Sierra Wave Media

Eastern Sierra News for June 15, 2024





Mammoth High School Huskies Rally Despite AR Challenges

MHS Ski and Snowboard Team Director

For the first time in many years, the Mammoth High School Husky Ski and Snowboard Team did not take the state title this year. Nope, not this year. Not because they weren’t worthy of the win.  According to the team Director Connie Moyer, this is one of the best ski teams she coached in terms of ability, dedication, and aggressiveness.

So, what happened?
The team was unable to race in half of the four CNISSFChampionship races held March 6-9 at Northstar, CA. Despite road closures and dangerous snow surfaces on the race hill, the league decided to forge forward with the competitions.  The Bishop Bronco Ski Team, led by former US World Cup Ski Team Coach Bill Egan, was able to compete in all the races after traveling two days prior to the races before the storms, but not their snowboard team.

RIM High School, the other team from the CNISSF South 2 division, was unable to travel due to the State of Emergency conditions in their local area.   Transportation in adverse weather and road conditions were the MHS Team’s menace. On Sunday, March 5, while desperately trying to get there, the caravan of MUSD team vehicles took two hours to drive 20 miles down the 395. One of the parent’s team equipment trucks packed full of gear was involved in a blizzard multi car pile-up, totaling the vehicle. So the team made the difficult decision to turn around and return home. This took away their ability to compete in the ski slalom race the next day.

The team’s coaches, parents and student athletes rallied the next day Monday, showing their best sportsmanship, to venture to Tahoe on the now open roads through the Nevada desert (south to Bishop to Hwy 6, to Hwy 95 to the I80), a typical three-hour drive turned 6-7 hours with the 395 North closure.

Despite lost team opportunities and having no chance of taking the team title, all but two ski team members chose to race in the GS anyway. The conditions were rough and dangerous without a reset of courses and over 180 athletes running the same pathway for two runs.
Regardless of these challenges, MHS’s Ashlynn Parsons and Jenna Lynch dominated the race, placing first and second.   “I’m sure Sophie McMahan would’ve also finished in the top three, but in the soft snow she crashed big on the steeps,” Moyer commented. “She is just so aggressive and with an athlete like that, it’s difficult to turn down the volume.”

Senior Kendal Speiler placed 12th, Freshman Lana Sugimura placed 14th and Stella Vanderhusrt finished 20th.  With these solid finishes, theMammoth Husky women won the team GS races. Bishop Bronco women skiers, Jade Scott and Tegan Orr placed 64th and 66th respectively out of over 85 racers.

The MHS men’s ski team competed without their second and third ranked racers but finished in fifth place in the team standings.  Jake McConnell won the first run (even with an interference by a race worker) and placed second overall amongst 95 other competitors.  His brother, Senior Captain Mark McConnell, came in 24th, Beckett Page placed 53rd and Hunter “Applesauce” Burkhart placed 65th.  Bishop Bronco Ski Team’s Will Twomey raced to 26th place with Wyatt Schober, Jacob Gilbert, Tyler Gilbert and Greg Tordoff placing 48th, 52nd 66th and 80th respectively.

Next were the snowboard competitions.  The Husky snowboard team was able to travel without incident to the Tahoe Basin on Tuesday before their GS race.  The race hill was just as soft, dangerous, and rutty as the ski races. “Our snowboard team is very young, and this was the first time all of the members competed at the state championship level,” said Moyer. “This was a great experience for our future seasons where we built on our skills amongst the best racers in the state.”

In the women’s event Freshman Logan Leggette medaled with a 10th place finish with teammates Kate Delson and Kate Bankson placing 23rd and 42nd respectively amongst 86 racers.  Husky men finishers included Captain Landon Witherill, 40th; Freshman Rylen Nash, 45th; and Grayson Hodges, 52nd in a field of 93 men.

After the Wednesday GS races the arrival of a new AtmosphericRiver Storm Warning was changed from Friday morning to Thursday afternoon.  The team needed to beat the storm home, so they opted to skip the Thursday SL race, driving home that morning instead.  Just in the nick of time everyone arrived back to the MHS parking lot safely as the blizzard
started ramping up.

“We did not have the opportunity to bring home the Championship banners this year, but I couldn’t be prouder of this team.  They demonstrated the best sportsmanship, persistence, courage, and teamwork I have ever seen. They put forth their best effort with the best attitudes
despite the adverse conditions they were faced with.  What’s so great is that they are a young team with lots of opportunities in the future.” Moyer concluded.

“In addition, the teams realized the level of world class our own Mammoth Mountain Race Department works to maintain a safe and fair snow surface for all athletes after witnessing how other ski resorts operate.”

The MHS Ski and Snowboard Teams would like to thank the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation (MMCF) for their huge support.  In addition, the teams would also like to thank the Mammoth Unified School District (MUSD) and the Mammoth Mountain Ski and
Snowboard Team (MMSST).  A big, huge thank you goes to the volunteer parents including: Wendi Sugimura, Sandi Rowan, Mark McMahan, Neil McConnell, Stacy Schaudmeyer, Allison Page, Tom Hodges, Tamara Bankson and Rob Witherill.