The Kenai Peninsula has put five skiers on Alaska’s Junior Nationals squad.
At the conclusion of Besh Cup racing on Sunday in Fairbanks, Soldotna High School’s Kailey Mucha, Skyview graduate Elisabeth Habermann, Homer’s Erika Klaar, Kenai Central’s Christopher Hall and Skyview’s Erick Romig were named to the team. The crew will race for Alaska at the Junior Nationals at Soldier Hollow, Utah, from March 1 to 11.
Mucha finished second on the Junior 2 Besh Cup points list. She had another solid day of racing on Sunday, finishing second in the Junior 2 and 3 5-kilometer freestyle mass start race. Mucha had a time of 16 minutes, 11.50 seconds, while winner Kinsey Loan finished at 16:10.50.
Habermann had already qualified for the Junior Nationals team based on her performance at nationals. On Sunday, she continued her strong skiing by winning the Junior 1 and older race for the second day in a row. This time, the format was a 10-kilometer freestyle mass start.
On Saturday, Habermann, an Older Junior, had dominated the field, winning by about a minute. Sunday, Habermann finished in 31:48.10 to defeat runner-up Ingrid Olson by 40 seconds.
Klaar, a Junior 1 skier, finished 15th in the points standings for the Older Junior and Junior 1 skiers, taking the last available qualifying slot for that group. She grabbed that last slot by finishing ninth in Sunday’s race with a time of 34:28.60. Also in that race, Kenai Central’s Molly Watkins finished 21st with a time of 36:02.00.
Since the best four results in the six-race series count in the points standings, Hall had already clinched a spot at Junior Nationals and did not race on Sunday. Hall, an Older Junior, ended up ninth on the Junior 1/Older Junior points list.
Romig, a Junior 1 skier, finished 11th on the points list, pulling off an eighth-place finish in Sunday’s Junior 1 and older 10-kilometer freestyle mass start to make the team.
Romig finished at 27:27.20, while Lathrop’s David Norris won the race with a time of 26:29.20.
Kenai Central’s Trent Semmens finished 26th in the mass start and ended up 17th in the final points standings, just missing a Junior Nationals berth.
Also from the peninsula, Skyview graduate Noah King was 29th with a time of 29:24.80 and Homer Masters skier Jens Klaar was 49th with a time of 33:06.00.
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