Tuesday, March 5, 2013/lk
Hood River Valley Nordic boys and girls teams earned podium finishes over the weekend at the OHNSO state championships in Bend.
The event brought 65 male and 90 female racers to Mount Bachelor to determine top individuals and teams for the 2012-12 Oregon high school Nordic ski season. At the end of two days of competition, HRV boys and girls teams both finished third overall out of the eight squads in attendance.
Sam Wiley was the highest placer for Hood River, with a third-place finish in Friday’s 7.5K skate race and a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s 5K classic race. He was also recognized for qualifying for the upcoming Junior Nationals race in Fairbanks, Alaska.
The HRV girls were led by Petra Knapp, who finished 13th in the skate race and Delia Dolan, who finished 13th in the classic race.
“Third is an excellent result for the team,” coach Bonnie Lambert said. “We are finally putting a crack in the Central Oregon high school teams’ dominance of the past. HRV is becoming a force to be reckoned with.”
Races were held on groomed Nordic trails at the base of Mount Bachelor. With calm skies and T-shirt temperatures, weather conditions were a factor only in that they were not a factor.
“We didn’t have to deal with the elements, which is rarely the case,” Lambert said. “Waxing, however, is always a factor in this sport. You have to work hard on getting the right wax, and conditions can change really quickly, so racers are often waxing right before they are up.”
The championship was broken into three separate events. Friday was a 7.5K skate race, Saturday was a 5K classic race and a team relay race.
Backing Wiley for the boys Friday were Daniel Fisher in 12th place and Nils Engbersen in 21st, followed by teammates Mason McDowell, Billy Edwards and Alex Chadney. Delia Dolan wasn’t far behind Knapp in the girls race with a 15th-place finish, followed by Miranda Starr in 22nd and Eva Kahn in 25th; Denali Edwards and Victoria Kohner-Flanagan followed.
Saturday’s race saw Wiley finish fourth, followed by Fisher in 13th, Engbersen in 20th and McDowell, Edwards and Chadney trailing for the boys. Dolan led the girls in the race with a 13th-place finish, followed by Knapp in 19th, Emmons in 28th and Starr, Kahn and Koehner-Flanagan.
Lambert said that although the Bachelor course was more difficult than HRV’s home terrain (Teacup Lake and Mt. Hood Meadows), the team was ready for the challenge.
“The kids are fit,” she said. “They worked hard all season to get to the level where they can compete in a difficult race like that.”
Scoring for the events are similar to cross country in that the top five finishers from each team contribute to the team’s overall score. This is where HRV’s depth and consistency paid off and resulted in their podium finish; and with only three seniors on the team, coaches are already gearing up for a bigger and better team next season.
“As part of our training, the team competes in the Meadows Nordic series,” Lambert explained.
“This year, in addition to our high school racers, we had about 10 middle school racers in the series, and some of them are right there with the high school kids. They’re going to be race-ready by the time they get to high school, and that’s very exciting for the future of the sport in Hood River.”