Five of Soldotna's girls cross-country skiers finished in the top 11 in the 7.5-kilometer race Friday to help the Stars claim the 2010 Kenai Klassic title. Palmer won the boys title.
"Those were sweet results," SoHi ski coach Dan Harbison said. "We just had really good races."
Kenai Central's Kailey Mucha won the 7.5-K race. SoHi's Bree Mucha took second and Jasmine Clock placed third.
"The girls really came together," Harbison said. "They had a plan and worked that plan very close to perfection."
Bree and Clock took first and second, respectively, in Saturday's sprint event. Homer's Maggie Bursch took third.
Palmer's girls took second as a team and Homer finished third. The team scores were based solely on Friday's races.
"I thought they did pretty good," Kenai ski coach D'Anna Gibson said of her team. "We're getting a lot of pressure from SoHi and Skyview, and that's a good thing."
For having several sophomores on the team, Gibson said she was proud of their performance.
Kenai's girls took fourth as a team. After winning Friday's race, Kailey sat out of Saturday's sprint event to get some much-needed rest. She raced four times in seven days at the U.S. Cross Country Ski Championships in Anchorage on Jan. 2 to 8.
"It's hard to pull a kid from a race like that," Gibson said. But Gibson said she didn't want to wear Kailey out.
On the boys side, Skyview finished second behind the Moose and Kenai Central took third.
"We're really happy with that," SkyHi ski coach Kent Peterson said of his team's finish. "The kids have been working hard and we're starting to see some success."
The Panthers finished just under four seconds ahead of Kenai and 17 seconds ahead of fourth-place Soldotna.
Like Gibson, Peterson said this season has been exciting because of the close races between local peninsula teams.
Skyview's third and fourth skiers had good races to bring the team score up, Peterson said. He said he wasn't surprised at anyone's finish, as all of his boys have great potential.
"There were no real surprises, but I'm really happy with how things are starting to work out for us," Peterson said.
Though Kenai's Travis Semmens was still recuperating from an illness, he insisted on racing.
"You can't keep Travis down," Gibson said. "All things considered, he did awesome."
Semmens took second place in the 10-K race, finishing 32.4 seconds behind top finisher Andrew Arnold of Grace Christian. Palmer's Davis Dunlap took third.
Kenai's Anders Nyquist won the boys sprint race. Dunlap finished second and Semmens took third.
SoHi freshman Luke Michael was the "surprise of the day," Harbison said. He finished 23rd in the 10-K event for the Stars.
"He's a really strong skier," Harbison said. "He has great potential. Hopefully, this is a good omen for him."
As a team, SoHi's work ethic at recent practices paid off at the Klassic, Harbison said.
"We've been working really hard the last two weeks," he said. "We've been really trying to keep our focus on what we want to accomplish before the season is over. From a coaches perspective, I hope this shows us where we may be headed."
Saturday's classic sprint race, which hasn't been a part of the Klassic in recent years, was brought back to give the skiers a chance to experience the event, Gibson said.
"It was just really nice to be able to do that," she said.
Peterson said he enjoys the event because it gives kids an opportunity to race against skiers of similar ability.
The conditions at Tsalteshi were as close to ideal as they could be, Harbison said. The groomers were able to turn Thursday's icy conditions into near perfection, which was no easy task considering the small amount of snowfall this year, he said.
"This dusting of snow that we got was really good," Gibson said. "It slowed things down. It just gave us a little cushion on top of the hard ice."
Mike Nesper can be reached at email@example.com.
at Tsalteshi Trails
Friday team times: 1. Palmer, 2 hours, 39 minutes, 43 seconds; 2. Skyview, 2:43:27; 3. Kenai, 2:43:31; 4. Soldotna, 2:43:54; 5. Homer, 2:56:03; 6. Grace, 3:06:43.
Friday's 10-kilometer freestyle
1. Andrew Arnold, Gra, 29:37; 2. Travis Semmens, Ken, 30:09; 3. Davis Dunlap, Pal, 30:29; 4. Ryan Sanders, Sol, 30:45; 5. Anders Nyquist, Ken, 30:46; 6. Duney Strickland, Pal, 31:26; 7. Brayden Holt, Sky, 31:30; 8. IntiMayo Harbison, Sol, 31:30; 9. Wylie Mangelsdorf, Pal, 31:31; 10. Hunter Jackinsky, Sky, 31:32.
