MOUNT BACHELOR — Brooke Kelley had a choice to make between club ski racing and high school ski racing, and she is ecstatic that she chose the latter.
Kelley wrapped up an individual overall season championship and led the Bend High girls to a team title Saturday on the second and final day of the Oregon School Ski Association state championships.
A racer with the Mount Bachelor Sports Education Foundation since she was 8, Kelley, a junior, decided to race only in the OSSA this winter.
“I like the team aspect, and I can be more competitive,” Kelley said of high school racing. “It’s really fun being with a big group of teammates and getting to know them. We do a lot of team building. In high school skiing you can be more competitive, but club is just a lot of traveling and a lot of commitment.”
Kelley won the slalom race on Mt. Bachelor ski area’s Thunderbird run on Saturday with a two-run time of 1 minute, 29.03 seconds, to finish the season undefeated along a course that featured soft, chunky snow on a mild day.
Kelley’s teammate, Kiki Nakamura-Koyama, finished second in Saturday’s slalom (1:34.99) and second behind Kelley in the overall (giant slalom and slalom) season standings.
The Lava Bear girls won the slalom team event with 36 points, ahead of Summit (30) and Sisters (eight). More important, Bend claimed the seven-race overall season title with 84 points. Summit finished second on the season with 70 points, and Sisters was third (36).
The Bend girls won all seven scored races of the OSSA season.
“It’s kind of business as usual,” Bend coach Greg Timm said of his girls team. “But it’s never a foregone conclusion in ski racing. The girls have been solid and consistent all season, and they’ve been very competitive with each other. One of my fears was that they would get complacent. But there was enough inner-team competition.”
The Bend High boys were somewhat inconsistent at the OSSA state championships, but they still managed to claim the season title with 78 points, just edging Summit, which finished with 76 points. Redmond was third with 54 points.
The Storm boys won the slalom team championship on Saturday, finishing with 34 points. Bend was a close second (32) and Redmond claimed third (22).
Summit junior Jared Schiemer won Saturday’s slalom race with a combined time of 1:27.74, edging out Bend’s Mitchell Cutter (1:31:56). Schiemer secured the individual overall season championship, and Bend’s Keenan Seidel finished second in the overall season standings.
Schiemer did not finish his second run in Friday’s giant slalom event, so he was satisfied to bounce back in the slalom.
“It’s definitely rewarding to come back after letting it go the first day,” Schiemer said. “There’s definitely a lot of young talent (on the Summit squad). We had a solid team this year.”
Cutter, who finished third in the individual overall season championship, was happy to end his senior season with a second-place finish at the state meet.
“It’s just a great way to end it off,” Cutter said. “I love racing this hill. I’ve still never won a race, but ... ”
Cutter added that the seasonlong duel between Bend and Summit made for some memorable, competitive ski racing.
“It’s been a battle all year long,” he said. “In the regular season we got it done, and they just came right back.”
Bend also claimed the combined boys and girls season team title, finishing with 162 points. Summit took second (146), followed by Redmond (76) and Sisters (74).