Outlaws skiers perform well in State competition
Last updated 3/10/2021 at Noon
Bela Chladek, a sophomore at Sisters High School (SHS), finished fourth overall in the combined results at the unofficial Alpine State Championships held March 4-5 at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl. Chladek led the Outlaws in completing a very successful alpine ski season.
Due to the pandemic, the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association (OISRA) opted out of having an official season, so coaches and volunteers stepped in to make a season happen for the teams interested in taking part.
A total of 16 teams from schools all over Oregon — of which SHS was the smallest — took part in the finals.
The Outlaws boys placed fifth overall over the two days, behind Central Catholic, Sunset, Jesuit, and the Central Oregon Storm club team.
Chladek placed third in the slalom races on Friday and came back with fast times in the giant slalom, where he placed ninth overall. With the combined times of both days he earned fourth place among 100 racers, with a cumulative time of 2:39.2.
“Bela’s high finish as a sophomore is simply outstanding,” said Head Coach Gabe Chladek.
Parker Anderson of Riverdale placed first in both the slalom and giant slalom to run away with the overall individual title with a combined time of 2:31.98.
Complete combined results for the rest of the Outlaws boys included: Corbin Fredland, 2:49.63 (20th); Duey Brody, 3:05.55 (39th); Conner Petke, 3:16.57 (53rd); and Ryan Goff, 3:26.58 (62nd).
Team places are determined by the combined times of each team’s top-three finishers in slalom and giant slalom. Each team can have up to five skiers start, but only the top three score.
Central Catholic won the overall team title by a clear margin, with a cumulative time of 7:55.43. Sisters’ cumulative time was 8:34.60.
In the girls competition, Annie Hendrickson of Oregon Episcopal School led her team to the team title as the overall individual winner with a total time of 2:35.10, five full seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
The top Outlaws girl, freshman Presley Adelt, placed 15th (2:54.00), followed by freshman Charlotte Seymour, 3:16.49 (48th) and junior Piper Adelt 3:26.67 (62nd) as the three scorers contributing to the overall team score.
A total of 100 racers took part in the girls meet.
Ski racing is an unforgiving sport according to Coach Chladek.
“If you don’t go for a fast time, you have no chance of placing highly, but if you push hard and crash or miss a gate, you are out of the running for a combined score and place — so each skier has to find the balance for what works best for them,” he said.
Junior Hollie Lewis and freshman Araiya Grummer also skied well but lost out on overall scores due to mishaps on day one in the slalom race. Lewis placed among the top third on her first run, but did not complete her second one, resulting in no combined score. For Grummer, a technical fault disqualified her in the second run after she finished in the top half of the field in her first go.
“I never fault a skier who crashes or misses a gate, because it usually means they are being aggressive, which is what ultimately separates leaders from the rest of the field,” Chaldek said.
“The girls team of two juniors and three freshmen skied very competitively and gained great experience by competing at a high level like the state meet and they showed tremendous support for one another throughout,” said Chladek.
Chladek had nothing but praise for his very young team.
“Other than senior Conner Petke, our team is comprised mostly of underclassmen, including a majority of freshmen,” he said. “Many of the skiers had no racing experience prior to entering high school and held their own against much more veteran racers from other schools.”
The state meet was a happy conclusion to a season that started with no real hope of competition taking place, once OISRA announced it would not be involved due to the pandemic.
“We started the season with the understanding that it might just be a group of kids training and then skiing on their own recreationally,” said Chladek. “But once the snow started to fall the coaches banded together to try to make something happen, and we did it.”
Chladek and his wife, Rima Givot, who assisted, got to work with parents and other volunteers to put some meets together resulting in a total of eight races taking place.
“We figured out all the things we needed to do to make it safe with the virus,” said Chladek. “We practiced dry-land outdoors, wore masks, kept distance, drove separately to the mountain, and more to make sure we were being as safe as possible. It took a lot of extra effort, but it was worth it to give these kids the opportunity to be active after being bottled up at home for so long.”
Chladek felt the camaraderie on the team was especially rich this year.
“I think everyone felt grateful to be together to ski and do other fun stuff,” he said.
Because of the flipped sports seasons for other sports, some girls who normally would be playing basketball during the winter got a chance to take part on the team, which was a bonus for everyone, according to Chladek.
“It was satisfying to have 20 kids out being active during the winter who otherwise might have been stuck at home,” he said. “I appreciate all the support and encouragement we got from Gary Thorson, the athletic director, and all of our parents.”