Brent Knight felt a little lonely being the first skier out of the gate Saturday at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Cross-Country Ski Meet at McNeil Canyon in Homer.
Rather than waiting for some company to catch up to him, the Soldotna skier made the most of his position and crossed the finish line first, pacing the Stars to the boys team championship.
Skyview's Amy Lambe won her battle with Homer's Ida Martin to take the girls individual title, but Martin's Mariners placed four skiers in the top 10 to win the team title.
"It depends on how you look at it, but it can be really boring skiing by yourself," Knight said of his starting position in the boys 10-kilometer, dual-start classic race. "When all the fast guys are together, you expect a faster race. It's nice to go out first sometimes, though.
"You don't have to worry about passing people or anybody getting in your way."
The closest skier to Knight after his first lap around the course was Nikiski's Zachary Hall, who left the starting chute a minute behind Knight.
"I didn't want to look back because I knew Zach would be right there," Knight said. "I was afraid to slow down because I thought someone would pass me."
Knight finished the race in 37:42, 12 seconds faster than second-place Adam Tressler of Skyview, who started 5:30 after Knight in the dual-start format.
Soldotna's Andy Liebner finished third in 38:07, followed by Hall in 38:24.
"It was a fast course," Hall said. "I wanted to pull a top-five finish. I've been sick for three weeks and I was hoping to come back strong. I felt a lot better than I have in a while."
Daniel Harro placed fifth for the Stars in 38:56, giving Soldotna three skiers in the top five.
"That's expected -- we've been pretty strong the whole year," Liebner said of Soldotna's team finish. "We're getting pumped for regions."
Jacob Fellman (39:06) and Micah Mohler (39:14) finished in sixth and seventh, respectively, to give Skyview three top-10 finishers.
"It's the same race next weekend, so this was a good pretest," Fellman said, referring to the distance and style, which will be the same for next week's Region III Championship at Tsalteshi Trails. "I think our team is as good as anyone else in the region. It just depends on who skies better. We've put in the work."
Eric Nyce (39:27) skied to an eighth-place finish for the Kardinals while teammate Greg Landua rounded out the top 10, finishing in 39:52.
"It was a good course, and we had good wax, too," Landua said. "It's nice to have so many good skiers in the borough. It's really cool to see so many guys from around here on the Junior Olympic team, and it's nice to have those people to compete against."
Kyle Lints finished ninth for the Mariners in 39:40.
"I think the home course was an advantage for me," Lints said. "We go back there to do sprints on the terrain, so I know what it feels like to go fast on this course. It helps me if I'm trying to pass someone. You can also go down the hills faster and still feel comfortable."
Homer's Martin was in the final pair to leave the starting gate in the girls 7.5-kilometer race, taking off 8:30 after the first skiers hit the course. Martin was able to pass all but the very first skiers out of the gate -- and Lambe, who had started 30 seconds ahead of Martin.
Lambe clocked in at 25:09 while Martin finished in 25:23.
"It was a very good race. It was my last borough meet, so I thought I'd go out there and give it the best I could," Lambe said. "Me and Ida Martin go back and forth. I think it helps both of us to have someone there to push us along."
Stephanie Lambe finished third in 27:14 and Ailis Vann placed eighth in 29:51, giving the Panthers three skiers in the top 10, but four Mariners -- Martin, Syverine Abrahamson (fourth, 27:28), Emily Farrens (seventh, 29:45) and Heather Strutz (ninth, 29:59) -- took spots in the top 10, securing the girls team title for Homer.
"The Homer team is pretty strong, but I think the Skyview team is right with them," Amy Lambe said.
"I wanted to win, but the goal was to go out and ski as hard as I could," Martin said. "We're a really strong team this year. The majority of us have been skiing together for four years. Even out on the course, if you go by someone, you tell them to stay with you and try to help them along."
Soldotna's Rachel Goldstein placed fifth overall in 27:45, helping the Stars to a third-place team finish.
