A skier and a team made some monumental firsts look easy Saturday at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Championships ski meet at Tsalteshi Trails.
The Soldotna boys took their first borough title, SoHi hosted its first cross-country ski meet in the team's six years of existence and Skyview junior Amy Lambe took her first borough title.
Lambe took advantage of nearly perfect trail conditions and warm temperatures and skated a five-kilometer loop on her home course in 15 minutes, 19 seconds.
Panthers teammate Rebekah Aslett was second, eight seconds off the pace, while Homer's Ida Martin finished third.
"Rebekah is usually faster than me when we're skating," said Lambe, who was Region III's top classical skier last season. "I'm usually stronger at classical skiing."
Lambe said having the race at Tsalteshi Trails, which is located behind Skyview, helped immensely. The meet was originally scheduled for Seward, but heavy snows there buried grooming equipment.
"I know every little uphill and every little downhill here," Lambe said. "I know how much I have left, and with all these hills that helps a lot.
"I usually don't ski very well at Seward."
Although Skyview's Lambe and Aslett grabbed the top two girls slots, the Homer girls put four skiers in the top seven to take a rare borough title.
The Panthers girls had dominated the borough meet since Skyview opened in the 1990-91 school year, but came up 2 1/2 minutes short Saturday.
Homer's Martin, Jazzi Fry (fifth), Nikki Fry (sixth) and Sydney Schoepke (seventh) were all in the top seven.
"This was expected," said Homer coach Mickey Todd, who was without one of his top performers in Syverine Abrahamson. "We've pretty much dominated the region all year.
"These girls are great. They're such hard workers."
Soldotna High School took advantage of the situation in Seward by hosting its first ski meet and everything went off Saturday without a major hitch.
"When I heard Seward couldn't do it, I definitely wanted to do it," said Soldotna coach Sarah Tureson. "It's something we could do to show we've arrived as a program."
The Stars also made sure everybody knows they have arrived as a program by winning their first borough title.
Led by senior Brandon Newbould's individual title, the Stars won with a team time of 55:20, about one minute ahead of perennial borough power Skyview.
"It was nice to win, but this wasn't the meet that really matters for us," said Soldotna's Andy Liebner, who finished second overall. "We're more focused on regions than we are on boroughs."
Newbould, who skied five kilometers in 13:05 for the win, said the race was a welcome break in his race season.
Last weekend, Newbould was in Fairbanks finishing up qualifying for Alaska's Junior Olympics team.
Newbould said he felt some pressure at those races due to an earlier win at a Besh Cup race in Homer.
"I was starting to feel a little worn down," said Newbould, who picked up his second borough title. "Today was just what I needed.
"It was over quick. I didn't even have time to hurt."
Liebner finished about 30 seconds behind Newbould, while Nikiski's Zachary Hall finished third in 13:40.
Hall, who will join Soldotna's Brent Knight and Newbould on Alaska's Junior Olympics team, showed a marked improvement after finishing 24th at the borough meet last year.
"I've just trained a lot harder this year," Hall said. "I knew sophomore year was an important year. That's why I stepped it up."
Meanwhile, Skyview coach Kent Peterson was happy with his boys finishing second at the borough meet. Peterson said the Panthers finished last at one of the first races of the year.
"Now, we've got four really good skiers," said Peterson, who received top nine finishes from Andrew DeSmidt, Jacob Fellman, Adam Tressler and Micah Mohler. "Plus, we've got another five guys that are right there jockeying for that next spot."
All of the teams in borough will be in action next Friday and Saturday in the Region III meet at McNeil Canyon in Homer.
KENAI PENINSULA BOROUGH
At Tsalteshi Trails (five kilometers)
Team scores: 1. Soldotna, 55 minutes, 20 seconds; 2. Skyview, 56:18; 3. Kenai, 59:15; 4. Homer, 59:29; 5. Seward, 1:00:24.
