2019 CAL State Preview

February 25, 2019


The much anticipated CNISSF State Championships is coming up this weekend. A season's worth of competitive races have set the stage for the final showdown. Since KZM is new to California, Lets break down the State Championships and make some predictions based on a seasons worth of Speed Ratings 




The Race

Unlike the two-day NY State Championships, California racers will have to conquer the one-and-done all encompassing 6K Skiathlon. Starting with the classic technique and switching to skate, only racers who can effectively race both techniques will find themselves at the front of the field.


The course

Only two laps of 3K may not sound like a daunting task, however, both laps conquer the intimidating Controlled Burn hill at the Auburn Ski Club. Add the 7500 feet of elevation and we will surly see plenty of exhausted athletes at the finish line.


Boys Race

Looking at the season’s speed ratings there is one skier who stands head and shoulders above the rest: Sugar Bowl Academy’s Nate Cutler. Expect a tight race between Nate, Cooper Anderson (North Lake Tahoe), Steffen Cuneo (Truckee) and Nik Burkhart (North Lake Tahoe) through the classic portion of the race, but don’t be surprised when Cutler takes off in the skate and opens up a commanding lead for the win. Anderson and Cuneo will battle for second, however Cuneo has fallen just short of Anderson all season. It will be tight for second, but past performance has to give Anderson the edge for second.



KZM predicts the top 10:

  1. Nate Cutler, Sugarbowl Academy

  2. Cooper Anderson, North Tahoe

  3. Steffen Cuneo, Truckee

  4. Nik Burkhart, North Tahoe

  5. Max Roske, North Tahoe

  6. Phoenix Sanchez, North Tahoe

  7. Etienne Bordes, North Tahoe

  8. Jared Mahler, Mammoth

  9. Matt Seline, Truckee

  10. Cooper Honeywell, North Tahoe

Boys Team Score:

No contest here, North Tahoe is going to murder the points. And you can take that to the bank. With 6 in the top ten, there’s barely any room for any other schools.  


Girls Race

Much like the boys, expect to see a white and pink ski suit to be far ahead of the field as the racers begin approaching the finish line. Sugarbowl Academy’s Sophia Sanchez will be using this race in her final prep for JN’s next month where she has a serious chance of winning a national championship. Don’t blink because you might miss Sanchez as she darts by on the course.


After Sanchez, expect a tight field to battle for the remaining podium spots. The only racer who has both relatively high classic and skate Speed Ratings is North Tahoe’s Kili Lehmkuhl. With both technique averages being over 100, Kili will be in good position should the mass start competition start fast and furious, stretching out the field. Along with Kili, North Tahoe’s Alani Powell and Lily Murnane have over 100 skate speed ratings. Should the classic lap be more conservative and tactical, all three of these NT girls will have an edge against Sugarbowl’s Hayden McJunkin and Kianna Mullings for the two remaining podium spots. However, due to Sanchez’s fierce and fast skiing, KZM expects her to set a fast tone from the gun and those with higher classic ability will give themselves a lead into the equipment exchange. Those who consider themselves skate specialists will have to spend most of their second lap catching up to overtake, instead of opening a gap.


KZM Predicts top 10:

  1. Sophia Sanchez, Sugarbowl

  2. Kili Lehmkuhl, North Tahoe

  3. Alani Powell, North Tahoe

  4. Hayden McJunkin, Sugarbowl

  5. Lily Murnane, North Lake

  6. Kianna Mullings, Sugarbowl

  7. Lizetta Dardenne-Ankringa, Mammoth

  8. Samantha Swan, Sugarbowl

  9. Caitlin Smith, Truckee

  10. Sami Samuels, Sugarbowl



Girls Team Score:

The team scores will be very tight. The biggest wild-card in the whole situation is Sugarbowl’s Lexie Madigan. Having not raced a single High School race this season because of biathlon racing, Lexie has not recorded a Speed Rating this season. Should the Jr. World biathlete race, she will surely be in the top 3 and completely destroy North Tahoe’s chances at a team title. However, if Lexie does not toe the line, the battle between SBA and NT will be tight. With four predicted in the top 10, KZM has to give the title to Sugarbowl Academy. But if NT can rally and squeak ahead of key SBA rivals, the defending champs may be crowned again.


What do you think? If history has shown us anything, it’s that KZM has been wrong before. Will KZM's prophecy come true? Or will this year's competitors have something else in mind? Comment on Instagram or Facebook your prediction for Girls and Boys top 3 to enter for a chance to win a KZM hat. One thing is for sure: This weekend’s day of nordic racing is sure to be action packed and exciting.







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