Kenai Central's Kailey Mucha edged out her sister, Bree, to give the Kardinals the win by 3.5 seconds at the 2010 Kenai Peninsula Borough relay on Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails. Kailey, Anders Nyquist, Michelle Klaben and Travis Semmens comprised Kenai's winning relay team.
"We knew it was going to be close," Kenai ski coach D'Anna Gibson said.
Gibson, who's also Kailey and Bree's mother, was skiing the final leg of the simultaneous Alaska State Masters Ski Championship relay and couldn't witness the tight finish between her daughters.
Bree, who skis for Soldotna, had the lead on Kailey for most of the final three-kilometer leg.
"Every corner I turned around, she turned the next corner," Kailey said.
But as she neared the finish line, Kailey gained ground on Bree and passed her.
"It was kill time," Kailey said.
"I was happy to see Kailey come through the woods right with Bree and pass her," Nyquist said.
Once the race ended, so too did the sibling rivalry.
"They're competitive with each other, but they do a good job of keeping it out on the trail," Gibson said.
"I love my sister," Kailey said. "She and I are both very competitive."
SoHi's team of Ryan Sanders, Maranda Merkes, IntiMayo Harbison and Bree took second and SoHi's team of Alex Kauffman, D.Anne Martin, Luke Michael and Jasmine Clock finished third. Teams were made up of two males and two females. One boy and one girl skied a three-kilometer classic loop and the other two skate skied a three-kilometer loop.
"I really liked it. It really mixed it up a bit," Kailey said of the relay format. "It was actually a lot of fun. It was something new."
"It was a big team effort," Nyquist said.
Three the members on Kenai's winning relay team had the fastest individual leg time. Kailey had the fastest girls skate leg with a time of 7:24. Bree took second and Homer's Maggie Bursch finished third.
Nyquist was the top classic boy with a time of 8:14. Sanders finished less than eight seconds behind Nyquist and SkyHi's Leif Danielson finished third.
"I scrambled," Nyquist said. "It was too long for an all-out sprint but too short for a distance race."
Merkes had the fastest girls classic leg at 10:07. Martin followed Merkes by 10 seconds and Homer's Frances Bursch had the third best time.
Semmens recorded the fastest boys skate leg with a time of 6:59. Skyview's Hunter Jackinsky followed Semmens and IntiMayo Harbison had the third-best skate leg.
Semmens said his pole strap came undone twice while ascending the first hill, but he was still able to close the gap on SoHi.
"I'm pretty happy that we won," Semmens added.
Like Kailey, Nyquist and Semmens said the race format was a welcomed change, as the team rarely competes in mixed relays.
"It will be good practice for the state relay," Semmens said.
SkyHi ski coach Kent Peterson agreed, pointing out the relays are all-male and all-female at the state ski championships.
"We definitely needed to do a relay before state," he said.
"It definitely changes it up," Gibson said of the relay format. "You get to see where teams are. As we saw, that was a really close race."
"It's nice to do a short race," Peterson said. "It was good to have a fun weekend before we get serious for regions and state.
"It was really nice to have all adults out there, too," Peterson added. "Skiing is a lifelong activity, and it's nice to show that."
The team of Adam and Carly Reimer, Dan Harbison and Tamara Wear won the Master's relay. The team of Jan and Megan Spurkland, Paul Gutzler and Catie Bursch took second and the foursome of Gibson, Luke Oliver, Kathleen Herring and Brad Nyquist finished third.
Jan Spurkland skied the fastest men's classic leg with a time of 8:11. He was followed by Adam Reimer in second and Lucas Thein in third.
Megan Spurkland had the best individual women's classic time, finishing in 9:37. Carly Reimer took second and Herring finished third.
For the men's skate ski leg, Oliver had the best individual time at 7:18. Kent Peterson was second and Dan Harbison was third.
Gibson had the best women's skate leg with a time of 9:00. Brenda Stoops followed Gibson, and Wear was third.
Mike Nesper can be reached at email@example.com.