"I'm happy with today, but there's always room for improvement," Goldstein said. "You come into this meet with the goal of doing the best you can and getting ready for regions and state -- these last three races are the ones that really count."
Kenai's Mary Krusen skied to a sixth-place finish in 28:40 while teammate Nicole Spence took 10th place in 30:48.
"I think we all put forth a pretty good effort," Spence said.
2001 Kenai Peninsula Borough
Cross-Country Ski Meet
Team standings -- 1. Homer 1 hour, 52 minutes, 35 seconds; 2. Skyview 1:54:18; 3. Soldotna 2:03:00; 4. Kenai 2:04:18.
Individual results (7.5 kilometer classic) -- 1. Amy Lambe, Sky, 25:09; 2. Ida Martin, Hom, 25:23; 3. Stephanie Lambe, Sky, 27:14; 4. Syverine Abrahamson, Hom, 27:28; 5. Rachel Goldstein, Sol, 27:45; 6. Mary Krusen, Ken, 28:40; 7. Emily Farrens, Hom, 29:45; 8. Ailis Vann, Sky, 29:51; 9. Heather Strutz, Hom, 29:59; 10. Nicole Spence, Ken, 30:48; 11. Aleta Phelps, Hom, 30:49; 12. Ellen Landess, Sol, 31:13; 13. Mariah Phelps, Hom, 31:23; 14. Heidi Keller, Sol, 31:44; 15. Pia Jonkiranta, Hom, 32:00; 16. Lela Wiley, Sky, 32:04; 17. Aurora Zinck, Nik, 32:15; 18. Wendy Wiles, Ken, 32:18; 19. Sasha Cvetkovski, Sol, 32:18; 20. Katie Burck, Ken, 32:32; 21. Ella Ames, Sol, 32:32; 22. Kjersta Larson, Ken, 33:05; 23. Sierra Williams, Sol, 34:07; 24. Melissa Bixby, Sky, 34:28; 25. Shauna Hall, Nik, 34:41; 26. Marta Todd, Galena, 34:50; 27. Tess Caswell, Sol, 35:05; 28. Kirsten Ehrhardt, Ken, 35:08; 29. Michelle Trumpler, Sky, 35:46; 30. Elisha Tarries, Sky, 36:33; 31. Clarissa Ribbens, Nik, 37:26; 32. Danielle Duncan, Sol, 42:00.
Team Standings -- 1. Soldotna 2:35:22; 2. Skyview 2:36:12; 3. Kenai 2:44:52; 4. Homer 2:46:27.
Individual results (10 kilometer classic) -- 1. Brent Knight, Sol, 37:42; 2. Adam Tressler, Sky, 37:54; 3. Andy Liebner, Sol, 38:07; 4. Zachary Hall, Nik, 38:24; 5. Daniel Harro, Sol, 38:56; 6. Jacob Fellman, Sky, 39:06; 7, Micah Mohler, Sky, 39:14; 8. Eric Nyce, Ken, 39:27; 9. Kyle Lints, Hom, 39:40; 10. Greg Landua, Ken, 39:52; 11. Leon Galbraith, Sky, 39:58; 12. David Hernandez, Sol, 40:37; 13. Mark Harro, Sol, 40:52; 14. Andrew Peters, Hom, 41:29; 15. Andy Banas, Ken, 41:42; 16. Damian Andersen, Sky, 41:56; 17. Tom Crandall, Hom, 42:38; 18. Clayton Smith, Hom, 42:40; 19. Ryan Walton, Sol, 43:16; 20. Clayton Harrison, Sol, 43:16; 21. Brett Morris, Ken, 43:51; 22. Grant Gephardt, Sky, 45:56; 23. Travis Kaufman, Hom, 46:03; 24. Sid Cox, Sky, 46:07; 25. Mike Kent, Ken, 46:55; 26. Brian Osborne, Sew, 47:22; 27. Chris Waser, Ken, 48:15; 28. Severin Hagen-Lillevik, Ken, 49:13.
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