West Linn snowboarders look for more success in 2020
The West Linn snowboard teams earned their places among the state's best in 2019.
And in 2020, the Lions plan on creating much more of the same.
West Linn's 2020 teams feature 45 riders (up from 34 a year ago), with 20 returners and 25 new riders ready to bolster their chances.
"My team is going to crush the league again this year because I have the kids that demonstrate the best sportsmanship in the state," said West Linn head coach Kevin Holmes (he's joined by fellow coaches Nicky McMillen, Cassidy McDowell and Jim Geduldick). "Despite early mornings at events, my team is all smiles and full of energy. They're almost always cordial to every opposing competitor and their riding is more consistent than other teams."
The West Linn girls — the 2019 state champions — should be strong again this season, their lineup led this year by seniors Kylie Miller and Ava Paul.
"Kylie Miller and Ava Paul are undoubtedly the strongest female riders in the state," Holmes said. "They bring a higher drive to learn tricks and techniques for success on the hill than many girls I have coached in the past. They are competitive and don't let anyone or anything stand in their way, yet they are still supportive and humble with the other girls on opposing teams."
Two other mainstays for the Lions will be juniors Averie McCurry and Ashley Chon; both played important roles on last year's championship team.
"I am really excited to see how (McCurrie) grows more and more into this sport because she is dedicated and improves her riding every time we're on the hill," Holmes said, adding that Chon has shown "rapid progression and growing passion for the sport and her community and I am very excited to see how much she develops this season."
Given the success of last year's girls team, Holmes said he's expecting big things from the Lions again, both in league competition and at state.
"These league events are just practice to most of my riders and the goal is to get our newcomers in that same physical and mental space as the rest of my returning riders," Holmes said. "I am really excited to get back up there with this talented crew."
The West Linn boys expect to challenge in 2020 as well, and believe that junior Peter Moller, senior Ashton Bowerly and sophomore Lucas Vega will be the athletes to lead the way.
"This year is looking promising as a lot of our best riders have been on team for some years now," Holmes said. "I feel like some names to keep eye out for this season … will be Peter Moller, Ashton Bowerly and Lucas Vega. These guys bring some of the best energy to the hill, they have the drive to learn and succeed in all fields of riding."
Also expected to make major contributions this year are sophomore Ronen Retzlaff and junior Adrian Reyes.
"(Retzlaff) is a straight boss. He's only a sophomore but brings the right mentality up to the hill every day. He has no fear of logging extra 'sky miles' or taking a spill. He puts in the work and choses to do so on his own," Holmes said, noting that Reyes "is one of the most positive individuals I have had the pleasure of coaching. Every season I have coached him, he has proven to grow exponentially since the beginning. He has the drive and is always setting PRs for himself and he always wants to one-up his previous results."
Holmes added that his team's early workouts and results give him hope that more greatness lies ahead for his boys team.
"These boys had been consistently putting up scores that were always better than previous contests last season and always trying to add a bit more style in their runs which is crucial in this sport," he said. "It's the only way to determine who's in control and who's completely out of control."
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