New coach, same result.
The Ashland High School boys snowboard team won two of three events and placed second in the third to claim the program’s fourth straight Oregon Interscholastic Snowboard Association state title and seventh in the last 10 years last week at Mount Hood.
Led by senior Che Tratensek-Contor, the Grizzlies placed second in the individual banked slalom Thursday and won the slopestyle event the following day to inch closer to victory. Then for good measure, needing only a top-three finish to clinch, the Grizz boys won the halfpipe competition Saturday to lap the competition.
The Ashland girls, led by senior Mayla Sumner, won the halfpipe and placed third in the slopestyle.
The boys’ victory continued Ashland’s longstanding tradition of mountain dominance even as it transitioned through a changing of the guard at the top, as new head coach Brian Jimenez took over for Matt Faurot.
“It was an incredible feeling to know that Ashland High School’s senior boys have created a dynasty,” Jimenez said. “One of our boys, Che Tratensek-Contor, has podiumed [top six] all four years of his high school career. I don’t think that’s ever been done before by a competitor of a snowboard program.”
John Corder placed second out of 76 riders to pace the Grizz boys in Thursday’s banked slalom. Tratensek-Contor placed 18th and Joviel Gallagher 25th to help Ashland head into Friday’s slopestyle event ranked second behind Grant in the team standings.
Tratensek-Contor bested 82 other riders to win the slopestyle a year after placing third in the event, while teammates Hap Snyder placed eighth and Gallagher ninth. Ashland’s Gabe Kraft was 20th.
That balance, combined with Grant’s fourth-place finish, gave the Grizz boys all the momentum heading into the final day of the state meet, and they charged through the tape full steam by rolling past 14 other teams in the half pipe. Trantensek-Contor was runner-up for the second year in a row out of 50 riders, while Gallagher placed sixth and Vance Patterson eighth. Seamus Corrigan, a freshman, finished 16th in the event.
The OISA waits until a night-time ceremony to announce the final team standings, but after their halfpipe performance the Grizzlies and everybody else on hand knew which team would leave Mount Hood with the championship trophy.
Jimenez credited the team’s work ethic — the Grizzlies practiced three days a week, while other teams, he estimated, manage only one — and noted the respect the Grizzlies received at state thanks in part to the Rookroo (pronounced rue-crew), a group of Ashland snowboarders assembled three years ago by Trantensek-Contor which stars in videos posted on his YouTube page.
“The boys were not as surprised as I would have liked them to be,” Jimenez said of the victory. “They kind of knew that they had it. For the last two years Ashland’s been kind of a feared competitor. You hear a lot of other coaches and other riders talking about the Ashland High School snowboard team and the Rookroo because a lot of snowboarders in Oregon are watching the Rookroo snowboard (videos) throughout the year that they are consistently putting out. It’s not like any other group of snowboarders in the state of Oregon.”
Sumner placed sixth out of 26 girls and teammate Amani Mussell took eighth in the halfpipe. Also for the Grizz girls, Gracie Bales placed ninth and Etana Mussell 11th.
In the slopestyle, Bales placed 12th out of 39 riders to lead the Ashland girls, while Sumner placed 15th and Mussell 21st.
Sumner was the only Grizz girl to compete in the banked slalom, placing 16th out of 31 competitors.
“Since I started coaching five years ago, we haven’t had top finishers in the girls’ department until this year,” Jimenez said, “so that was a very, very cool thing.”
Joe Zavala is a reporter for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at 541-821-0829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @Joe_Zavala99.