Liebner, Stars still own Tsalteshi

Colony's girls, Homer's Martin also nab hardware at Region III ski tournament

Posted: Sunday, February 18, 2001

Another big meet at Tsalteshi Trails, another big win for the Soldotna boys and Stars senior Andy Liebner.

Led by Male Skier of the Year Liebner, the SoHi boys took their second straight Region III cross-country skiing crown Saturday at sunny Tsalteshi Trails behind Skyview High School.

This fall, Tsalteshi Trails also was the site of SoHi's team title and Liebner's individual crown at the Class 4A state cross country meet.

Other highlights of the meet included the Colony girls taking the first Region III championship in their history, Homer's Ida Martin nabbing Female Skier of the Year honors and Skyview's Kent Peterson taking home Coach of the Year.

Coming into Saturday's 4-by-5-kilometer relay race, the Soldotna boys had a 48-second lead on Skyview in the race for the team title.

On the first leg of the relay, SoHi's Brent Knight, who was second in Friday's classical race, and Skyview's Jacob Fellman were in a scintillating pack of five that stuck together over all 5 kilometers.

With a strong sprint down the final chute, Kenai's Greg Landua finally got the best of that pack of five, leading Kenai to a fourth in the relay.

It was on the second leg where the Stars made the move that won them the region title. SoHi's Mark Harro, skiing against Skyview's Leon Galbraith, opened up a lead of about 17 seconds.


Homer's Ida Martin is framed by orange plastic fencing lining the finish chute as she skis her way to a victory in the classic race Friday.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

"Mark Harro had the race of his life," Soldotna coach Sarah Tureson said. "We weren't even sure if he was going to be the one skiing the relay.

"We let the guys decide themselves who would be on the relay team and they made the right decision."


Skyview's Stephanie Lambe tries to avoid tangling with teammate Ailis Vann after making the tag during the Region III relay race Saturday morning.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

One reason Harro was able to open up a lead was that Galbraith took a fall during his leg.

"That fall doesn't take anything away from Soldotna," Peterson said. "Part of racing is staying up on your skis. Leon had a good meet for us, though. He had a good classical race Friday."


Skyview's Stephanie Lambe goes down after she lost her balance making the tag.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

On the final two legs, SoHi's Daniel Harro and Liebner were able to hold the lead against Skyview's Micah Mohler and Adam Tressler.

"I wanted to go all out today," said Liebner, who was the winner of Friday's classical race. "I love doing relay races.

"It makes you rely on your teammates and that's the type of thing I like. It was just put your poles down and go."

In Friday's classical race, the SoHi boys took their initial lead by taking a simple approach to tricky wax conditions. The temperature Friday was hovering just above freezing, which always makes for nervous moments in the wax room when prepping for a classical race.

Liebner said the team kick waxed with some Swix red that his father had purchased 20 years ago in Kodiak.

"We like to keep waxing simple," Daniel Harro said. "A lot of other teams were doing complicated stuff, but we start with the basics and see if that works.

"It worked Friday."

The performances of Liebner and Knight were enough to put the Stars in the lead despite top-10 performances from Skyview's Fellman (fourth), Tressler (fifth) and Mohler (seventh).

Other peninsula racers in the top 10 Friday were Nikiski's Zach Hall (ninth) and Landua (10th).

On the girls side, Homer, which had won the last two region titles, came into Saturday's 4-by-3-kilometer freestyle relay with a 14-second lead on Colony and a 44-second lead on Skyview.

The chips immediately began to fall on the first leg of the relay, when Colony's Diana Heimerl beat Amy Lambe, Skyview's top skier, and opened up a large gap on Homer's Heather Strutz.

"Skating is not Diana Heimerl's strength," Colony coach Ed Strabel said. "When I saw her take the lead on some of the best skiers in the state on that last downhill, I said, 'Oh boy, I think we've got it.'

"I knew that we'd be pretty hard to beat with Sarah Hansen on that last leg."

Homer's Martin made up a minute and 15 seconds on the leaders in the third leg of the relay, but it was not enough. Skyview ended up taking second in the relay and in the region, while Homer was third in the relay and in the region.

The Mariners could not make up for the loss of two varsity skiers this year. One quit and the other is one of the top biathletes at her age group in the country and is focusing her efforts there.

"We just didn't have the sprinters," Homer coach Mickey Todd said. "Losing two varsity skiers this year hurt.

