With some of the top skiers participating in the Besh Cup in Fairbanks, the trails opened up for others Saturday during the Kenai Peninsula Borough Ski Tournament at Nikiski High School.
The Skyview boys team edged rival Soldotna High School by 49 seconds to take the boys title, while the Kenai girls skied to a first-place finish, just five seconds faster than the second-place Homer Mariners.
“With some of the top skiers in Fairbanks, all the hard work we’ve done really paid off today,” Skyview’s Taylor Karnikis said.
Karnikis led the Skyview boys team with a time of 16 minutes, 53 seconds, which placed him fourth overall.
“We all had a pretty good race today ... Our top five skiers really pushed it,” Karnikis said of his team’s first-place finish.
The Skyview boys team all placed in the top 20 for the clean finish. Also finishing in the top 10 for the Panthers were Tommy Honer in fifth, Lucas Thein in ninth and Kelly Skipwith in 10th.
“We got the results we were expecting since some of the top kids were in Fairbanks. All the boys were racing close ... I think we’re right on track for regions,” Skyview coach Kent Peterson said.
Kyle Latz was able to lead the Kenai boys by taking first in the 5-kilometer freestyle event with a winning time of 15:59.
“Kyle was looking for that win all day,” Kenai coach D’Anna Gibson said of Latz’s performance.
“I just went out and tried my best,” Latz said of his quick time.
Latz, who was joined in the top 10 by Kirk Louthan’s seventh-place finish, also felt his team could place in the upcoming region meet at Homer next weekend.
“I think our team (Kenai) is right up there with Colony and depending on our top three skiers, we have a good chance to win at regions, “ Latz said.
Max Milliron finished second, Sean Twohy finished third and Caleb Gordon finished eighth to led the Soldotna boys to the runner-up finish. David Apperson of Seward finished sixth for the Seahawks.
On the girls side, Sarah Glaser highlighted Seward’s competitors by notching first place with a time of 18:33. She was the only Seward skier to place in the top 10, though.
“It was a great race even though it kind of felt like a sprint,” Glaser said of her win. She also credited her team by saying they had some strong races.
The girls were only able to field three complete teams, though, as Skyview only had two competitors and Soldotna one.
Despite the small numbers, Skyview’s Kendra Merkes skied to a second-place finish in 19:38 and Soldotna Star Liana Purugganan placed third overall with a time of 20:35.
The Kenai girls team contributed most of the top finishes, with four girls placing in the top 10.
“It was awesome for the girls to kick it up a notch. To have some of the top girls in Fairbanks, we definitely had some skiers step up big today,” Gibson said.
Becca Ford led the Kenai girls team with a time of 20:51 to place fifth, while teammates Claudia Meder and Molly Watkins each clocked in at 21:16 to place sixth and seventh, respectively.
For Homer, Thorey Munro was fourth, Kristin Vantrease was eighth and Gillian Beran-Maryott was ninth.
KENAI PENINSULA BOROUGH SKI TOURNAMENT
at Nikiski High School
Team scores: 1. Skyview, 1 hour, 9 minutes, 10 seconds; 2. Soldotna, 1:09:59; 3. Kenai, 1:11:04; 4. Homer, 1:19:20; 5. Seward 1:21:40.
Individual five-kilometer freestyle results
1. Kyle Latz, Ken, 15:59; 2. Max Milliron, Sol, 16:24; 3. Sean Twohy, Sol, 16:46; 4. Taylor Karinikis, Sky, 16:53; 5. Tommy Honer, Sky, 17:03; 6. David Apperson, Sew, 17:16; 7. Kirk Louthan, Ken, 17:17; 8. Caleb Gordan, Sol, 17:28; 9. Lucas Thein, Sky, 17:35; 10. Kelly Skipwith, Sky, 17:39;
11. Lars Arneson, CIA, 17:42; 12. Aaron Bakk, Nik, 17:48; 13. Harley Maxson, Sky, 18:26; 14. Jed Smith, Hom, 18:40; 15. Jordan Merkes, Sky, 18:43; 16. Ben Phillips, Ken, 18:45; 17. Bryan Bakk, Nik, 18:55; 18. Levi Sutton, Ken, 19:03; 19. Johnny Cook, Sky, 19:03; 20. Jilles Michel, Sol, 19:08. 21. Gabe Murray, Sol, 19:22; 22. Aaron Chase, Sol, 19:29; 23. Jordan Chilson, Sol, 19:31; 24. Mark Chase, Sew, 19:40; 25. Patrick Schneider, Hom, 19:48; 26. Sterling Gillon, Hom, 19:54; 27. Ancel Ware, Nik, 20:23; 28. Jack Anderson, Hom, 20:58; 29. Aaron Sarka, Sew, 22:01; 30. Connor Smith, Hom, 22:22; 31. Koal Buckland, Sew, 22:43; 32. Kevin Talens. Sew, 22:44.
Team scores: 1. Kenai, 1:25:46; 2. Homer, 1:25:51; 3. Seward, 1:29:01.
Individual five-kilometer freestyle results
1. Sarah Glaser, Sew, 18:33; 2. Kendra Merkes, Sky, 19:38; 3. Liana Purugganan, Sol, 20:35; 4. Thorey Munro, Hom, 20:41; 5. Becca Ford, Ken, 20:51; 6. Claudia Meder, Ken, 21:16; 7. Molly Watkins, Ken, 21:16; 8. Kristin Vantrease, Hom, 21:22; 9. Gillian Beran-Maryott, Hom, 21:24; 10. Jamie Dunn, Ken, 22:23;
11. Jaclyn Arndt, Hom, 22:24; 12. Katie Peck, Sew 23:08; 13. Tekla Backlund, Sew, 23:19; 14. Kristi Louthan, Ken, 23:59; 15. Alisha Friel, Sew, 24:01; 16. Kasey Aderhold, Hom, 24:32; 17. TJ Pfaffe, Sky, 26:29; 18. Mercedes Hughes, Ken, 27:50; 19. Heather Perry, Ken, 33:35; 20. Emily Kapra, Sew, 34:04.
Area racers compete in Besh Cup
Besh Cup No. 5 was held Saturday in Fairbanks. The Besh Cup races are held to determine teams for Junior Nationals and for Arctic Winter Games, plus are used by some skiers just to stay in racing form.
In the women’s 5-kilometer classic race, Homer High School graduate Aleta Phelps finished third with a time of 18:29.5. She was 10 seconds behind winner Anna Coulter of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Also from the peninsula, Homer’s Erika Klaar was 41st and Homer’s Claire Laukitis was 52nd.
In the boys Junior 2 5-kilometer classic race, Kenai Central’s Trent Semmens was sixth in 16:42.8, about 51 seconds behind winner Andrew Dougherty of South Anchorage.
In the men’s 10-kilometer race, Soldotna High School graduate Andy Liebner was second in 30:14.4, about 23 seconds behind winner Cory Smith. Also from the peninsula, Skyview High School graduate Noah King was eighth, Homer’s Morgan Jones was 13th, Kenai’s Christopher Hall was 19th, Skyview’s Erick Romig was 23rd, Soldotna’s Eddie French was 35th, Soldotna’s Caleb Chase was 38th, Kachemak Nordic Ski Club’s Jens Klaar was 41st and Kachemak Nordic Ski Club’s Kenneth Jones was 45th.
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