The Smithers Secondary School Alpine Team has had a decent season so far capturing a first place finish for both the boys and girls ski teams as well as a second place finish in boys snowboarding at Zone championships in Prince George, February 4-5.
There were 118 racers competing for the top prize in the Northwestern zone finals from seven schools. Smithers qualified 19 of their 25 athletes for provincials that weekend. Notable performances were laid down by Tianna Adzich, Zoe Blewett, Aimee Gagnier and Alannah Markert for first, third, fourth and fifth in girls skiing. Brandon Markert finished first and simply annihilated the field by almost 5 seconds in boys snowboarding, the largest (58 racers) and most competitive of the 4 categories. Honourable mention must go to Helena Reske, an exchange student from Germany who placed sixth overall and qualified as an individual for provincials in girls snowboarding.
“The coaching staff was thrilled with the team’s performance and impressed at the skill level of racers in the North,” said head coach, Mike Daniels in an email to the Interior News.
Provincials were in Whistler this year, Feb. 27-29 with a 15 person team heading down from Smithers.
“The big show at Whistler did not disappoint, from high speed quads to a 5 km top to bottom run, the team was wide-eyed and ready to rock.,” Daniels explained.
The Giant Slalom course was wide and fairly open to Smithers competitors, who have been training mostly on soft powdery snow. Not the hard icy conditions on race day in Whistler.
First up was the SSS snowboarding team, consisting of six boys and one girl as well as an exchange student from Germany. With three teams from top ski academies in the Kootenays Smithers knew the event was not going to be easy. Over 196 athletes attended the competition so it was a tough field to pull ahead of.
On day three of the Provincials all the teams were surprised with a change of event. Going from a basic slalom course to a Terrain G.S. course. Born from boarder cross this event features high bank corners, table tops and leg burning rollers. With no opportunity to train this event, the racers ran though a number of times to nail down techniques before race day. In no time the full 330 competitors blasted through the course and as times were inching ever so closely together, the intensity was building.
The Smithers boys snowboard team finished second overall out of the 14 schools who attended.
Brandon Markert finished seventh out of the 72 racer pack. In the girls division, German exchange student Helena Reske finished with an impressive sixth place finish overall in the 49 racer field.
On the ski side of things, Smithers placed thirteenth out of 17 schools competing, and the fastest Smithereens on the hill were Tianna Adzich, finishing thirty-fifth out of 83 and Andrew Nelson, who finished twenty-sixth out of 86 skiers.
However, it was a solid day for all the northern teams. The Burns Lake snowboarders ran away with a first place victory in the boys category and second in the girls and Fort St. James finished third overall in the girls division as well.
The Smithers Secondary Alpine team would like to thank all our sponsors for the Ski-A-Thon as well as the Bulkley Valley Credit Union and Hudson Bay Mountain for a great season of competition in the North.