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SoHi girls nab 4th straight title: Bree Mucha joins sister Kailey as Region III champion

Posted: Sunday, February 20, 2011

Soldotna junior Bree Mucha finally got the coming-out party she wanted. Homer junior Andre Lovett led a cast of overachievers to their highest point yet.

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Photo By Wesley Remmer
Photo By Wesley Remmer
A group of competitors race along Tsalteshi Trails on the second day of competition Saturday at the 2011 Region III skiing meet at Skyview High School.

The 2011 Region III skiing meet ended with a pair of history-making, photo-finish races on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Tsalteshi Trails behind Skyview High School.

Mucha, the younger sister of four-time region champ and Kenai Central grad Kailey Mucha, cemented her legacy by winning a first individual title and leading the SoHi girls to their fourth consecutive region team trophy, a school record.

Lovett, coming off a first-place finish at last weekend's boroughs meet, was among three Homer athletes who finished in the top six of Saturday's 10-kilometer boys freestyle race. That effort propelled the Mariners to what coach Jan Spurkland said was the squad's first region title in 30 years.

Meanwhile, SoHi sophomore Luke Michael won the overall boys title. He capped a strong two-day performance by defeating Schyler Knopp of Palmer by .01 seconds and Lovett by .06 seconds in Saturday's 10-kilometer race.

The two-day event was especially sweet for Mucha, who watched her older sister walk to the podium and accept gold the past four years.

"It feels really good to finally come out from behind Kailey's shadow and to actually do something for myself," she said. "It's nice to keep it in the family, but it's also nice to do it for myself."

Kenai Central, Seward, Skyview, Wasilla, Palmer, Colony, Nikiski and Grace Christian also competed. There were 270 competitors from 11 schools.

Mucha won Friday's six-kilometer classical race in 11 minutes, 26 seconds, defeating teammates D.Anne Martin (12:01.3) and Maranda Merkes (12:02.1). On Saturday, she rebounded from a fall early in the 7.5-kilometer freestyle race to hold on to edge Merkes by .08 seconds.

The SoHi girls swept the top three places in both the races Friday and Saturday, earning a team time of 2:22:17, more than 10 minutes faster than runner-up Grace Christian.

"We had been working really hard coming into this and the team started to jell here in the last month," SoHi coach Dan Harbison said. "They were able to put it together this weekend, which was great."

Michael, who opened the boys competition with a victory in the classical race Friday in a time of 16:15, held off Lovett and Knopp in a finish Saturday that by the naked eye was too close to call.

He said it was the biggest win of his career, and it came a week after he lost by less than a second to Lovett at the boroughs meet.

"I was thinking about last weekend, getting beat out by Andre, and I didn't want that to happen again," said Michael, who trailed until the final kilometer. "I was just hanging back and letting the guys do their own thing. I was thinking I needed to take it easy the first lap, then turn it on in the second, and that's what I did."

Lovett said he was content with third place Saturday because earning the team title trumped individual accolades.

The Mariners ended the weekend with a team time of 3:06:16, ahead of runner-up SoHi (3:06:33) and third-place Palmer (3:07:45).

Spurkland said it's been three decades since the Homer boys brought home a region crown.

"It's so neat that this group of boys is getting rewarded for all their hard work," he said. "They set this goal and it was kind of an unexpected goal. It wasn't a clear shot that they could do it from the beginning. They just put in the effort and had that drive and it paid off for them in the end. To watch that process, it's such a neat thing."

Added Lovett, "It's great, to know we finally pulled it out. You're able to say, 'Yes, we did it. Collectively we are the fastest team in the region."

Region III ski meet

Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails

GIRLS

Friday's six-kilometer classic

1. Bree Mucha, Sol, 11:26; 2. D.Anne Martin, Sol, 12:01; 3. Maranda Merkes, Sol, 12:02; 4. Michelle Klaben, Ken, 12:13; 5. Anna Trujillo, Gra, 12:17; 6. Hannah Smith, Pal, 12:26; 7. Abby Jahn, Col, 12:37; 8. Hannah Norris, Val, 12:46; 9. Elle Arnold, Gra, 13:01; 10. Claire Trujillo, Gra, 13:10.