1. Brandon Newbould, Sol, 13:05; 2. Andy Liebner, Sol, 13:34; 3. Zachary Hall, Nik, 13:40; 4. Andrew DeSmidt, Sky, 13:49; 5. Josh Mumm, Hom, 14:06; 6. Jacob Fellman, Sky, 14:08; 7. Greg Landua, Ken, 14:09; 8. Adam Tressler, Sky, 14:10; 9. Micah Mohler, Sky, 14:11; 10. Brent Knight, Sol, 14:18; 11. Daniel Harro, Sol, 14:23; 12. Lucas Olive, Sew, 14:34; 13. Lukas Fellman, Sky, 14:54; 14. Dom Lemas, Sew, 14:57; 15. Erik Frost, Ken, 14:57; 16. Brett Morris, Ken, 14:58; 17. Kyle Lints, Hom, 15:01; 18. Andrew Peters, Hom, 15:07; 19. Jordan Engel, Ken, 15:10; 20. Eric Nyce, Ken, 15:11; 21. Brian Craine, Hom, 15:15; 22. Gunar Berklund, Sew, 15:18; 23. Ian Weatherly, Hom, 15:20; 24. Leon Galbraith, Sky, 15:25; 25. Tom Crandall, Hom, 15:28.
26. Tyler Boyd, Ken, 15:28; 27. Severin Hagen-Lillevik, Ken, 15:32; 28. Jeff Sisley, Sol, 15:33; 29. Trent Foldager, Sew, 15:35; 30. Jordan Houghton, Sew, 15:42; 31. Galen Holt, Sol, 15:43; 32. Chris Seagren, Sol, 15:51; 33. Brian Osborn, Sew, 15:55; 34. David Roemer, Sew, 16:27; 35. Cory Brandall, Hom, 16:29; 36. Austin MacDonald, Sky, 17:13; 37. Brian Hack, Nik, 17:27.
Team scores: 1. Homer, 1:06:15; 2. Skyview, 1:08:51; 3. Soldotna, 1:09:00; 4. Kenai, 1:13:50; 5. Seward, 1:15:03; 6. Nikiski, 1:18:20.
1. Amy Lambe, Sky, 15:19; 2. Rebekah Aslett, Sky, 15:27; 3. Ida Martin, Hom, 15:39; 4. Danae Sinclair, Sol, 16:42; 5. Jazzi Fry, Hom, 16:43; 6. Nikki Fry, Hom, 16:45; 7. Sydney Schoepke, Hom, 17:08; 8. Rachel Goldstein, Sol, 17:18; 9. Ellen Landess, Sol, 17:19; 10. Emily Farrens, Hom, 17:28; 11. Mary Krusen, Ken, 17:33; 12. Morgan Mize, Sol, 17:41; 13. Marion Glaser, Sew, 18:03; 14. Abby Laing, Hom, 18:06; 15. Jessica Ralston, Nik, 18:07; 16. Kaisa Kohelmainen, Sol, 18:14; 17. Caitlin Nelson, Ken, 18:15; 18. Aurora Zinck, Nik, 18:15; 19. Wendy Wiles, Ken, 18:17; 20. Ella Ames, Sol, 18:31; 21. Kim Lynch, Nik, 18:40; 22. Amber St. Amand, Sew, 18:40; 23. Ailis Vann, Sky, 18:46; 24. Kelly Houghton, Sew, 19:06; 25. Carol Clausen, Sew, 19:14.
26. Alecia Wood, Sky, 19:19; 27. Lela Wiley, Sky, 19:32; 28. Brita West, Sky, 19:33; 29. Jenny Garnett, Sol, 19:38; 30. Katie Burck, Ken, 19:45; 31. Tara Rich, Sky, 20:22; 32. Joslyn Perry, Sew, 20:29; 33. Erin Conant, Sew, 21:23; 34. Kjersta Larson, Ken, 21:49; 35. Clarissa Ribbens, Nik, 23:18; 36. Jaida Quinn, Ken, 23:21.
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