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CCHS skiers make progress
Girls team narrowly defeats Phoenix to win division II race
January 17, 2013
It’s been several years since Crook County High School has had a cross country ski team.
Now the team is back and if early results are any indication, the team is rapidly improving.
“When you are looking at how much they have improved, it’s awesome,” said head coach Russell Johnson. “They may fall down once or twice in a race, but that’s to be expected.”
With Phoenix High School also fielding a new team, the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association has decided to divide teams into two divisions for the first time in OISRA?history.
Crook County and Phoenix are both in division II while the remainder of the teams competing are all in division I.
“They are doing it for the benefit of the kids so they don’t feel like they are getting creamed,” Johnson said. “Some of these kids are in their fifth or sixth, or even seventh season of racing and our kids have never been on skis before.”
The season began with a jamboree at Diamond Lake on Saturday, Jan. 5, with skiers competing on a shorter-than-normal 3.4-kilometer course.
Although the Crook County skiers finished far back from the winning skiers, Johnson said that the race gave the team valuable experience.
“The first race was more for fun,” he said. “It was just a short race, but it helped us gain experience.”
The following Saturday, Crook County returned to Diamond Lake for the Jimmy John’s Freestyle competition.
Competing on a 4.8-kilometer course, the three Cowgirl competitors finished far back in the pack in the individual competition. Cora White was the first Cowgirl finisher with a time of 30:57, good enough for 52nd place. She was followed by Hannah Hamlin, who took 57th with a time of 37:13. Bethany Johnson, the final Crook County skier came in 60th with a time of 41:22. Micaela Martin of Summit was the first finisher in the race with a time of 15:55.
After the individual race, Crook County narrowly trailed Phoenix for first place in division II. However, Crook County was able to defeat Phoenix in the 3 x 1-Kilometer relay to give the team a two-point victory in the team competition.
The Cowboys were also declared the winners of their division II race. However, unlike the girls race, no other division II team completed the course.
Dustin Seyl was the first Cowboy to cross the finish line in the five-kilometer race, taking 42nd with a time of 25:58. The Cowboys second competitor, Braden Swensen, finished 46th with a time of 31:32.
Summit’s Alex Martin won the race with a time of 13:50.
While most of the teams are able to practice regularly on snow, Crook County has had to be creative to find ways to get practice. Nevertheless, recent cold weather has helped.
“We were able to ski one day in the Ochocos, and one day near town on private property,” Johnson said.
Johnson added that recently, the U.S. Forest Service has given him permission to use a snowmobile to pull a grooming device on trails in the Ochocos that are designated for non-motorized use.
Johnson believes the additional access to trails in the Ochocos will benefit not only this year’s cross country ski team, but will help the team be more competitive in the future, as well as giving recreational skiers additional access.
The ski team will continue to compete each weekend leading up to the state championships, which will be held Friday and Saturday, Feb. 22-23, at Willamette Pass. Tomorrow, the team is scheduled to compete at Hoodoo Ski Resort with races starting at 11:30 a.m.