Team scores: 1. Kenai (Anders Nyquist, Michelle Klaben, Travis Semmens, Kailey Mucha) 33:37; 2. Soldotna (Ryan Sanders, Maranda Merkes, IntiMayo Harbison, Bree Mucha) 33:41; 3. Soldotna (Alex Kauffman, D.Anne Martin, Luke Michael, Jasmine Clock) 35:00; 4. Homer (Andrew Lovett, Frances Bursch, Parker Sorensen, Maggie Bursch) 35:59; 5. Skyview (Brayden Holt, Tamlyn Silva, Hunter Jackinsky, Carol Clonan) 36:53; 6. Kenai (Evan Atchely, Olivia Fair, James Watkins, Olivia Pfeifer) 37:24; 7. Homer (Kevin Rowe, Denali Critchett, Tux Seims, Kaya Morelli) 37:29; 8. Skyview (Leif Danielson, Catherine Wolk, Justin Marsh, Hannah Hutchison) 37:39; 9. Soldotna (Josiah Martin, Mel Smith, Joseph Rife, Jordan Nelson) 37:53; 10. Kenai (Tyler Cooper, Dani Rehm, Anton Krull, Vanessa Anderson) 38:56; 11. Homer (Lewis Koplin, Marie Schmidt, Kyle Wentz, Alaine Miller) 39:47; 12. Kenai (Jorge Rios, Annalise Theisen, Ben Gilman, Eve Ferguson) 41:27; 13. Kenai (Trent Saner, Taylor Ostrander, Joe Bressler, Chelsea Springer) 42:01; 14. Skyview (Kade Cooper, Dallas Derflinger, Stryker McLane, Katie Clonan) 42:33; 15. Seward (Austin Gillispie, Amanda Olson, Samy Pfluger, Maggie Herbert) 42:46; 16. Soldotna (Zach Truesdale, Nancy Valdez, Dillon Jensen, Ashley Gerola) 43:11; 17. Homer (Kim Dooyoung, Emily Schmidt, Dan Adickes, Carla Mueller) 43:57; 18. Mixed (Leif Thul, Casey Ferrell, Tyler Nichols, Kiana Johnson) 45:00; 19. Kenai (Graham Hanlin, Sarah Bressler, Mike Segura, Carolyn Knackstedt) 45:07; 20. Skyview (Joey Bishop, Allison Farrington, Manuel Heller, Nina Buhlmann) 45:18; 21. Mixed (Gabe Esposito, Laura Dyer, Brett Chase, Lydia Arndt) 46:20; 22. Homer (Tyler Wentz, Katie Schmidt, Jesse Toubman, Kelsey Haas) 47:38; 23. Soldotna (TJ Earll, TJ Earll, Jusso Makkonen, Hannah Christiano) 47:45; 24. Seward (Miles Knotek, Serena Melville, Jacob Marshall, Rain Becker) 49:01; 25. Kenai (Jake Gilman, Gloria Romain, Zack Burrell, Rylee Devito) 49:48.
Non-qualifying teams: 1. Male B (Bud Sparks, Gustavo Gallard, Benjamin Sibley, Kelty Fair) 39:47; 2. Male A (Trevor Clark, Felipe Campello, Duane Schaeffer, Joe Nyholm) 47:58; 3. Male C (Ty Shoemaker, Stephen Lohry, Josh Croze, Cole Covey) 48:00.
Alaska State Masters Ski Championship: 1. Team A (Adam Reimer, Carly Reimer, Dan Harbison, Tamara Wear) 37:00; 2. Team J (Jan Spurkland, Megan Spurkland, Paul Gutzler, Catie Bursch) 37:12; 3. Team C (Brad Nyquist, Kathleen Herring, Luke Oliver, D'Anna Gibson) 40:29; 4. Team K (Lucas Thein, TJ Pfaffe, John Roedl, Greta Danielson) 42:20; 5. Team B (Dave Michael, Elaine Rainey, Kent Peterson, Brenda Stoops) 44:03; 6. Team E (Tim Moerlein, Kristine Moerlein, Chuck O, Jeanne O) 44:07; 7. Team F (Jim Bennett, Gigi Banas, Tom Seggerman, Sara Hepner) 45:49; 8. Team D (Clark Whitney, Janice Habermann, Isaac Dale, Laura Mohorcich) 47:30; 9. Team G (Dante Petri, Emily Kornelius, Edie Mac, Joe Montague) 47:36; 10. Team H (Justin Moore, S. Evins, Pete Sprague, Orie Moore) 53:09; 11. Team I (Scott McInnes, Robin Nyce, Paul Knight, Carmen Stephl) 57:45.
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