Ski & Snowboard teams are keeping the momentum going

BY JOHANNA TIKKANEN

Before preparing for regionals at Sierra at Tahoe ski resort, the Sierra Nevada College Ski & Snowboard team competed on Jan. 24- 25 at Squaw Valley. The last years USCSA National Champions defended the title by winning every single USCSA race they attended.

On Saturday Jan. 24, Jaka Jazbec and Andri Arnason were the only two men competing for the SNC mens alpine team. Jazbec took a victory over teammate Arnason who placed second before Stanford’s Evan Eyuboglu, who placed third. The Women’s alpine team took places 1-5. Melissa Daniels took an impressive victory ahead of Emilie Lamoureux and Johanna Tikkanen who placed second and third respectively.

”The team has been working hard for months, and it is starting to pay off.” ski coach Branko Zagar said. ”The lack of snow hasn’t stopped us from training.”

The team practices at home mountain Diamond Peak, six days a week. ”Training at Diamond Peak has been good, except that sometimes we really have to be careful where we set the gates since there is not always enough snow to cover the ground.” Freshmen Mihaela Kosi said.

The snowboarders continued SNC dominance by winning in both men’s and women’s races on Saturday Jan. 24. at the Squaw Valley. slalom race. Junior Marco Gooding placed third right after University of Nevada, Reno athlete Reed January, who placed second. Ian Wieczorek, Cory Rudolph and Adam Lechner followed close behind at fourth, fifth and sixth spot. On the women’s side, Brooke O’Neill dominated the race by winning with almost ten seconds in front of UC Berkley’s Kimberlie Le, who finished in second place, and UC Davis’s Lauren Uchiyama, finishing in third.

The momentum kept going the next day when both the men’s and women’s teams dominated the giant slalom race. Jazbec and Arnason placed first and second beating the rest of the skiers with multiple seconds. The women also dominated the race by having all five skiers in top 5. Johanna Tikkanen took the victory in front of teammate Caroline Klaesson and Emilie Lamoureux. Melissa Daniels and Twwea Palic followed close behind in the fourth and fifth spots. The Alpine team travels on Feb. 4 to Snow King, Wyoming for the FIS Elite series competitions before focusing on regionals and nationals.

The next day the SNC men’s snowboard team filled the podium with Frederick McCarthy, Macky Leal and Marco Gooding placing first, second and third. A total of eight SNC athletes placed in Top 11. SNC athlete Brooke O’Neill continued her winning streak by also winning the women’s race. ”We have a lot of talented athletes on the team and I have no doubt that we are going to be more than ready for this years nationals,” snowboard coach Jon Cherry said.

A couple of SNC snowboard team athletes competed at a USASA slope style and rail jam competition on Jan 31- Feb 1 at Boreal. The first competition was slope style in which SNC athletes took top 3. Austin Smith took the victory in front of teammates Adam Lechner and Brian Walther who placed in second and third. Second competition was a back-to-back rail jam. Austin Smith won the first competition and Adam Lechner the second one.

The USCSA National Championships will be located at Mt. Bachelor, Oregon on March 1-7 where the SNC Ski & Snowboard team will be defending their title. Go Eagles!

 

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