Sports Briefs

Posted: Monday, February 11, 2008

Mucha, Watkins, Romig qualify for Jr. Nationals

One day after claiming her second consecutive Region III cross-country skiing crown in Valdez, Soldotna sophomore Kailey Mucha achieved another milestone in Chugiak.

With a sixth-place finish on the final day of Besh Cup racing at Beach Lake Trails on Sunday, Mucha qualified for the Alaska Junior National Team, which will compete in the 2008 Junior Olympics from March 8-15 in Anchorage.

After skipping Saturday's Besh Cup competition in favor of the region championships, Mucha completed Sunday's 5-kilometer freestyle interval start race in 14 minutes, 53.10 seconds, finishing fifth on the Junior 1/Older Junior points list. The top 15 make Junior Nationals.

Also qualifying was Kenai Central's Molly Watkins, who skipped regions and finished 15th in Sunday's 5-kilometer freestyle race with a time of 15:25.20. Watkins concluded the series 10th on the points list.

Homer's Emma Teal Laukitis placed 29th in 16:20 but didn't qualify for Junior Nationals, finishing in 27th position on the list.

Also from Homer, Gillian Beran-Maryott and Claire Laukitis came in 33rd and 34th, respectively, on the J1/OJ girls points list. Homer graduate Erika Klaar finished 23rd on the J1/OJ list.

Kenai Central's Anders Nyquist, who also passed on regions for an opportunity at Junior Nationals or the Arctic Winter Games, made it worth his while by qualifying for the latter.

Nyquist placed fifth in the men's 5-kilometer freestyle race in 13:30 and finished 10th on the Junior 2 points list. The top six finishers qualify for Junior Nationals, while the next four are eligible to participate in the Arctic Winter Games, which will be held from March 9-15 in Yellowknife, Northwest Territory, Canada.

Despite not racing on Sunday, Skyview graduate Erick Romig still finished seventh on the Junior 1/Older Junior points list and qualified for Junior Nationals, as the top 15 make it. He placed 16th in Saturday's 10-kilometer race.

Kenai's Trent Semmens finished Sunday's 10-kilometer race in 24th place with a time of 27:35.80, but finished 21st on the Junior 1/Older Junior list and didn't qualify for further competition.

In the Junior 2/Junior 3 girls 3-kilometer race, Maranda Merkes of Soldotna Middle School finished second in 10:05 and qualified for the Arctic Winter Games by finishing third on the points list. Only the top four advance.

Soldotna junior Jasmine Clock also qualified for the Arctic Winter Games despite not racing either day.

One day after finishing second in the region, Clock wound up eighth on the Junior 2 points list, with the top six going on to Junior Nationals and the next four advancing to the Arctic Winter Games.

Kenai boys win in Kodiak

Behind 19 points from senior Nate Byrd, 17 from senior Nate Saltzgiver and 13 from senior Cory Toombs, the Kardinals beat the Bears, 66-40, in Northern Lights Conference action Friday night.

Kenai (14-3, 5-0) then beat Kodiak again on Saturday, although that contest was a non-conference affair.

The Kenai girls (8-8, 1-3) lost both of their games to Kodiak. On Friday, the Kardinals lost the conference tilt by five points and then dropped the non-conference game by eight on Saturday.

Nikiski girls edge Grace; boys fall

The Nikiski girls survived a 31-30 overtime thriller at Grace on Saturday in Southcentral Conference action.

Rachel Romans recorded all four of Nikiski's points in overtime, including the winning basket with roughly eight seconds remaining, in leading the Bulldogs (11-8, 3-1) with 11 points. Shalene Peek added 10.

The Nikiski boys lost to Grace, 77-32, on Saturday.

Kellan Moll paced Grace with 20 points, while Leif Karlberg had 17. Brando Wik led Nikiski with 11 points and Sheridan Olson added eight.

-Staff report

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