NIAA skiing race is much tougher now | NevadaAppeal.com

NIAA skiing race is much tougher now

The race for the NIAA state championship in alpine skiing became much tougher this year.

For the first time, the Tahoe Basin League has joined the NIAA. In addition, Reno’s Sage Ridge Academy has joined the NIAA as well. The Tahoe area schools that make up much of the Tahoe Basin League and Sage Ridge feature many skiers who ski year-round and compete on the Junior Olympic Far Western level.

Among those who have come out of the Tahoe Basin League include Truckee’s Daron Rhalves, who is the current overall World Cup leader.

The NIAA has been divided into three leagues: the Sierra League, the High Desert League and the Tahoe Basin League, which includes the Tahoe area schools and Douglas.

Schools that compete in the Sierra League and the High Desert League in other sports will stay in those leagues for skiing. The top two schools from each of the three leagues will advance to the state championships to be held at Mt. Rose, meaning six schools will send eight skiers to compete for the state title in the slalom, giant slalom and the combined.

The top five skiers from nonqualifying schools will also advance to state to compete for individual titles.

Carson, Galena and Reno High are the only three schools to win overall state titles in boys and girls skiing. With the addition of the Tahoe schools and Sage Ridge that could change this year.

Carson’s task to make state will be a difficult one since Sage Ridge is in the Sierra League. When asked if he expects to compete for the second qualifying spot for state with Reno behind Sage Ridge, Carson coach Jack Reinhardt said, “Yeah. Pretty much.”

Reinhardt also has mixed feelings about the new format. “It’s got pros and cons,” he said.

He also said Galena should qualify for state from the High Desert League. “They’re going to dominate the league,” Reinhardt said.

Reinhardt’s numbers are up this season over recent years as he has 45-50 athletes who have come out. For the first time in several years, Reinhardt will have to make cuts to come down to a roster of 35 athletes for the boys and girls teams.

But the number is still well below the more than 100 athletes who used to come out for skiing at Carson. Sports like snowboarding have cut into participation in skiing, but Reinhardt did say “the sport’s making a comeback.”

Reinhardt’s top returner on the boys team is Mats Boehnke, who shared the overall state title with Danny Rotter as a freshman in 2004. Boehnke would have likely won the overall state title last year had weather forced the state championships to be postponed. Boehnke was competing in a Junior Olympics event on the weekend the state championships were rescheduled.

Boehnke could still become a three-time state overall champion, but with the addition of the Tahoe area schools and Sage Ridge, that task has obviously been made more difficult.

“He’s a pretty good skier. There’s not too many kids that can beat him in Far West,” said Reinhardt, referring to Junior Olympic competition. “The competition is much tougher because you got Sage Ridge and all the Tahoe schools.”

Other top returners for the boys include Caleb McCoy, Chris Browne and Mike Aglietti. Other top athletes who are out include Spencer Brinson, who was the No. 1 singles player for Carson this fall as a freshman, Kevin Dyer, another freshman who is a top level swimmer, Ian Brower and Drew Heller.

Boehnke’s sister, freshman Tatum Boehnke, another outstanding athlete looks to be the top skier for the girls right now in the early going, Reinhardt said. Top returners include Krista Wisbar, Meagan Carter, Yvette Hollett, Cassie Larson and Kacey Potter.

Other top athletes include Jessica Goddard, another outstanding swimmer, and Spencer’s sister, Annie Brinson, who has done well in cross country and cross country skiing.

“I think they have a lot of potential because they’re so fit,” said Reinhardt about the Brinsons.

Carson’s boys will open the season on Wednesday against Rite of Passage at Kirkwood while most of Carson’s boys and girls races this year will continue to be held at Mt. Rose.

MCCARVEL NATIONAL CHAMPION

The USC football team isn’t the only dynasty in college football right now. Carroll College in Montana has an even more impressive dynasty and former Carson High assistant coach Russell McCarvel is part of it.

McCarvel served as an assistant football coach at Carson before leaving this year to become running backs coach at Carroll. McCarvel was part of a staff that led Carroll to its fourth straight NAIA national title. It’s the first time in history that a school has won four straight NAIA titles.

The 2005 Carroll team went 14-0 and won the national title by beating St. Francis 27-10 in the finals.

USC also wasn’t the only college football team with two 1,000 yard rushers in Reggie Bush and LenDale White. Under McCarvel’s direction, Carroll also had two 1,000-yard rushers this past season in Ryan Grosulak and Jed Thomas.

n Contact Charles Whisnand@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-1214.