Other peninsula finishers

11. Kristin Hynne, Sol, 13:11; 12. Marie Schmidt, Hom, 13:13; 13. Taylor Ostrander, Ken, 13:13; 15. MacKenzie Barnwell, Sew, 13:25; 16. Olivia Fair, Ken, 13:29; 18. Olivia Pfeifer, Ken, 13:41; 19. Alaine Miller, Hom, 13:48; 24. Catherine Wolk, Sky, 14:00; 27. Jordann Nelson, Sol, 14:15; 28. Eve Ferguson, Ken, 14:24; 29. Tamlyn Silva, Sky, 14:24; 31. Vanessa Anderson, Ken, 14:26; 32. Elisha Hollers, Sky, 14:26; 34. Mika Morton, Sky, 14:37; 35. Cassidy Soistman, Hom, 14:37; 37. Chelsea Winter, Sky, 14:43; 38. Annalise Theisen, Ken, 14:45; 40. Ashley Gerola, Sol, 14:50; 41. Mady Gerard, Hom, 14:50; 45. Maren Pfenning, Sol, 15:08; 46. Emily Schmidt, Hom, 15:10; 47. Katie Schmidt, Hom, 15:31; 49. Katie Clonan, Sky, 16:00; 51. Amanda Olson, Sew, 17:39.

Saturday's 7.5-kilometer freestyle

1. Bree Mucha, Sol, 22:23.2; 2. Maranda Merkes, Sol, 22:24.0; 3. D.Anne Martin, Sol, 23:25.9; 4. Michelle Klaben, Ken, 23:32.4; 5. Anna Trujillo, Gra, 24:15.2; 6. Abby Jahn, Col, 24:24.0; 7. Elle Arnold, Gra, 24:43.8; 8. Hannah Smith, Pal, 24:50.9; 9. Marie Schmidt, Hom, 24:56.2; 10. Brittney Anderson, Col, 25:20.8.

Other peninsula finishers

12. Jordann Nelson, Sol, 25:22.5; 13. Olivia Pfeifer 25>26.7; 16. MacKenzie Barnwell, Sew, 25:50.3; 17. Kristin Hynne, Sol, 26:05.9; 19. Cassidy Soistman, Hom, 26:10.0; 20. Taylor Ostrander, Ken, 26:10.7; 21. Tamlyn Silva, Sky, 26:10.9; 22. Eve Ferguson, Ken, 26.11.5; 25. Alaine Miller, Hom, 26:24.8; 26. Chelsea Winter, Sky, 26:25.8; 27. Mady Gerard, Hom, 26:46.5; 28. Annalise Theisen, Ken, 26:47.4; 30. Mika Morton, Sky, 27:00.4; 31. Olivia Fair, Ken, 27:03.2; 34. Catherine Wolk, Sky, 27:28.5; 38. Elisha Hollers, Sky, 28:21.7; 39. Vanessa Anderson, Ken, 28:31.5; 44. Katie Clonan, Sky, 28:57.6; 45. Maren Pfenning, Sol, 29:02.3; Ashley Gerola, Sol, 29:05.2; Katie Schmidt, Hom, 29:24.8; 48. Amanda Olson, Sew, 30:44.2.

Overall

1. Bree Mucha, Sol, 33:49; 2. Maranda Merkes, Sol, 34:26; 3. D.Anne Martin, Sol, 35:27; 4. Michelle Klaben, Ken, 35:46; 5. Anna Trujillo, Gra, 36:33; 6. Abby Jahn, Col, 37:01; 7. Hannah Smith, Pal, 37:18; 8. Elle Arnold, Gra, 37:45; 9. Marie Schmidt, Hom, 38:09; 10. Hannah Norris, Val, 38:29.

Team results

1. Soldotna, 2:22:17; 2. Grace Christian, 2:33:03; 3. Kenai Central, 2:33:58; 4. Colony, 2:39:17; 5. Palmer, 2:40:49; 6. Homer, 2:40:47; 7. Skyview, 2:44:35.

BOYS

Friday's 10-kilometer classic

1. Luke Michael, Sol, 16:15; 2. Schyler Knopp, Pal, 16:33; 3. Abe Meyerhofer, Col, 16:49; 4. IntiMayo Harbison, Soll, 16:51; 5. James Watkins, Ken, 17:10; 6. Connor Mattson, Was, 17:24; 7. Daniel Serventi, Gra, 17:29; 8. Andre Lovett, Hom, 17:35; 9. Parker Sorenson, Hom, 17:40; 10. Brian Rowe, Hom, 17:44.

