CASPER – While snow remains elusive across Wyoming, the Pinedale High School alpine ski team is dominating the slopes at events where snow-making equipment has made competition possible.
The Wranglers and Lady Wranglers traveled to Hogadon Basin Ski Area near Casper for what head coach Dylan Bear called an “amazing competition” at the Bruce Studer Memorial on Thursday and Friday, Jan. 25-26.
Both the Pinedale girls’ and boys’ teams captured second place in the slalom competition on Friday, beating Natrona County, Kelly Walsh, Laramie and Cody and finishing just behind Jackson.
“This is a season goal met,” Bear said. “Now we will try to create a team that has skiers and skills, that on the right day, can outscore Jackson. Athletes have been the most prepared and coachable this season that I have ever seen.”
Overall, following both the giant slalom and slalom races on Casper Mountain, the Wranglers placed second as a team with 64 points and the Lady Wranglers took fourth place, posting 40 points.
In the giant slalom competition on Thursday, junior James Tolson led the varsity boys with an eighth-place finish and a combined time following two runs on the course of 1 minute, 10.83 seconds.
Senior Tristan Robertson placed 10th, timing both runs in at 1:11.36. Junior Destin Williams secured 16th place at 1:12.25 with sophomore Garrett Saunders in 16th at 1:14.77 and sophomore Dune Mecartney in 17th at 1:15.21.
In the girls’ varsity giant slalom, sophomore Ellie Tolson snagged 13th place, clocking both runs in at 1:19.42. Junior Nora Broadhead took 14th place with an overall time of 1:19.77. Senior Ana Mika came in 16th at 1:21.54 with fellow senior Kemmer Clause in 23rd at 1:26.17 and freshman Roxanne Melinkovich in 27th at 1:30.08.
On Friday, switching to the slalom course, Tolson placed seventh in boys’ varsity at 1:32.55. Mecartney came in 11th place at 1:40.15, Saunders 12th at 1:40.76 and Williams 15th at 1:45.87.
In the girls’ slalom races, Mika broke into the top 10 with a ninth-place finish at 1:50.70. Broadhead placed 11th at 1:51.72, Clause 12th at 1:52.97 and Melinkovich 18th at 2:00.90.
The Lady Wranglers and Wranglers competed at the Cody Invitational on Red Lodge Mountain on Feb. 2-3.
The Wrangler boys’ team captured second place overall at the meet, tallying 101.5 points, only a half-point shy of the first-place team, Jackson, at 102. The Lady Wranglers garnered fourth place with 37 points.
The competition opened with the slalom course on Friday. Four Wranglers broke into the varsity boys’ top 10 – Tolson captured fourth place with both runs timed in at 1:50.44. Senior Joe Boylan came in fifth at 1:54.88, with Mecartney in seventh at 2:02.03 and Williams eighth at 2:05.25.
In girls’ slalom, Ellie Tolson garnered seventh place with a combined time of 2:07.73. Broadhead placed 11th at 2:12.87, Mika 15th at 2:14.84, Melinkovich 19th at 2:23.02 and Clause 23rd at 2:52.14.
Saturday featured the giant slalom course. James Tolson led the boys’ varsity competition, placing fourth at 1:44.45. Robertson came in ninth at 1:51.12, Williams 10th at 1:51.35 and Mecartney 16th at 1:58.08.
Ellie Tolson came in eight place in girls’ giant slalom, posting an overall time of 2:00.32. Melinkovich placed 23rd at 2:18.97, with Clause in 24th at 2:19.07 and Mika 25th at 2:19.60.
The team is hoping for more snow with the prospects of hosting the Pinedale Invitational at Snow King in Jackson on Feb. 23-24.
“Wrangler pride is deep in the alpine ski team, much deeper than the current snow coverage,” Coach Bear said.