Other peninsula finishers
11. Brett Chase, Sew, 31:42; 12. Leif Danielson, Sky, 32:26; 14. Andre Lovett, Hom, 32:47; 15. Alex Kauffman, Sol, 33:21; 16. James Watkins, Ken, 33:31; 18. Austin Gillespie, Sew, 33:48; 19. Bud Sparks, Sky, 33:53; 22. Justin Marsh, Sky, 34:04; 23. Luke Michael, Sol, 34:07; 24. Josiah Martin, Sol, 34:08; 26. Anton Krull, Ken, 34:25; 27. Tux Seims, Hom, 34:26; 28. Evan Atchley, Ken, 34:38; 29. Joseph Rife, Sol, 34:55; 31. Parker Sorensen, Hom, 35:20; 32. Dillon Jensen, Sol, 35:24; 33. Kade Cooper, Sky, 35:29; 34. Joe Nyholm, Sew, 35:53; 35. Dylan Critchett, Hom, 36:04; 36. Samy Pfluger, Sew, 36:05; 39. Manuel Heller, Sky, 37:05; 41. Ben Gilman, Ken, 37:14; 43. Dan Adickes, Hom, 37:23; 47. Kyle Wentz, Hom, 40:44; 52. Tyler Cooper, Ken, 43:03.
Saturday's classic sprint finals order
1. Anders Nyquist, Ken; 2. Davis Dunlap, Pal; 3. Travis Semmens, Ken; 4. IntiMayo Harbison, Sol; 5. Duney Strickland, Pal; 6. Luke Michael, Sol; 7. Andrew Arnold, Gra; 8. Hunter Jackinsky, Sky; 9. Ryan Sanders, Sol; 10. Ted Hoople, Pal.
Friday team times: 1. Soldotna; 2. Palmer; 3. Homer; 4. Kenai, 5. Grace; 6. Skyview.
Friday's 7.5-kilometer freestyle
1. Kailey Mucha, Ken, 29:03; 2. Bree Mucha, Sol, 30:38; 3. Jasmine Clock, Sol, 30:39; 4. Kimberly DelFrate, Pal, 30:56; 5. Amanda DelFrate, Pal, 31:00; 6. D.Anne Martin, Sol, 31:06; 7. Sarah Cresap, Gra, 31:08; 8. Allison Barnwell, Sew, 31:21; 9. Maranda Merkes, Sol, 31:28; 10. Frances Bursch, Hom, 32:43.
Other peninsula finishers
11. Melanie Smith, Sol, 32:44; 12. Maggie Bursch, Hom, 32:4; 13. Kaya Morelli, Hom, 33:10; 14. Marie Schmidt, Hom, 33:23; 15. Michelle Klaben, Ken, 33:42; 17. Rachel Wyatt, Sol, 34:25; 18. Carol Clonan, Sky, 34:26; 22. Tamlyn Silva, Sky, 35:04; 23. Alaine Miller, Hom, 35:05; 27. Olivia Fair, Ken, 35:34; 28. Olivia Pfeifer, Ken, 35:35; 29. Dani Rehm, Ken, 35:39; 31. Denali Critchett, Hom, 35:58; 35. Annalise Theisen, Ken, 37:10; 38. Chelsea Winter, Sky, 37:42; 41. Catherine Wolk, Sky, 38:03; 42. Carla Mueller, Hom, 38:17; 45. Katie Clonan, Sky, 39:48; 48. Amanda Olsen, Sew, 42:44; 50. Ashley Gerola, Sol, 46:57.
Saturday's classic sprint finals order
1. Bree Mucha, Sol; 2. Jasmine Clock, Sol; 3. Maggie Bursch, Hom; 4. Sarah Cresap, Gra; 5. Amanda DelFrate, Pal; 6. Maranda Merkes, Sol; 7. D.Anne Martin, Sol; 8. Kimberly DelFrate, Pal; 9. Marah Shones, Pal; 10. Shannon Stough, Pal.
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