West Linn boys, Jayden Tait test themselves at state skiing
The snow was deep, the hill was steep and the competition was greater than ever.
Facing that, West Linn's best skiers had no choice but to step up and compete.
In the end, the Lions left it all on the mountain.
The West Linn ski team, competing in the Oregon Independent Ski Racing Association state meet on Mt. Ashland March 5-6, took its best shots against the state's best at state and showed they could compete.
"It was pretty challenging and demanding for both our boys and girls teams," said West Linn junior Cole Meaney. "But I thought our performance was about as perfect as it could be. There were some hiccups, but overall, I thought we performed as well as we could have."
West Linn used its talent and depth to grab 10th in the slalom with a team time of 4 minutes, 33.85 seconds, 11th in the giant slalom at 5:14.96 and ninth in the boys combined scoring at 9:48.81.
Lincoln's boys won the slalom, Oregon Episcopal School took the GS and the Cardinals walked off with the boys combined title.
The Lions saw five skiers notch scores in the March 5 slalom, that group led by Brian Wicklund's 22nd-place finish at 1:26.36. West Linn's other placers included: Quinn Salmon, 30th at 1:30.44; Kye Martin, 41st at 1:37.05; Meaney, 44th at 1:39.88; and William Alexy, 52nd at 1:46.59.
West Linn came back in the March 6 giant slalom, with four of its six skiers competing both their runs, that group led by Meaney's 34th-place finish at 1:42.50. Following Meany were: Wicklund, 44th at 1:45.43; Martin, 61st at 1:54.22; Alexy, 63rd at 1:54.75.
Salmon and Mac Graves also qualified to compete in the GS.
Together, those efforts left Wicklund in 22nd place in the combined standings, followed by Meaney in 30th, Martin in 34th and Alexy in 38th.
Lincoln's Klebleev Timur won the individual crown in the slalom at 1:11.31, OES' Alex Ugas set the pace in the GS at 1:26.1 and Klebleev took top honors in the combined scoring.
"For those of us coming back (next year) ... the experience of a couple state races will really help," Meaney said.
For West Linn's girls, Jayden Tait stepped up to make the most of her opportunity as the Lions' lone representative at state.
In the March 5 giant slalom, Tait raced to 21st in the field with a finishing time of 1:44. Wilsonville's Cailin Gahan took first in the GS at 1:33.21.
Tait came back strong in the March 6 slalom, racing to 11th at 1:29.18, while Wilsonville's Kiera Bertell took top honors with a 1:21.29.
And finally, in the girls combined scoring, Tait finished ninth overall with a mark of 3:13.59; Bertell won the overall title at 3:01.33.
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