Crashes and surprises on day one of state snowboard championships

Steve Gerace

On the first day of the 2011 state snowboard championships Monday at Northstar, Mount Shasta’s Kevin Nielson rose up to claim the highest finish of any Siskiyou County racer.

Ranked fifth among North Division I boys racers at the end of the regular season, Nielson placed 15th in giant slalom in a field of 101 finishers on a CNISSF course that proved troublesome for some.

Weed’s Thad Schnack, the No. 1 seed from North 1, was fourth after Monday’s first run, then crashed on his second run and settled for 28th overall.

Nielson also finished in front of three other North 1 racers who placed above him during the regular season, Etna’s Tanner Schaefer (17th in the state GS), Etna’s Eric Freckman (25th) and Yreka’s Eric Sumner (31st).

Mount Shasta’s Chris Cazneaux, seeded 13th from North 1, placed 29th in the state GS, the fifth-best finish among Siskiyou County racers.

Weed freshman Marielle Schnack, the No. 1 seed from North 1, was 15th after her first GS run Monday, but crashed on her second run and finished 25th overall in a girls field of 70.

Marielle had the highest finish of any Siskiyou girls racer, while her teammate and best friend Elizabeth Stensaas placed 34th, the second-best finish from the North 1 league.

Michaela Backes of Mount Shasta was not far behind Stensaas at 41st, while teammate Cierrah Anson was 54th.

Also in the boys state GS, Devan Starling of Weed placed 69th, Cougar teammate Billy Feigley was 72nd, and Malcolm Mattson of Mount Shasta was 84th.

Weed High School coach Nancy Quigley said it was a beautiful day Monday at Northstar, although some soft snow from the night before led to rutty spots on the steeper top part of the course.

She said some racers had trouble with the conditions, but “a lot rode the ruts fine... There was a lot of good competition.”

Tuesday’s snowboard slalom races will be followed by ski giant slalom races Wednesday and ski slalom races Thursday.

The complete list of boys state GS results can be found at:, while the girls results are at: