Skyview's Noah King tucks down a hill near the finish of Saturday's 7.5-kilometer classic race during the SoHi New Year Pursuit. King won the boys event.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Skyview High School's Noah King posted the top time in Friday's 5-kilometer freestyle race, then skied away from the pack in Saturday's 7.5-kilometer classical race to claim the top combined finish at the SoHi New Year Pursuit cross-country ski meet hosted by Soldotna at Tsalteshi Trails.
"It was excellent," King said of the two-day event. "It was super-fast. The glide was great. It was a beautiful day."
In the girls competition, Skyview's Elisabeth Habermann won the freestyle event while Soldotna's Katy Pankoski clocked the fastest time in the classical race. Habermann had enough of an edge to claim the overall prize, though, with Pankoski second in the standings, 17 seconds back.
"I didn't have very good kick. A lot of it was double-pole, but going up the hills I would think of my teammate, Katie Franzmann, and our team placement. That really helped me get up there," said Pankoski, explaining that between the time teams tested waxes and the start of the race, the temperature warmed a little and many skiers were a little bit off with their kick wax selections.
Pankoski started 30 seconds behind Habermann in Saturday's race, which was formatted with the fastest skiers from Friday's competition leaving the gate first. Competitors started in pairs every 30 seconds, and while Pankoski very nearly caught Habermann at the end, Habermann knew her time from Friday gave her a cushion of more than 30 seconds.
"She had a really awesome race today," said Habermann of Pankoski. "... It was fun. It was a nice course, and we haven't had a chance to classic much (due to warm weather). We want to classic more so we can improve in that."
Pankoski said her goal for the race had been to try to catch up to Franzmann, who started at the same time as Habermann, and was surprised to nearly catch Habermann.
"If we can get close together, it means a better team finish," Pankoski said. "Having Katie stay with Elisabeth really helped. I couldn't do it without Katie it would be like skiing with a broken pole."
Kenai's Christopher Hall leads Susitna Valley's Nico Ambrose up the first hill of Saturday's 7.5 kilometer classic race. Hall finished in second place overall for the two-day event.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The effort paid off as the Soldotna girls were successful in their pursuit of the team title. Franzmann was third overall, Lauren Olendorff was 10th and Brittany Osland skied to a 12th-place finish.
Erika Klaar cracked the top 10 for Homer, finishing sixth overall. Kenai's Synneva Hagen-Lillevik was seventh and Skyview's Kendra Merkes took eighth.
In the boys race, King said he was thrilled to be out in front Saturday after starting near the back of the field Friday.
"I got in front of Joe (Dougherty of Colony) right before the angle hill and I kept in front of him and built my lead up," King said. "It was really nice to be out in front. I'm usually behind three or four people, so this is the first race I've been ahead of everybody.
"It's a little harder to push myself, but normally in practice I ski alone, so I can push myself."
King said skiing on his home course worked to his advantage because he knew exactly where to push himself and where he could relax for a few strides.
King's closest pursuer was Kenai's Christopher Hall, who started 30 seconds back and caught Dougherty about halfway around the course. The two battled for the rest of the race, with Hall finally passing and pulling away near the finish line.
"It was fun competition. It was cool to catch him," said Hall.
Colony placed four skiers in the top 12 to edge Kenai in the team standings. Clay Nelson was 10th for Kenai, DC Reid was 18th and Trent Semmens 19th for the Kardinals.
The Soldotna boys were third in the team standings. Steve Olendorf led the Stars with a fifth-place finish and Max Milliron broke into the top 10, taking eighth overall.
SoHi New Year Pursuit Cross-Country Ski Meet
Hosted by Soldotna High School Friday and Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails
Team standings 1. Soldotna, 2:54:07; 2. Colony, 3:09:37; 3. Palmer, 3:09:56; 4. Homer, 3:10:14; 5. Valdez, 3:11:06; 6. Kenai, 3:27:26; 7. Seward, 3:34:19; 8. Grace, 3:39:19.
Individual results (Two-day 5-kilometer freestyle and 7.5-kilometer classic combined times) 1. Elisabeth Habermann, Sky, 40 minutes, 25 seconds; 2. Katy Pankoski, Sol, 40:42; 3. Katie Franzmann, Sol, 41:17; 4. Kate Fitzgerald, Pal, 42:15; 5. Camy Dengal, Val, 43:51; 6. Erika Klaar, Hom, 44:04; 7. Synneva Hagen-Lillevik, Ken, 45:19; 8. Kendra Merkes, Sky, 45:22; 9. Maggie Embick, Val, 45:34; 10. Lauren Olendorff, Sol, 45:53.
Other peninsula finishers: 12. Brittany Osland, Sol, 46:15; 16. Alina Rykaczewski, Hom, 47:43; 22. Claire Laukitis, Hom, 49:05; 23. Marci Mohler, Sky, 49:21; 24. Thorey Munro, Hom, 49:22; 25. Amanda Boll, Sol, 49:49; 27. Anna Clock, Sew, 49:54; 32. Ali Wykis, Sol, 51:44; 34. Audry Coon, Ken, 52:05; 35. Katie Peck, Sew, 52:05; 38. Tekla Backlund, Sew, 53:15; 40. Monica Peters, Hom, 53:59; 41. Rebekah Summer, Ken, 54:02; 45. Jamie Dunn, Ken, 56:00; 46. Becca Ford, Ken, 56:39; 47. Jessica Summer, Ken, 56:43; 48. Sara Glaser, Sew, 59:05; 50. Alisha Friel, Sew, 1:00:14.
Team standings 1. Colony, 2:23:01; 2. Kenai, 2:28:22; 3. Soldotna, 2:30:22; 4. Skyview, 2:39:36; 5. Seward, 2:41:24; 6. Homer, 2:42:37; 7. Palmer, 2:48:58; 8. Nikiski, 2:53:54; 9. Wasilla, 3:00:24; 10. Valdez, 3:01:58.
Individual results (Two-day 5-kilometer freestyle and 7.5-kilometer classic combined times) 1. Noah King, Sky, 33:13; 2. Christopher Hall, Ken, 34:26; 3. Joe Dougherty, Col, 34:52; 4. Peter Doner, Col, 35:00; 5. Steve Olendorff, Sol, 35:07; 6. Nico Ambrose, SuV, 35:32; 7. Ryan VanGorder, Col, 36:14; 8. Max Milliron, Sol, 36:38; 9. Brandon Gonski, Col, 36:55; 10. Clay Nelson, Ken, 36:57.
Other peninsula finishers 11. Mike Farrens, Hom, 36:58; 13. Matt Adams, Sew, 37:01; 18. DC Reid, Ken, 38:28; 19. Trent Semmens, Ken, 38:31; 20. Caleb Chase, Sol, 38:36; 22. Travis Hines, Hom, 39:22; 24. Sean Twohy, Sol, 40:01; 25. Levi Lounsbury, Nik, 40:19; 26. David Apperson, Sew, 40:29; 27. Gus Beck, Hom, 40:34; 28. Leif Bardarson, Sew, 40:50; 29. Aaron Bakk, Nik, 41:04; 30. Lucas Thein, Sky, 41:18; 33. Kirk Loutham, Ken, 41:59; 34. Nick Byrne, Sky, 42:05; 35. Bryan Bakk, Nik, 42:48; 36. Eddie French, Sol, 42:55; 38. Erick Romig, Sky, 43:00; 39. Mark Chase, Sew, 43:04; 41. Jacob Franzmann, Sol, 44:16; 44. Tyler Haas, Hom, 45:43; 48. Ancel Ware, Nik, 49:43; 51. Llia Pinchuk, Sew, 50:41; 52. Mikey Wicker, Nik, 50:49.
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