Mucha leads local skiers in Junior Nationals

Soldotna’s Bree Mucha was the highest finishing Peninsula finisher on Monday, the first of four days of the 2013 Junior Nationals cross-country ski championships at the Birch Hill trails in Fairbanks.

On Monday, Mucha finished 15th overall in a 5-kilometer freestyle race featuring J1 (ages 16 and 17) and OJ (Older Juniors, ages 18 and 19) skiers. Sixteen-year-old Tiril Weng from Norway won the race with a time of 14 minutes, 19.2 seconds and her twin sister Lotta Weng finished second, 17.9 seconds back.

Mucha was 1:44.1 behind the winner, but finished fifth among OJ skiers, skiing for Alaska Nordic Racing (ANR).

Sadie Fox, also from Soldotna, finished 30th in the womens J2 race, which was also a 5K freestyle event. Fox's time was 17:22.6, which was 1:46 behind winner Katharine Ogden from New England.

Soldotna’s Luke Michael, also racing for ANR, finished 115th overall, and 51st among OJ skiers in the mens 10K freestyle race, with a time of 32:14.3, about 5:40 behind overall winner Mattis Stenshagen from Norway.

Tuesday featured team relay races, and Michael teamed up with Fairbanks’ Kyle Hanson and Stefan Hajdukovich in the OJ mens 3x3.3K classic relay, finishing fifth with a team time of 29:09.4, only 1:08 behind the winning team.

Mucha teamed up with Anchorage’s Teagan Yutrzenka and Sarah Freistone to finish sixth in the OJ womens classic 3x3.3K relay. The trio finished with a time of 35:30.7, about 1:55 behind the winning team.

Fox was part of the eighth-place finishing team in the J2 relay, partnering up with Kinsey Denton and Magdalen York from APU. Their team time was 36:53.6, about 2:52 behind the top J2 team.

The action continues today with sprint freestyle races.

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