Kenworthy cruises to repeat

Placer senior caps career with one last dominant performance
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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TRUCKEE — Placer High skier Karly Kenworthy defended her reign as the No. 1 girl in the CNISSF state championships, winning Thursday’s slalom race by a margin of almost five seconds. Kenworthy, now a senior, ended her ski racing career on top despite whiteout conditions at Northstar. She said her passion for skiing and coaches over the years propelled her to a combined time of 1 minute and .2564 seconds. Kenworthy also won the giant slalom race on Wednesday. “This has basically been my goal for this year,” Kenworthy said. “I didn’t train a whole lot this year, but I think everything I learned skiing in Far West kicked in, along with just the passion.” Kenworthy said she can remember being as young as 5, skiing with teammate Evan Swayze at the Auburn Ski Club before they went their separate ways, only to meet again on Placer’s team this year. Kenworthy eventually began training in the highly competitive Far West division and Swayze attended the prestigious Sugar Bowl Academy until this last year of high school. While Kenworthy is passionate about skiing she gave it up at the more competitive level to bring some balance to her life. “It just got too competitive and it wasn’t fun anymore,” Kenworthy said. Swayze, who won several races this season and was a favorite going in, took second place in Wednesday’s GS with 1:42.25, but was barely edged out by Mammoth skier Jack Gephart who clocked in at 1:42.16. Harsh weather conditions in Thursday’s slalom changed the pace of the competition. “Some people may let it get to their heads and let it affect their skiing, but a lot of good skiers will use it to their advantage,” said Placer junior Lanae Rothe. Rothe was Placer’s next highest-ranking girl, skiing to a 12th place finish in the slalom with a combined time of 1.37.92. She finished 17th in the GS. The heavy snowfall and low visibility during the slalom factored into all three of the Placer boys missing gates and hiking back up the hill. Before Thursday’s race, Kenworthy said this was the strongest boys team Placer has ever had. Swayze placed fifth with a combined time of 1:23.51. Julian Faulkner earned an eighth place finish in the GS, but didn’t finish his second run of the slalom. “It’s just one of those things. You always wish for great weather, but if it’s bad you just have to keep a positive attitude,” said Placer senior Shannon O’Flaherty. “It was kind of sad when the boys fell. They all fell pretty much in the same spot. It was hard for them to see.” Despite a rough race, Swayze could revel in earning the No. 4 spot in the all-state rankings. Placer senior McCall Faulkenstein, who was a gatekeeper at the slalom said one positive thing was that the course was less icy than last year’s on Mount Shasta. The Colfax girls team dominated in the slalom with three top-10 finishes. Senior Nicole Baajka and freshman Stephanie Scott took 6th and 7th respectively, while senior Nicola Lorang placed 10th. Colfax coach Jeff Scott said he was proud that his team had no major errors, like a slip or a fall. “The conditions were terrible, but everybody had to do it,” Scott said. “I wasn’t concerned about the places they were going to finish in. All of my skiers were absolutely solid and consistent both days.” Colfax also represented strong in all-state rankings. Baajka was fifth, Lorang seventh and Scott was ninth as the Falcons claimed the girls state crown. Davis edged out Nevada Union for the team state crown, demonstrating the strength of the Central II Division in which Placer and Colfax compete during the regular season. Reach Sara Seyydin at