"This year, we were leading by 14 seconds after the first day. Last year, it was more like 14 minutes."

In Friday's classical race, Martin and Lambe continued the back-and-forth duel they have been having all year.

Martin got the best of Lambe this time, skiing Tsalteshi's hilly 7.5 kilometers in 31:43, just ahead of Lambe's 32:00.

"I think Ida had the advantage on this course because it's so hilly and she's a powerful skier," Todd said. "Amy Lambe's strength is double poling on the flats.

"Ida loves hills. She searches them out."

Lambe said it wasn't the course that made the difference. She said she's evenly matched with Martin and Friday was just another race decided by a few seconds that could have went either way.

"I do like flat courses better, but I don't think this course gave her an advantage," Lambe said. "I know every uphill, every downhill and every turn here, so I was able to visualize the course as I was skiing."

Other peninsula skiers in the top 10 Friday were Soldotna's Rachel Goldstein (ninth) and Skyview's Erika Edwards (10th).

The Region III contingent, which has an impressive 14 people on the Junior Olympics Alaska team this year, will now make its way to the state high school meet Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Kincaid Park in Anchorage.


At Tsalteshi Trails

Friday, Saturday


Team times: 1, Colony, 3 hours, 11 minutes, 23 seconds; 2. Skyview, 3:12:21; 3. Homer, 3:13:04; 4. Susitna Valley, 3:21:08; 5. Valdez, 3:24:10; 6. Soldotna, 3:24:48; 7. Kenai, 3:28:26; 8. Grace Christian, 3:28:57; 9. Palmer, 3:52:29; 10. Nikiski, 4:09:51.

Top three relay teams in the girls 4X4 3-kilometer freestyle relay

1. Colony (Diana Heimerl, Clare Baldwin, Aleshia Pickett, Sarah Hansen), 46:33; 2. Skyview (Amy Lambe, Stephanie Lambe, Ailis Vann, Erika Edwards), 47:01; 3. Homer (Heather Strutz, Aleta Phelps, Ida Martin, Emily Farrens), 48:28.

Individual 7.5-kilometer classical race

1. Ida Martin, Hom, 31:43; 2. Amy Lambe, Sky, 32:00; 3. Sarah Fischer, Val, 33:03; 4. Nicole DeYong, Gra, 33:20; 5. Diana Heimerl, Col, 33:37; 6. Sarah Hansen, Col, 34:33; 7. Tazlina Mannix, SuV, 34:36; 8. Renae Moore, SuV, 34:53; 9. Rachel Goldstein, Sol, 35:35; 10. Erika Edwards, Sky, 36:00; 11. Emily Farrens, Hom, 37:03; 12. Stephanie Lambe, Sky, 37:20; 13. Aleshia Pickett, Col, 37:28; 14. Jenna DeYong, Gra, 37:30; 15. Heather Strutz, Hom, 37:44; 16. Liz Embick, Val, 37:56; 17. Aleta Phelps, Hom, 38:06; 18. Sasha Cvetkovski, Sol, 38:09; 19. Wendy Wiles, Ken, 38:15; 20. Melissa Ostermick, SuV, 38:19; 21. Nicole Spence, Ken, 38:37; 22. Ellen Landess, Sol, 39:11; 23. Shannon Gearry, Col, 39:12; 24. Mary Krusen, Ken, 39:13; 25. Jenny Folsom, Val, 39:30.

26. Clare Baldwin, Col, 39:32; 27. Ailis Vann, Sky, 40:00; 28. Kjersta Larson, Ken, 40:00; 29. Katie Burck, Ken, 40:10; 30. Lela Wiley, Sky, 40:36; 31. Miriah Phelps, Hom, 40:58; 32. Bridget Heimerl, Col, 41:20; 33. Aurora Zinck, Nik, 41:22; 34. Heidi Keller, Sol, 41:36; 35. Sierra Williams, Sol, 41:53; 36. Alecia Wood, Sky, 41:54; 37. Ashley Thomas, Gra, 42:03; 38. Tess Caswell, Sol, 42:05; 39. Katherine Amen, Ken, 42:11; 40. Becky James, Pal, 42:24; 41. Elise Leahy, Val, 43:16; 42. Melissa Bixby, Sky, 43:30; 43. Marta Todd, Galena, 43:34; 44. Hannah Maddry, Col, 43:45; 45. Heikki Hanson, Was, 43:52; 46. Kirsten Erhardt, Ken, 43:54; 47. Paisley Meekin, Pal, 44:07; 48. Brook Williams, SuV, 44:18; 49. Cate Jelle, Pal, 44:38; 50. Shauna Hall, Nik, 44:53.

