The Homer girls and Soldotna boys won Kenai Peninsula Borough Nordic ski races Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails behind Skyview High School.
The weather was perfect for being outside, with temperatures in the 30s and partially sunny skies. Such conditions are tricky for waxing for classical skiing, however.
Bree Mucha of Soldotna took home the individual win, skiing to a time of 21 minutes, 27 seconds, which was 1:18 faster than runner-up Marie Schmidt of Homer in the five-kilometer, mass-start competition.
“It was OK, considering the conditions,” Mucha said. “I had no kick, so I had to double pole the whole way.”
Soldotna head coach Dan Harbison explained that even with the nice conditions, coaches had to continually look for a faster wax setup.
“The conditions were changing all day, because of the snow we got yesterday, the snow we already had, and of course the temperatures today rising the way they are with the partially cloudy conditions,” he said.
Mucha said any waxing success was fleeting.
“We found a wax that worked earlier, and then the temperature changed and nothing worked,” she said.
Boys race winner Luke Michael of Soldotna held a different opinion.
“It felt awesome, it was a lot of fun,” Michael said. “Waxing for me was great, coaches did a great job, conditions were fast.”
Of course, he did win his race in 18:21, edging out teammate Dillon Jensen by 5.4 seconds. The boys also raced five kilometers.
“We separated off at the beginning, and I was trying to catch Luke the entire time, but he kept up too fast a pace for me to hang with him,” Jensen said. “Snow was pretty fast, but it was pretty hard to get up the hills.”
Overall, Homer’s girls team won top honors, with four skiers finishing in the top 10, as Schmidt finished second, Mady Gerard fifth, Kaya Morelli sixth and Cassidy Soistman seventh. Kenai finished second in the team standings, as Taylor Ostrander led the team in fourth, Alex Bergholtz in eighth, and Olivia Pfeifer in ninth. Sadie Fox of Soldotna finished third, and Mika Morton was Skyview’s top finisher in 10th.
The Soldotna boys won the team title, also taking four of the top-10 spots, as Michael took the win, Jensen was second, Jonas Wikstrom was fifth and Colton Diehl was ninth. The Kenai boys team was second overall, with Travis Cooper in third, Tyler Cooper in seventh, and Joe Bressler in 10th. Brian Rowe of Homer was fourth, Kade Cooper from Skyview was sixth, and Andre Lovett from Homer was eighth.
Mucha said that the conditions are a good test, because with spring coming there is a chance that the conference and state meets will be similar.
“If the temperatures at state are going to be warm, then this is a good chance to try it out,” Mucha said.
Michael said he is hoping Soldotna can have some solid races next weekend.
“As a team, we’re hoping to win regions, and put in a good effort at state, so it’s going to be intense,” Michael said. “Personally, I’d like to try and break into the top 10 at state, so we’ll see what happens.”
Harbison said the team is on the right track.
“We need to keep doing what we’re doing, and try to keep everybody healthy,” he said. “Bree’s had a great season, she’s finished first in the region every time, and Sadie Fox has had a good year too, and the boys are looking strong, so I’m pretty confident.”
Kenai Peninsula Borough meet
Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails
Team times: 1. Homer, 1:35:02. 2. Kenai, 1:37:27. 3. Soldotna, 1:44:51. 4. Skyview, 1:49:51.
Individual 5-kilometer results
1. Mucha, SoHi, 21:27. 2. Schmidt, Homer, 22:45. 3. Fox, SoHi, 23:03. 4. Ostrander, Kenai, 23:14. 5. Gerard, Homer, 23:56. 6. Morelli, Homer, 24:00. 7. Soistman, Homer, 24:20. 8. Bergholtz, Kenai, 24:27. 9. Pfeifer, kenai, 24:46. 10. Morton, Skyview, 24:51. 11. Fair, Kenai 24:59. 12. Ferguson, Kenai, 25:19. 13. Schmidt, Homer, 26:00. 14. Neill, Skyview, 26:28. 15. Nyquist, Kenai, 26:44. 16. George, Kenai, 26:50. 17. Hollers, Skyview, 27:03. 18. Valenzuela, SoHi, 28:09. 19. Miller, Homer, 28:29. 20. Schmidt, Homer, 28:53. 21. Farrington, Skyview, 31:28. 22. Gioachini, SoHi, 32:11. 23. Hauptman, Skyview, 32:16. 24. Harbison, SoHi, 33:10. 25. Nelson, SoHi, 35:06. 26. Ross, SoHi, 37:06.
Team times: 1. Soldotna, 1:16:20. 2. Kenai, 1:18:48. 3. Homer, 1:20:18. 4. Skyview, 1:21:09.
Individual 5-kilometer results
1. Michael, SoHi, 18:21. 2. Jensen, SoHi, 18:26. 3. Cooper, Kenai, 18:42. 4. Rowe, Homer, 19:18. 5. Wikstrom, SoHi, 19:28. 6. Cooper, Skyview, 19:31. 7. Cooper, Kenai, 19:35. 8. Lovett, Homer, 19:38. 9. Diehl, SoHi, 20:03. 10. Bressler, Kenai, 20:04. 11. Sparks, Skyview, 20:05. 12. Sorenson, Homer, 20:18. 13. Michaud, Kenai, 20:26. 14. Gilman, Kenai, 20:36. 15. Bishop, Skyview, 20:40. 16. Schlung, Skyview, 20:52. 17. Wentz, Homer, 21:03. 18. Kim, SoHi, 21:08. 19. Danielson, Kenai, 21:35. 20. Updike, Kenai, 22:01. 21. Sibley, Skyview, 22:14. 22. Cole, SoHi, 23:28. 23. Best, SoHi, 24:00. 24. Sasakura, Homer, 24:39. 25. Unhjem, Homer, 24:56. 26. Adickes, Homer, 26:44.