One-two punch: Eagle Indian ski teams earn spots in state finals

THE DALLES WAHTONKA ski team members and coaches stand in for a group shot after skiing at a recent event at Mount Hood Meadows. They are (pictured from left to right, front row), Alyssa Carrico, Maya Barnard-Davidson, Carsen Cordell, Bailey Cordell, Emma Ell-Smith and Zoe Ley. In the back row are, head coach Jeff Cordell, Mark Johnson, Eli Holeman, Kale Underhill, Travis Diede and assistant coach Steve Dugick. This past Saturday, both the boys and girls qualified for the state event on Skibowl.

The Dalles — In their final regular season ski event, The Dalles Wahtonka boy’s and girl’s ski teams showed why they are program to be reckoned with.

Both teams earned state berths, and the TDW boy’s team had all four skiers finish in the top-11 to grab its second victory of the season in Mount Hood Ski League action Saturday at Skibowl.

Each team had eventful journeys in picking up their results.

With Carsen Cordell out of the girl’s ski lineup and senior Maya Barnard-Davidson disqualified after losing skis on her first run, a state berth for The Dalles Wahtonka girl’s ski team rested on the performances of Bailey Cordell, Alyssa Carrico and Emma Ell-Smith.

And they knocked it out of the park.

Bailey Cordell made it through her attempt, and both Carrico and Ell-Smith put forth their top performances of the year in combining times for fifth place and a state qualification.

“It didn’t look good for the team’s state prospects,” said TDW ski coach Jeff Cordell. “Those three girls were fast enough to beat Grant High and get us into the state race. (It) turned out to be an awesome day for the team as a whole.”

With the Skibowl course on Reynolds run hit with more than a foot of snow earlier in the day, there was a long delay and the safety and time factor allowed for only one run from each participant.

Bailey Cordell had a final time of one minute and 27.54 seconds to wrap up 10th place, more than 11 seconds behind overall winner, Hood River Valley’s Lucy McLean (1:16.30).

Carrico then churned out a personal-best time on the Skibowl course at Reynolds Run, with a final rally of 1:43.22 to place 22nd overall.

Ell-Smith, with bib 23, had one more try to go before Grant’s final participant, at 26, so her final time was critical.

Ell-Smith dashed through her run with a season-best and career-best time of 1:50.21 for 27th place and a three-person score of 5:00.97.

Grant High School needed a top-10 time out of Claire Toland, but she could only deliver a 1:47.88 to amass a combined mark of 5:10.22, so that gave TDW a spot on the state roster.

Also for the girls, Zoe Ley had a final giant slalom mark of 2:36.59, and Barnard-Davidson secured a freestyle victory on the half-pipe to put herself at No. 3-ranked across the nation.

On the boy’s side, this Eagle Indian quartet had their eyes on another team win and chance to beat Hood River Valley.

Eli Holeman tallied his fifth win of the season and teammates Kale Underhill and Mark Johnson hit on personal bests to lead TDW to a state berth and a more than five-second triumph over Hood River Valley.

Coach Cordell said since it was a one-run race, that each boy went all out and ended up crushing the field by a large margin.

Holeman crossed the wire in a champion time of 1:16.72, a rally that put him 1.13 seconds ahead of his next competitor, Hood River Valley’s Ryan Colesar (1:17.85).

One run earlier, HRV’s top skier, William Lamer, fell into trouble on the course and finished his attempt in 1:38.19 for 23rd place.

Lamer’s slip-up opened the door for TDW.

Underhill, a senior, followed up both Colesar and Lamer with bib No. 61, and motored his way to a time of 1:21.74 for fifth place in the standings.

So, through two runs apiece, TDW was ahead of Hood River by 17.58 seconds.

Johnson strapped on his skis next for his only run and put the pedal to the metal in a seventh-place marker of 1:22.79 to the increase the lead even more.

“The course had gotten bumpy from the girls and the soft snow, but our boys weren’t about to let that slow them down,” said coach Cordell. “We just crushed the entire field. Our boys really wanted to win.”

Those three times put up by Holeman, Underhill and Johnson gave the Tribe an overall mark of 4:02.25, but Hood River still had four skiers left, while TDW had one.

At 67 and 68 were Hood River’s Patrick Crompton and Nick Cooper.

Crompton came out in full force for fourth place in the standings, with a 1:20.98 and Cooper followed that act up in 1:29.16 to give Hood River its three-time tally of 4:07.99.

To add even more pressure to Hood River, Diede stepped up to the edge and gave it all he had for a 1:26.18 for 11th place and another top effort by the Tribe.

HRV still had time to shave more time down, but William Ferrick could only manage a 1:31.85, and on the next turn, Austin Marques did not finish.

“Eli had his fifth win with an impressive time,” coach Cordell said. “Kale, Travis and Mark all skied hard and are looking forward the state race.”

The Tribe has eight days to prepare for state.

State action kicks off for two days at 8:30 a.m. on March 7-8 at Skibowl on Mount Hood.

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