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Kenai Central's Mucha nabs Besh Cup

Posted: Monday, February 08, 2010

Kenai Central's Kailey Mucha won the Besh Cup season points race on Sunday as the six-race series concluded in Fairbanks.

Mucha led all Junior 1/Older Junior women's racers with 306 points to win the cup and also qualify for the Alaskan Junior National Team. Hannah Boyer was second with 301 points.

Mucha is the second skier from the Kenai Peninsula to win the Besh Cup. Soldotna graduate Andy Liebner won the cup in 2001.

D'Anna Gibson, Kailey's mother and coach, said the honor snuck up on her daughter.

"She had no clue," Gibson said. "That was a pretty cool thing for her.

"It wasn't something she was even thinking about."

Mucha's sister, Bree of Soldotna High School, will also be on the Junior National team after finishing 11th in the season points race with 107 points.

Cook Inlet Academy graduate Lars Arneson gives the peninsula another skier on the team. Arneson finished second on the Junior 1/Older Junior points list with 212 points, while Silas Talbot was first with 220.

That tally does not count David Norris, with 350 points, and Logan Hanneman, with 250. Both were automatically qualified for Junior Nationals.

In Junior 2 girls, Soldotna's Maranda Merkes qualified for the team. Merkes finished sixth with 178 points, while Marion Woods won the category with 400 points.

The peninsula also qualified a pair of skiers for the Arctic Winter Games team. Junior 1 skier Jasmine Clock, of Soldotna High School, finished 21st on the Junior 1/Older Junior list to earn the honor. Clock had 43 points.

Soldotna Junior 2 skier Lucas Michael also qualified for the Arctic Winter Games. He finished 12th on the Junior 2 boys list with 118 points. Kenai Central's James Watkins also will be at the Arctic Winter Games in snowshoe biathlon.

Travis Semmens of Kenai Central is an alternate on the Arctic Winter Games ski team. Semmens finished 23rd on the Junior 1/Older Junior list.

Besh Cup racing concluded on Sunday with mass start classic races in Fairbanks. In the Junior 1 and older women's race, Kailey Mucha paced the peninsula by finishing 11th with a time of 35:34. Aurelia Korthauer won at 32:40.

Also from the peninsula, Bree Mucha was 20th, Clock was 29th and Soldotna's D.Anne Martin nabbed 38th.

In the Junior 2 five-kilometer classic race, Merkes led the peninsula with a ninth-place finish. Merkes crossed at 18:38, while Marion Woods won at 16:52. Soldotna's Shannon Wyatt finished 23rd in the race.

In the Junior 2 boys five-kilometer mass start, Michael paced the peninsula by finishing 11th in 16:49. John Glen won the race with a time of 15:25.

The Junior 1 and older men did a 10-kilometer mass start. Arneson led the peninsula by finishing 11th in 29:42, while Tyson Flaharty won with a time of 27:52.

Also from the peninsula, Semmens was 26th, Kenai's Anders Nyquist was 32nd and Skyview's Hunter Jackinsky was 39th.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough ski meet will be held on Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails in conjunction with the Alaska State Masters Ski Championship. The Saturday races will be relays.

The masters championship will also be held on Sunday, featuring a 15- or 30-kilometer freestyle. Entry forms are available at www.tsalteshi.org.



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