Paced by Grant Dunkelman’s third-place performance, the Douglas High alpine ski team captured third-place in the combined results Thursday during a Tahoe Basin Ski League giant slalom at Alpine Meadows.
Douglas finished fourth in the boys team standings with 162 points and fifth in the girls race with 136 points. North Tahoe won the meet with 391 points, followed by South Tahoe with 368 and Douglas 298.
“The kids had a great day,” coach Christina Brown said. “They skied well. For us to get third is a great result.”
Dunkelman tied South Tahoe’s Chad Kaassamani for third (1 minute, 2.48 seconds) in the boys race. Dunkelman was tied with North Tahoe’s Drew Austin for the lead with times of 32.05 seconds after the first run. Austin was more than two seconds faster on the second run to win the race in 1:01.83, while Lakers teammate Harry Goss finished second (1:02:07).
“It seemed pretty normal to me,” Dunkelman said of his first run. “It was an easy course, but then when I finished, everyone was all excited (about the time). I was just stoked to be in first-place.”
This marked the highest individual finish in league competition for Dunkel, a senior who has qualified for the state championships each of the last three seasons.
“He’s been top 15 in the boys points every year,” coach Debby Thompson said. “He’s just very consistent.”
Senior Tyler Cottrill also placed 12th (1:05.10) and freshman Danner Hillman 16th (1:06.24).
“Danner is going to be a strong competitor all season,” Brown said.
Bradley Loshbough finished 34th (1:12.05) Trent DeGiovanni 39th (1:14.06) for the Tigers.
In the girls race, Tara Cottrill led Douglas with her 14th-place time of 1:07.55 that was one second out of the top 10.
Incline’s Emily Donahue won the race with a time of 1:03.54.
Kate Hill also placed 26th (1:16.23), Carolyn Wilbur 27th (1:17.63) and Tess Laub 29th (1:17.95) for the Tigers. Katya Koepsel finished 35th (1:29.14), freshman Mary Weyland 37th (1:33.40), Rachel Murphey 38th (1:35.09) and Taylor Duby 41st (1:47.86) to contribute points for the Tigers.
Maddie Jordan took fifth-place in the J.V. girls competition in 1:51.46.
In the J.V. boys race, Bryan Harris placed ninth (1:14.65) to lead the Tigers. Logan Lalonde (1:17.21), Owen Elmquest (1:18.10), Sam Wilson (1:21.34), Jon Pelcher 54th (1:22.18), Cole Pinther 56th (1:22.56), Zach Ingrey (1:23.91), Sam Brees (1:24.85), Callen Gilmartin (1:26.65), Logan Kyle (1:28.30), Lars Ponsness (1:31.86) and Levi Costa (1:35.81).
The Tigers entered the season with 36 racers on the team.
“That’s a great number,” Brown said. “This is one of the larger teams we’ve had in a while.”
The Tahoe Basin Ski League represents a formidable challenge, too. Just consider that the original league schools — Truckee, North Tahoe, Incline, Whittell and South Tahoe — have produced Olympians.
The Tigers do have experience coming back, with no less than 10 returnees from last year.
Dunkelman qualified for the state championships last year. Other returnees for the boys team include Cottrill, Pelcher, Loshbough, DeGiovanni, Lalonde, Elmquist, Pinther, Wilson and Ingrey.
On the girls side, Cottrill, Laub, Wilbur, Hill, Duby and Lindsey Adams are returnees. Cottrill qualified to compete at the state championships.
One change on the regular season league schedule is the addition of a dual slalom format. The first regular season dual slalom race was held Tuesday at Alpine Meadows (results were unavailable at press time).
Dunkelman was competitive in the dual slalom competition held at the state championships last year when he advanced to the round of 16.
“It’s pretty fun,” coach Brown said. “I lost to the guy who won it (in 2013), so I’m looking forward to seeing what I can do this year.”