Soldotna's Steve Olendorff races through a turn on his way to a second-place finish Saturday during the Kenai Peninsula Borough Ski Meet at Tsalteshi Trails.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The temperature was about 0 degrees Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails but, considering the alternative, Skyview seniors Noah King and Elisabeth Habermann were overjoyed to be skiing behind Skyview High School at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Ski Meet.
King and Habermann each picked up their first borough titles, with King topping runner-up Steve Olendorff of Soldotna by 26 seconds in the boys 7.5-kilometer freestyle race and Habermann beating runner-up and teammate Jaime Miller by 3 minutes, 20 seconds in the girls 7.5-kilometer race.
The Soldotna boys and girls swept the team competition. For the girls, it was the first title in several years. For the boys, it was the fifth crown in the last six years.
Both Habermann and King are trying to qualify for Team Alaska and compete in the Junior Nationals. There were Junior Nationals qualifying races Saturday in Fairbanks, but the Skyview duo decided to skip them to ski in one last borough meet and one last meet at Tsalteshi Trails.
Thus, instead of racing in the minus 8 temperatures at Birch Hill in Fairbanks, King and Habermann got to race in the relative warm at Skyview. And for King, the decision worked out even better because his race was not even held in Fairbanks due to severe cold.
"It was a hard decision to miss the Besh Cup race because I love Fairbanks," said Habermann, who said she has the Junior Nationals team made even though she's missing Saturday's and Sunday's qualifiers. "But this is my senior year, so I couldn't miss a borough race on my home course."
Unlike Habermann, King said there is a chance he could not make the team. He was going to decide Saturday night whether he had to make the nine-hour drive to Fairbanks.
Skyview coach Kent Peterson said he was glad his two seniors stars were able to stay in town and watch their hard work pay off in borough titles.
"Throughout the entire season, they both have had outstanding work ethic," Peterson said. "They are both so committed that they could easily train on their own."
In addition to their work ethic, King and Habermann had other factors working in their favor. Kenai's Chris Hall was at the Junior Nationals qualifier, as was Soldotna's Katie Franzmann. Soldotna's other top skier, Katy Pankoski, was at the Junior Miss competition.
King and Habermann also had a home-course advantage. There has been no new snow since the temperatures rose above freezing two weeks ago.
That meant groomers were scratching up ice to create Saturday's conditions. While everybody said the groomers did great job considering the conditions, Habermann and King both said they were able to take advantage of familiarity with the course.
"Sometimes, there were some icy spots on the uphill," King said. "I knew exactly where to stay to the side on those."
The Soldotna ski teams also train regularly at Tsalteshi, and that helped them take the borough team titles.
Kenai's Trent Semmens races Homer's Gus Beck down one of the last hills before the finish of Saturday's 7.5-kilometer freestyle race at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Ski Meet at Tsalteshi Trails.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
The girls team was able to top runner-up Homer by 28 seconds despite missing Franzmann and Pankoski. Brittany Osland (fourth), Lauren Olendorff (fifth) and Amanda Boll (eighth) were able to pick up the slack for the Stars.
"I'm very proud the girls team was able to do what they did missing the two top skiers," Soldotna coach Dan Harbison said. "Brittany Osland really stepped up, but she could not have done it without the help of her teammates."
The Soldotna boys topped runner-up Kenai by a little under two minutes. Harbison said the absence of Hall was key, but also said Soldotna has been slowly gaining on Kenai. He hopes that continues at this week's region ski meet.
at Tsalteshi Trails
Individual 7.5-kilometer freestyle results
1. Elisabeth Habermann, Sky, 21:37; 2. Jaime Miller, Sky, 24:57; 3. Sara Glaser, Sew, 25:11; 4. Brittany Osland, Sol, 25:29; 5. Lauren Olendorff, Sol, 26:12; 6. Alina Rykaczewski, Hom, 26:35; 7. Claire Laukitis, Hom, 26:35; 8. Amanda Boll, Sol, 26:41; 9. Sara Arsenault, Hom, 27:00; 10. Cassie Wilcox, Ken, 27:04; 11. Rebekah Summer, Ken, 27:32; 12. Kristin VanTrease, Hom, 27:42; 13. Anna Clock, Sew, 27:48; 14. Thorey Munro, Hom, 28:12; 15. Ali Wykis, Sol, 28:19; 16. Katie Peck, Sew, 28:21; 17. Gillian Beran-Maryott, Hom, 28:43; 18. Liana Purugganan, Sol, 29:03; 19. Audry Coon, Ken, 29:35; 20. Becca Ford, Ken, 30:22; 21. Jamie Dunn, Ken, 30:23; 22. Alisha Friel, Sew, 30:43; 23. Tekla Backlund, Sew, 31:07; 24. Jessica Summer, Ken, 33:39; 25. Anouk Wahl, Sol, 36:24.
Individual 7.5-kilometer freestyle results
1. Noah King, Sky, 19:03; 2. Steve Olendorff, Sol, 19:30; 3. Matt Adams, Sew, 20:10; 4. Caleb Chase, Sol, 20:37; 5. Trent Semmens, Ken, 20:40; 6. Mike Farrens, Hom, 20:43; 7. Kyle Latz, Ken, 20:56; 8. Clay Nelson, Ken, 21:29; 9 (tie). Taylor Karnikis, Sky, Max Milliron, Sol, 21:39; 11. Gus Beck, Hom, 21:55; 12. Leif Bardarson, Sew, 22:03; 13. Sean Twohy, Sol, 22:20; 14. David Apperson, Sew, 22:26; 15. Travis Hines, hom, 22:30; 16. Rick Romig, Sky, 22:48; 17. DC Reid, Ken, 22:53; 18. Levi Lounsbury, Nik, 22:57; 19. Nick Byrne, Sky, 23:05; 20. Mark Chase, Sew, 23:17; 21. Eddie French, Sol, 23:40; 22. Jacob Franzmann, Sol, 23:52; 23. Tyler Haas, Hom, 23:52; 24. Caleb Gordon, Sol, 23:53; 25. Aaron Baak, Nik, 24:30.
26. Nolan Schmidt, Sky, 25:13; 27. Kirk Louthan, Ken, 25:22; 28. Harley Maxson, Sky, 25:30; 29. Ben Phillips, Ken, 26:24; 30. Dylan Carter, Hom, 27:12; 31. Ilia Pinchuk, Sew, 27:26; 32. Quinn Stoops, Ken, 27:26; 33. Sam Kilfoyle, Sky, 27:31; 34. Mike Wicker, Nik, 29:22.
Franzmann picks up ninth-place finish
Soldotna High School's Katie Franzmann finished ninth at the Junior 1-Older Junior women's race Saturday in Junior Nationals qualifying at Birch Hill in Fairbanks.
Franzmann finished the 5-kilometer classic race in 24:27, about 1:37 behind winner Kristina Smith.
In the Junior 2 women's race, Homer's Erika Klaar was 17th in the 5-kilometer race in 26:46. Winner Becca Rorabaugh finished at 23:45.
Anchorage's Lex Treinen won the Junior 2 boys race, while the Junior 1-Older Junior men's race was not held because the temperature, which had been between 0 and minus 10 all day, got even colder.
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