Winning isn't everything, but a victory sure can make a team feel good about itself.
"Relays are always a blast," said Soldotna's Rachel Goldstein after she and her teammates made off with the winner's trophy at the Nikiski Classic Sprint Relays Saturday in Nikiski.
Goldstein skied the final 3-kilometer leg, anchoring for teammates Sasha Cvetkovski, Ellen Landess and Ella Ames. The team clocked in at 46 minutes, 52 seconds.
"For any one person to do well in a relay, everyone has to give it their best," Goldstein said. "All three girls -- Sasha, Ellen and Ella -- skied well. This is kinda the first time the SoHi girls have won, so that's good."
The Stars out-dueled Kenai (second place, 48:51) and Homer (third place, 49:26), snaring the lead on the final leg of the race.
In the boys race, the Skyview Panthers emerged victorious, catching Kenai (second place, 41:59) on the last leg for the win in 41:12. Soldotna finished in third place (42:45), followed by Homer (44:02).
Homer's Syverine Abrahamson powered her team to front of the pack with her leadoff leg, and Kenai's Wendy Wiles came out of the woods first after the second leg of the race.
"It was really exciting -- I was pumped to be that close to them," Wiles said. "I'm impressed with the rest of my team. They were awesome."
Soldotna's Mark McCarton, right, tags his teammate Daniel Elster in the exchange zone Saturday during the Nikiski Classic Sprint Relays.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Nicole Spence led off for the Kardinals, followed by Wiles, Kirsten Ehrhardt and Katie Burck.
"Syverine had a great race," said Homer coach Mickey Todd. "So did Heather Strutz and Emily Farrens."
The Skyview girls finished fourth overall in 51:26.
"I was really impressed with everyone," said Skyview leadoff skier Ailis Vann. "We were missing our top skiers, but we've got a deep team. We've been working really hard in practice on sprinting."
Todd was impressed with Kyle Lints' effort leading off the boys race.
"We had a real good day of skiing," Todd said. "I like the sprint relays. The kids have a lot of fun with it and with everyone being part of a team."
Both the Kenai and Skyview teams made up ground on the Mariners after the first leg, exchanging leads several times before Skyview's Micah Mohler was able to catch and then hold off Kenai's Severin Hagen-Lillevik on the final leg.
"I tend to like the longer races, but today was really good," Mohler said. "Grant (Gephardt) did a good job of making up some time on the third leg. I passed (Severin) about halfway through my leg."
Damian Andersen and Sid Cox skied the first two legs for the Panthers.
"We were in first or second the whole way," Hagen-Lillevik said. "(Being in a close race) really pushed me to go really hard."
Hagen-Lillevik teamed with Chris Waser, Andy Banas and Brett Morris for the race.
Soldotna's top quartet of Ryan Walton, Alex Hundertmark, Clayton Harrison and Mark Harro finished third in the race.
Soldotna coach Sarah Tureson was pleased to see the Stars at the meet perform well while many of the area's top skiers participated in the Besh Cup events in Fairbanks.
"They need that extra boost -- they skied well today," Tureson said.
Tureson said she'd like to see more relay events during the regular season.
"I don't think we do enough of them. For our team, that's our strength," Tureson said. "There's always one standout skier that's going to place high at state, but to be able to place as a team shows we've got a pretty strong team."
Many skiers agreed that relay meets were good for building team spirit.
"It's a big team thing," Mohler said. "Because skiing is such an individual sport, this is a chance for the team to come together."
"It's fun for a change because it builds team unity," Hagen-Lillevik said.
