Beneath the towering 14,000-foot peak of Mount Shasta, the third highest mountain in the United States, the Davis High School snowboard team slogged through slushy conditions on near-barren slopes to finish ninth overall at the state championship races last week.
Varsity boys finished sixth, while varsity girls finished 10th. Combined with the excellent results of the DHS ski team, it was enough to boost DHS to the No. 1 spot overall in the state of California for the second year in a row.
In the snowboard giant slalom race, Brittney Gingerich-Brooks sluiced through the course finishing 12th overall, with a combined time of 1:58.6, a mere 1.1 seconds from standing on the podium as the 10th-place finisher. She was followed by teammates Valerie Hurst (36th) and Christina Roeckl-Navazio (57th).
In the slalom race, Gingerich-Brooks again blazed the trail for her teammates, finishing 15th, with Hurst moving up to 28th and Roeckl-Navazio improving to 56th overall. The mountain was beautiful, but the heavy, wet, degraded snow did not favor the Davis racers.
Colin Wehrhan led the Blue Devil boys in the giant slalom race, burning through the course in a two-run combined 1:51.3 seconds, finishing 15th; teammate Colin Cohan was just a second behind in the 18th spot out of the 86 racers who completed the course. Nick Wehrhan placed 32nd overall as the third point-scorer for the DHS varsity boys.
The slalom race found Cohan in the lead for Davis with a 16th-place overall finish. Brian Simmons was 41st, crossing the finish line just 0.2 seconds ahead of Wehrhan (43rd).
Head coach Marcia Heller reflected on the season and state meet results: “I am very proud of our athletes — they worked hard this year and did their best. Our state-qualified athletes were unable to put in practice time on the hill before the championships due to illnesses and other academic commitments, but they gave it their all out there. As a coach, you couldn’t ask for more.”
All of this year’s Blue Devil state competitors were seniors except for one. In looking forward to next season, Heller noted, “We have a lot of very talented athletes coming up; several underclassmen raced varsity this year. As for next year, the only thing I can say for sure is that we will have a lot of fun out there — these are some wonderful kids and families!”
Many of this year’s competitors are graduating and are looking to attend colleges and universities in Boulder, Reno and Salt Lake City where they can continue to enjoy the sport of snowboarding either competitively or recreationally.
Combined scores for the DHS snowboard and ski teams earned Davis High School first place out of 33 teams in the state competition.