Other peninsula finishers

14. Dillon Jensen, Sol, 17:53; 15. Brayden Holt, Sky, 18:00; 18. Kade Cooper, Sky, 18:07; 19. Tyler Cooper, Ken, 18:12; 20. Leif Danielson, Sky, 18:12; 21. Evan Atchley, Ken, 18:21; 25. Kevin Rowe, Hom, 18:28; 29. Joseph Rife, Sol, 18:48; 34. Kyle Wentz, Hom, 19:11; 36. Joe Bressler, Ken, 19:13; 37. Isaac Cryer, Ken, 19:16; 40. Ben Gilman, Ken, 19:31; 41. Sam Werthmuller, Sky, 19:36; 44. Joey Bishop, Sky, 19:43; 46. Dan Adickes, Hom, 19:52; 47. Brett Chase, Sew, 19:53; 49. Fox Michaud, Ken, 20:04; 51. Austin Gillespie, Sew, 20:18; 52. Olen Danielson, Sky, 20:24; 54. Colton Diehl, Sol, 20:35; 55. Benjamin Sibley, Sky, 20:37; 56. Miles Knotek, Sew, 20:52; 58. Josh Vantrease, Hom, 21:33; 59. Ehren Rickman, Sol, 21:48; 60. Cole Covey, Nik, 23:17.

Saturday's 10-kilometer freestyle

1. Luke Michael, Sol, 27:53.9; 2. Schyler Knopp, Pal, 27:54.0; 3. Andre Lovett, Hom, 27:54.5; 4. Parker Sorenson, Hom, 28:10.1; 5. Brayden Holt, Sky, 28:11.6; 6. Brian Rowe, Hom, 28:47.0; 7. IntiMayo Harbison, Sol, 28:51.7; 8. Abe Meyerhoffer, Col, 28:56.9; 9. Aube Strickland, Pal, 29:01.2; 10. Dillon Jensen, Sol, 29:08.5.

Other peninsula finishers

14, Leif Danielson, Sky, 29:52.3; 16. Kevin Rowe, Hom, 29:55.1; 18. Kyle Wentz, Hom, 30:04.2; 21. Austin Gillespie, Sew, 30:13.3; 22. Evan Atchley, Ken, 30:14.7; 26. James Watkins, Ken, 30:18.9; 28. Kade Cooper, Sky. 30:33.9; 30. Tyler Cooper, Ken, 30:40.9; 31. Fox Michaud, Ken, 30:4.4; 32. Joseph Rife, Sol, 30:49.5; 36. Joe Bressler, Ken, 31:43.2; 37. Colton Diehl, Sol, 31:50.8; 38. Ben Gilman, Ken, 31:58.4; 39. Josh Vantrease, Hom, 32:19.2; 40. Sam Werthmuller, Sky, 32:22.1; 44. Joey Bisho, Sky, 32:28.0; 47. Dan Adickes, Hom, 32:58.2; 49. Olen Danielson, Sky, 33:38.5; 50. Isaac Cryer, Ken, 33:39.2; 51. Miles Knotek, Sew, 33:49.4; 54. Benjamin Sibley, Sky, 34:37.4; 56. Cole Covey, Nik, 35:17.4; 60. Ehren Rickman, Sol, 36:29.0.

Overall

1. Luke Michael, Sol, 44:09; Schyler Knopp, Pal, 44:27; 3. Andre Lovett, Hom, 45:30; 4. IntiMayo Harbison, Sol, 45:43; 5. Abe Meyerhoffer, Col, 45:46; 6. Parker Sorenson, Hom, 45:51; 7. Brayden Holt, Sky, 46:12; 8. Brian Rowe, Hom, 46:31; 9. Connor Mattson, Was, 46:36; 10. Aube Strickland, Pal, 46:53.

Team results

1. Homer, 3:06:16; 2. Soldotna, 3:06:33; 3. Palmer, 3:07:45; 4. Skyview, 3:14:56; 5. Kenai Central, 3:14:58; 6. Colony, 3:15:22; 7. Grace Christian, 3:16:28; 8. Wasilla, 3:21:39; 10. Valdez, 3:24:29.



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