there’s some really good girls out there,” said Roberts. “Aliza (Neu) I used to ski race with her for Squaw and she was always so good.”
Standing atop the course for each run, Roberts said her strategy was simple.
“It was kind of like, ‘OK you can do this, you’ve skied in worse. Just go out there and send it,” she said.
Roberts finished the morning with a combined time of 1 minute, 30.74 seconds to win the slalom championship.
Teammate Aliza Neu was second with a combined time of 1:33.43. Truckee’s Emma Spillman was third with a combined time of 1:34.66, followed by North Tahoe’s Kacey Benjaminson with a combined time of 1:36.78. Incline’s Brenna Ritchie was fifth place with a combined time of 1:39.39.
On the boys’ side, Barnwell, a senior, fought his way down the two courses to capture the individual slalom state championship with a combined time of 1:26.77. Barnwell and the rest of the field of boys hit the courses following the girls' runs.
“It was pretty bumpy, so I figured I’d ski it pretty mellow — ski it pretty safe,” said Barnwell. “I’m pretty stoked. One of my really good friends, Payton (Norton), my teammate last year, he’s won state several times, and so I figured I’d try to keep the Whittell legacy going.”
Norton swept both slalom and giant slalom events as a senior last year.
As a team, the North Tahoe boys remained unbeaten on the season, combining to win the school’s third straight slalom state championship. Following Barnwell, the Lakers posted the next five fastest combined times at Sierra-at-Tahoe to defend the program’s slalom crown.
Max Kelly led the way for North Tahoe, finishing with a combined time of 1:27.12 for second place. Trent Carter was third with a combined time of 1:29.44. Toby Gajar was fourth with a combined time of 1:32.45, Thomas Mercogliano was fifth with a combined time of 1:33.64, and Oliver Fralick was sixth with a combined time of 1:36.15.
Jason Roth, who finished in eighth place with a combined time of 1:36.67, led Truckee.
The alpine state championships will continue today with giant slalom at Kirkwood Mountain Resort.