Nikiski Classic Sprint Relays
Saturday at Nikiski
4-by-3 kilometer classic relays
1. Skyview A (Damian Andersen, Sid Cox, Grant Gephardt, Micah Mohler), 41minutes, 12 seconds; 2. Kenai A (Brett Morris, Andy Banas, Chris Waser, Severin Hagen-Lillevik), 41:59; 3. Soldotna A (Ryan Walton, Alex Hundertmark, Clayton Harrison, Mark Harro), 42:45; 4. Homer A (Kyle Lints, Lief Ellington, Travis Kaufman, Tom Crandall), 44:02; 5. Soldotna B (Mark McCarton, Daniel Elster, Clyde Folley, Spencer Litzenberger), 50:37; 6. Skyview B (Keith Parker, Jess Orr, Scott Fraley (Homer), Joe Shaw (Kenai)), 51:04; 7. Kenai B (Bowman McDonald, Matt Porter, Mike Kent, Aaron Rahlfs), 52:20; 8. Seward A (Thomas Armstrong, Kenny Faust, Terry Doane, Nick Chapman), 55:53.
1. Soldotna A (Sasha Cvetlovski, Ellen Landess, Ella Ames, Rachel Goldstein), 46:52; 2. Kenai A (Nicole Spence, Wendy Wiles, Kirsten Ehrhardt, Katie Burck) 48:51; 3. Homer A (Syverine Abrahamson, Emily Farrens, Heather Strutz, Marta Todd), 49:26; 4. Skyview A (Ailis Vann, Michelle Trumpler, Tara Rich, Lela Wiley), 51:26; 5. Homer B (Mariah Phelps, Aleta Phelphs, Dara Rehder, Pia Jonkiantra) 51:58; 6. Kenai B (Shiloh Reilly, Roxanna Wilcox, Katherine Amen, Kjirsta Larsen), 53:14; 7. Soldotna B (Sierra Williams, Ashley St. Onge, Tess Caswell, Heidi Keller), 53:22; 8. Skyview B (Elisha Tarries, Jenna Standridge, Deaglan Vann, Melissa Bixby), 55:26; 9. Nikiski/Soldotna (Danielle Duncan (Soldotna), Amy Shoemaker (Soldotna), Clarissa Ribbens (Nikiski), Shauna Hall (Nikiski)), 57:50; 10. Seward A (Joslyn Perry, Stacy Doner (Nikiski), Shannon Hohl, Kelly Houghton), 59:24; 11. Skyview/Homer (Lauren Migdal (Skyview), Kumi Akita (Skyview), Amy Velsko (Homer), Amy Stockburger (Homer)), 1:00:37.
Skyview's Lambe third in JOQ race
Skyview senior Amy Lambe finished third Saturday at Salcha in Fairbanks in the fifth race of the Junior Olympic Qualifying Series.
Lambe did 5 kilometers in the classic technique in 18 minutes, 21 seconds to finish about 10 seconds behind the winner in the Junior 1/Older Junior category, which is for those born from 1981 to 1984.
Also in the J1/OJ women's race, Homer's Ida Martin finished sixth in 18:48.4 and Kenai Central's Mary Krusen finished in 19th place in 20:28.7.
In the men's J1/OJ race, Andy Liebner led the peninsula by finishing a 7.5-kilometer classic race in 23:09.3 to finish sixth.
Also from the peninsula in the J1/OJ race, Skyview's Jacob Fellman was 13th in 23:52.5, Soldotna's Brent Knight was 16th in 24:05.2, Kenai's Greg Landua was 18th in 24:26.1, Soldotna's Daniel Harro was 23rd in 24:58.0, Skyview's Adam Tressler was 25th in 25:04.2, Kenai's Eric Nyce was 26th in 25:32.3, Skyview's Leon Galbraith was 28th in 26:30.8, Homer's Andrew Peters was 31st in 26:37.5, Soldotna's David Hernandez was 36th in 27:26.5 and Nikiski's Zachary Hall was 38th in 27:49.9.
In the girls Junior 2 5-kilometer classic race, for those born from 1985 to 1986, Skyview's Stephanie Lambe finished eighth with a time of 20:21.1.
Finally, Kenai's Jordan Engel finished 15th in 19:02.8 in the boys J2 5-kilometer classic race.
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