MOUNT BACHELOR — Missing a gate on his first run, Riley O’Brien did not start the alpine ski season the way he expected last week.
But the Summit senior bounced back at Saturday’s Summit Carnival, posting the top Run A and Run B times in the slalom at Mt. Bachelor ski area.
O’Brien, who won the Oregon School Ski Association (OSSA) combined state championship as a sophomore but did not compete for the Storm last season to race with Mt. Bachelor Sports Education Foundation, backed up a time of 36.36 seconds on his first run Saturday with a 35.49 on his second run.
“The second run felt a lot better,” O’Brien said after the competition on a beautiful, sunny day at Bachelor. “The course was set up more straight so there was a lot more speed. The first run was a lot rounder so you didn’t have as much speed coming around the pitch.”
Although O’Brien felt good about his second run, he knew it would be close as he watched Bend’s Colt Musgrave race down the I-5 slalom course.
Musgrave finished second in both runs, posting a 37.86 and a 35.97.
“Watching him come down I was a little concerned about my second run,” O’Brien said. “I had time to catch my breath and turn around and watch his run and he was throwing down some good turns as well.”
With two skiers in the top six, Summit’s boys finished first out of eight teams with a combined time of 3 minutes, 55.37 seconds. Christian Kleinsmith placed sixth with runs of 40.26 and 38.81.
Summit also had the best combined time in the girls half of the meet, 4:09.69.
The Storm’s Ava Lilley finished first with runs of 40.12 and 39.19.
Teammate Keely Buchanan took fifth, posting a 43.02 and a 41.17.
Buchanan had won giant slalom the week before.
“It’s (slalom) not my best event and I was not aggressive enough,” Buchanan said. “I was a little slower than what I was expecting but I’m still happy with it. They (the runs) were pretty similar but I definitely felt like I was going for it more on my second run.”
Bend’s boys and girls both finished second in the team competition with combined times of 3:56.18 and 4:15.63, respectively.
Individually, Caroline Jones placed fourth for the Lava Bears with runs of 42.62 and 40.81.
“It’s kind of a big jump from what I was getting last season,” Jones said, noting her best finish was 14th. “I went to ski camps over the summer so that helped. I’m glad I am improving. I still think there’s a lot of room for improvement. I’m pretty surprised by how it’s going.”
Mountain View’s boys and girls both placed third, posting combined times of 4:01.7 and 4:18.19.
Miles Kemph finished fourth in 40.5 and 38.54 to lead the Cougars boys. Morgan Berg took third in 42.75 and 39.69 for the girls.
— Reporter: 541-383-0307, email@example.com