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Tigers will field full boys and girls teams this winter; begin practices in concert with two other schools

A year ago, then-freshman Corin Hartnell started a ski team at Newberg High School, recruiting six others to train and compete as part of a cooperative group with Tigard and Tualatin high schools. GRAPHIC FILE PHOTO - Newberg sophomore Corin Hartnell races down the slopes at Mount Hood Meadows last year during a Metro League ski race. Hartnell helped found the program last season and returns to lead a group that has doubled in size.

The move was a big success, but unfortunately for Hartnell, all six of her teammates were boys, so Newberg, which technically competes separate from the other two schools, was unable to field a full girls team.

After word spread last year about how much fun the team was having, and a round of recruiting in the offseason, the team has grown from seven to 11 racers and will feature a full girls team for the first time.

"It happened a lot quicker than I had anticipated," Hartnell said. "We weren't expecting a lot of new people to join. All of a sudden, we had one more, two more, five more and it just escalated. We've got a pretty nice group."

The team has also added its first racer from Veritas School, Hudson Andrews, who will train with the "TNT" cooperative, but compete individually for the Vanguard.

"I've skied forever, ever since I was 4, and I always wanted to do ski team," Andrews said. "I was going to do it last year, but I heard about it too late."

The team has spent much of the past month training three nights a week at Tigard High School, where they focus on strengthening their legs and core, as well as improving their balance.

"The kids last year had been doing this, but not at this level," coach Alex Moss said. "Still, the kids who participated immediately were doing better than those who didn't. They were in shape and ready to go."

The number of students participating in dry-land training has grown significantly, with about 15-16 showing up each night. The team made its first trip to Mount Hood to actually practice on their skis Dec. 9 and hope to fit in at least two more practices on the mountain before the pre-season race in early January.

"The really cool thing about it is it's a team sport and an individual sport," Hartnell said. "You're competing with other kids, but at the same time, you're cheering them on."

Several of Newberg's new members are experienced skiers and the Tigers will also return several, like Dawson Walls, who tried the sport for the first time last year and are ready to take a big step forward.

"The Newberg girls are going to be competitive this year," Moss said. "I think they have a shot at making it to state as a team, which would be remarkable for year two. So we're really excited."

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