MOUNT BACHELOR — Showing little drop-off from last year’s state championships, Bend High’s boys and girls each won the first Oregon School Ski Association alpine qualifying races of the season Saturday on Mt. Bachelor ski area’s Cliffhanger run.
Lava Bear skiers Brooke Kelley (2 minutes, 1.8 seconds), Elinor Wilson (2:04.19) and Kiki Nakamura-Koyama (2:05.41) went 1-2-3 in the girls giant slalom combined standings to lead Bend to a dominating team victory over runner-up Summit and third-place Lakeview. The Lava Bear girls posted a team time of 6:11.40, easily besting the Storm (6:56.81) and the Honkers (7:13.07). Jojo Bond paced Summit with a sixth-place finish and Jesse Stevens finished seventh to highlight the day for the Redmond High girls.
“The girls have that competitive camaraderie,” Bend coach Greg Timm said about his team. “It’s a positive. ... It makes your teammate better and it makes you better.”
Shelby Cutter (2:09.67) and Lucia Charlton (2:10.02) added fourth- and fifth-place finishes for the Bears.
The boys standings were closer, but Bend (5:59.47 seconds) held off Summit (6:06.74) and Redmond (6:45.22) for the team title. Lava Bear junior Keenan Seidel edged out teammate Mitchell Cutter for the top spot in the individual standings, turning in a combined time of 1:55.99. Cutter was second in 2:01.01, and Summit’s Will Mayer was third in combined time in 2:01.44 (although Summit’s Jared Schiemer finished third in combined points).
“Mitchell was pretty excited,” Timm said about Cutter, a senior, whose runner-up effort was his highest career finish. “The boys have a little bit of that (competitive camaraderie) too. Mitchell is chasing Keenan, and my No. 3, 4 and 5 boys are chasing Mitchell.”
Jeffrey Bierman led the Panther boys by taking 14th overall.
OSSA’s next alpine event is scheduled for Saturday at Mt. Bachelor.
“These first qualifying runs, you start to figure out your team, who you can depend on,” Timm said. “And any time you can give yourself a little bit of padding in the overall team standings it’s nice.”