Tiger girls make strong team debut at state
Freshman Corin Hartnell was the lone female skier on Newberg's upstart program, which got off the ground as part of a cooperative effort with teams from Tigard and Tualatin high schools.
Hartnell excelled, qualifying for the state tournament, but did not get to enjoy the benefits of competing as a team.
After an infusion of girls this winter, the Tigers not only began scoring as a team for the first time, but placing well too.
Newberg's strong debut season continued all the way to the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association state championships, where the Tigers placed 12th overall March 8-9 at Mount Bachelor.
"It was really exciting to go from just skiing by myself to having a whole girls team and going to state with them," Hartnell said. "It was super fun and we all did really well, so that obviously makes it even better."
With the addition this year of senior Clara Perez-Rossi, a senior exchange student from Argentina with plenty of racing experience, Newberg suddenly had a dynamic duo to match up with the best teams in the Metro League and the pair also drove the Tigers' success at the state meet.
Hartnell placed 19th overall thanks to a 21st-place finish in the giant slalom with a combined time of 1:29.14 over two runs Thursday and a 23rd-place showing Friday in the slalom (1:46.60).
Perez-Rossi recorded the highest finish for Newberg in any single run, placing 11th in the first run of the slalom, but she did not complete her second run and therefore did not figure in the rankings. Her runs of 45.91 and 43.52 in the giant slalom, though, placed her just behind Hartnell at 22nd (1:29.43).
"She definitely pushed me to be a better skier this year and having her on the team has been awesome," Hartnell said.
As a team, Newberg placed 12th in the giant slalom at 4:43.66, with Kate Orloff recording the team's third marks at 53.23 and 51.86.
The Tigers were 14th in the slalom as a team, as Taylor Trantham posted times of 1:14.43 and 1:14.67 and Orloff crossed in 1:04.47 to replace Perez-Rossi's DNF.
Overall, Orloff placed 72nd in the giant slalom and 61st in the slalom, with Trantham finishing 90th and 64th, respectively.
"The girls came ready to compete and show that they were more than ready to race with the best girls ski racing programs in the state of Oregon," coach Alex Moss said.
Hartnell added that the team is excited to add more skiers next season. The plan is to also add middle school students, who can race provisionally with the high school competitors, but cannot score for the team or be ranked individually.
"We seem to have had some interest already," Hartnell said. "Hopefully we will only grow."