Through a tough ski season marred by a lack of snow and limited practice time, The Dalles trio of Matt Gragg, Louis Red Cloud and Maddie Gragg all qualified as individuals for Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association state action in both slalom and giant slalom events.
Both the boys and girls teams missed out on going to state for the alpine races by one place.
In league, the boys take four teams to state, with The Dalles chalking up fifth place overall, and in the girls’ division, which invites three teams, the Riverhawks managed a fourth-place outcome in league.
The youngest athlete on the varsity roster, Maddie Gragg, a freshman from South Wasco County, is on a meteoric rise through the ranks as she wrapped up seventh in the giant slalom and slalom, which put her at seventh place overall.
“Maddie being top-10 in league in giant slalom and slalom is something we are all very proud of,” TD head coach Dane Klindt said. “I’m super excited about working with Maddie for the next three years, and I am sure if she wants she can end up being one of the top high school racers in the state.”
Red Cloud, a junior from Dufur High School, wound up seventh in the giant slalom standings, 19th in slalom for 11th overall out of 35 participants.
“Louis has worked really hard at making it to the state level and he has finally done it,” Klindt said.
Matt Gragg, a senior out of South Wasco County, had his best finish of 12th in the giant slalom, tacked on 20th in slalom and placed 19th on the league side.
As one of a few seniors, Gragg made the most of his opportunities to punch his state ticket in both events.
“He has been a great asset to the team,” Klindt said. “Him qualifying for state alpine this year is something he needs to be proud of and I’m excited to be a part of coaching him at the state level.”
On Sunday, teams participated in a slalom at Ski Bowl, where Maddie Gragg and Petra van Kessel-Ervin, were ninth and 14th, respectively, and Matt Gragg (15th), Red Cloud (16th) and Ethan Martin (24th) were the best of the boys bunch.
Maddie Gragg racked up final marks of one minute and 4.2 seconds and 1:03.68 for a 2:07.70 total, van Kessel-Ervin added times of 1:09.82 and 1:06.53 to secure her 2:16.35 and 14th place.
Addie Klindt claimed marks of 1:16.70 and 1:15.43 and a two-run time of 2:32.13.
“Addie is a very solid skier with great skills,” Klindt said. “Petra really turned it on last weekend. I have never seen Petra ski as well as she did in this last slalom. Her hard work is really showing and she proved to be someone who, next year, will help carry our girls team.”
Emma Diede locked down 26th place after rolling out to marks of 1:17.83 and 1:15.04 to snag a total of 2:32.87.
Hannah Biehn started with a 1:19.47 and improved the second time around with a final tally of 1:19.14, which gave her a 2:38.61 for 32nd place out of 44 racers.
Biehn, a freshman, had solid performances on the slopes in her first campaign, while Diede capped her career 26th in the slalom events.
“Hannah is a true competitor and over the next couple of years she is going to go from being a solid skier to a great racer,” coach Klindt said. “Emma has turned into one of our most solid skiers. I knew I could always count on Emma to finish and get us our third team time. She is going to really be missed.”
For the boys, Matt Gragg secured 15th place as he followed up his first run of 1:04.83 with a second turn at 1:03.44 to total 2:08.27.
One spot behind Gragg was Red Cloud, who hustled to a 1:05.14 in his opening bid and then notched a second try of 1:04.62 for a time of 2:09.76 to take 16th place.
“Matt and Louis both skied great,” coach Klindt said. “Louis really has shown to be a solid slalom racer. I’m excited for Louis, but even more excited that he is a junior and he should be moving up next year in the league and competing at the state level.”
Ending up 24th in the field of 40, Martin started out in 1:14.68 and motored home with a second-run mark of 1:11.85 to grab a combined 2:26.53.
TD’s final male racer was George Harrison, who kicked in a 1:21.45 on his first run and then reeled off a 1:12.46 to get a 2:33.91 for 30th place overall.
“Ethan has shown to be a true competitor. He’s working hard and has a lot of natural talent that he will be bringing back next year,” coach Klindt said.
“George is only a sophomore, and as the youngest on the team, he is going to be someone to watch in the coming years.”
State will be held at Mount Bachelor for the first time in seven years, and every TD skier qualified for Skiercross on March 7.
The Gragg duo and Red Cloud all hit the state trail Thursday and Friday, March 8-9 from Bend.