51. Lauren Migdal, Hom, 45:02; 52. Dakota Stranik, Gra, 45:40; 53. Kristen Wien, Was, 46:13; 54. Alissa Morino, Pal, 46:22; 55. Amy Weikel, Was, 46:27; 56. Jericho Moll, Gra, 46:45; 57. Clarissa Ribbens, Nik, 46:51; 58. Laura Wesser, Was, 49:13; 59. Anu Peiponen, Val, 49:17; 60. Christina Moore, SuV, 49:51; 61. Ashley St. Onge, Sol, 50:26; 62. Christine Thomas, Pal, 51:51; 63. Stacy Doner, Nik, 54:06; 64. Jenny Miller, Nik, 1:01:52.

Team times: 1. Soldotna, 3:11:23; 2. Skyview, 3:12:21; 3. Homer, 3:13:04; 4. Su Valley, 3:21:08; 5. Valdez, 3:24:10; 6. Soldotna, 3:24:48; 7. Kenai, 3:28:26; 8. Grace, 3:28:57; 9. Palmer, 3:52:29; 10. Nikiski, 4:09:51.

Top three relay teams in the girls 4X4 3-kilometer freestyle relay

1. Soldotna (Brent Knight, Mark Harro, Daniel Harro, Andy Liebner), 57:18; 2. Skyview (Jacob Fellman, Leon Galbraith, Micah Mohler, Adam Tressler), 58:07; 3. Colony (Ian Comer, Jeff Warner, Nick Foley, Richard Hallock), 59:04.

Individual 7.5-kilometer classical race

1. Andy Liebner, Sol, 32:16; 2. Brent Knight, Sol, 32:36; 3. Richard Hallock, Col, 32:55; 4. Jacob Fellman, Sky, 33:14; 5. Adam Tressler, Sky, 33:17; 6. Lee Bolling, Pal, 33:19; 7. Micah Mohler, Sky, 33:45; 8. Bart Dengel, Val, 34:04; 9. Zach Hall, Nik, 34:05; 10. Greg Landua, Ken, 34:12; 11. Jeff Warner, Col, 34:13; 12. Daniel Harro, Sol, 34:16; 13. Kyle Lints, Hom, 35:26; 14. Eric VanDongen, Col, 35:26; 15. Leon Galbraith, Sky, 35:53; 16. Andy Banas, Ken, 35:56; 17. Eric Nyce, Ken, 36:02; 18. Preston Pickett, Col, 36:08; 19. Mark Harro, Sol, 36:13; 20. Nick Foley, Col, 36:16; 21. Ian Comer, Col, 36:25; 22. David Hernandez, Sol, 36:43; 23. Clayton Smith, Hom, 36:44; 24. Brett Morris, Ken, 36:51; 25. Ryan Walton, Sol, 36:59.

26. Ross Wise, Col, 37:23; 27. Damian Anderson, Sky, 37:35; 28. Jordan Engel, Ken, 37:41; 29. Andrew Peters, Hom, 37:59; 30. Clayton Harrison, Sol, 38:26; 31. Sid Cox, Sky, 39:39; 32. Grant Gephardt, Sky, 39:53; 33. Ben Meyer, Was, 39:59; 34. Ryan Ford, Pal, 40:20; 35. Travis Kaufman, Hom, 40:32; 36. Severin Hagen-Lillevik, Ken, 41:14; 37. Mike Kent, Ken, 42:21; 38. David Dickson, Pal, 43:12; 39. Jimmy Rutter, Chugach, 44:44; 40. Mike Beeson, Pal, 44:53; 41. James Klover, Val, 45:00; 42. Patrick Boyle, Was, 45:01; 43. Devin Reiss, Val, 45:07; 44. Tyler Cunningham, Pal, 45:20; 45. Nate Cross, Pal, 46:00; 46. Russell Wirkus, Was, 49:15; 47. Jon Kastar, Pal, 50:08; 48. Brian Fickes, Val, 53:09; 49. Claudius Weykonath, Nik, 53:37; 50. Chris Leahy, Val, 53:58.

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