The Ashland High alpine ski team finds itself in a familiar position heading into the final weekend of the regular season - at the top of the Southern League standings.
The Ashland High alpine ski team finds itself in a familiar position heading into the final weekend of the regular season — at the top of the Southern League standings.
With state berths for both their boys and girls teams already in hand, the Grizzlies will try to add some hardware to their already jam-packed trophy case Friday and Saturday at Mount Ashland. The Ashland boys are tied with Klamath in the team standings and have the top individual skier in the league (Dylan Fisher) in position to snag the first-place trophy, while the Ashland girls have locked up first and also will roll out the league's points leader (Megan Ganim).
The last of the SL's three giant slaloms will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, and the last of the three slaloms begins at 10 a.m. Saturday. An awards ceremony, to be held in the fourth floor of the lodge, follows Saturday's race.
The state meet will be at Mount Hood in early March. Ashland coach Gary Kings expects Ashland to be well represented there.
"I believe if our boys do the best that they can, they can win (a state title)," he said.
Leading that charge is Fisher, who has won three of four Southern League races to rack up 307 points. That gives the sophomore a healthy, but not insurmountable, 78-point lead over second-place Nicholas Wogan of Klamath.
Three more Grizz boys enter the weekend in the top 10: Logan McKelvey is sixth with 166 points, Alek Bishop is seventh with 151 points and Collin Hamel is 10th with 115 points.
Five skiers plus one alternate from each team that qualifies for state, in addition to the top three individuals, will make the trip to Mount Hood.
While a Wogan comeback is mathematically possible, it will require an upset or two this weekend against Fisher, who might be able to contend for a state title as well.
"He is in that class," said King, when asked if Fisher could win it all at state. "I think he's at worst a top five and I think he could win. He was learning things at such a faster pace than others (when he started skiing) and he's an athlete, a true athlete. And not only is he a gifted athlete, he works hard."
On the girls side, there's Ashland, and then there's everybody else. Three of the league's top four skiers are Grizzlies, and two more give Ashland five of the league's top seven in the individual standings.
Atop that list is Ganim, who possesses a slim 320 to 304 lead over second-place Mackenzie Legg of Phoenix. Ashland's Maddie Chaves is third with 290 points and teammate Maya Terry-Shindelma is fourth with 161 points.