Peninsula well-represented at NCAAs, Junior Olympics

Area skiers finish strong

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2001

Led by Aubrey Smith's second-place finish at the NCAA Ski Championships, the Kenai Peninsula's cross-country skiers continued to show well among the nation's best Friday and Saturday.

In addition to Smith's second at the NCAA meet, peninsula skiers picked up another top-10 finish in an individual race and two top-three finishes in relay races at the Junior Olympics cross-country skiing championships in Ishpeming, Mich.

Smith, a Seward High School graduate and junior at Northern Michigan University, finished the 15-kilometer freestyle in Middlebury, Vt., in 45 minutes, 20.5 seconds. She was about a minute behind winner Katerina Hanusova of Nevada.

The second-place finish gives Smith her second All-America honor of the championships. She finished third in Wednesday's 5-kilometer classic race. Smith was the top American finisher in each of the races.

At the Junior Olympics, which highlight the country's top high school skiers, Skyview senior Amy Lambe became the fourth different skier from the peninsula to post a top-10 finish Friday when she finished ninth in the Junior 1 (born 1983 to 1984) Female 5-kilometer classical race.

Lambe's finish brought the peninsula's top-10 total to five in the three Junior Olympics individual races. Those individual top 10s are the first for the peninsula in the Junior Olympics since 1994.

Success continued for the peninsula's junior skiers in Saturday's relay races. Both Soldotna senior Andy Liebner and Homer senior Ida Martin were on mixed relay teams that finished third.

In Friday's races, which Team Alaska dominated by claiming five of the six gold medals, Lambe put up a time of 17:20 for her ninth-place finish. The race was won by Alaska's Paige Brady in 16:34.

In the Older Junior (born 1981 to 1982) Female 5-kilometer classical race, Martin led the peninsula with a 14th-place finish in 17:37. Alaska, led by winner Tara Hamilton's 15:32, put six racers in the top 14.

In the Junior 1 Male 10-kilometer race, Liebner paced the peninsula by finishing 20th in 32:00. Service senior and state Skimeister Zach Hill won the race with a time of 14:36.

Also from the peninsula, Soldotna junior Brent Knight was 24th in 32:27. Skyview senior Adam Tressler did not race.

In the Older Junior Male 10-kilometer classical race, Skyview senior Jacob Fellman placed 34th with a time of 32:17. West Valley senior Jesse Carlstrom won the race for Alaska with a time of 29:17.

Alaska's Espen Haugen took the Junior 2 (born 1985 to 1986) Male 5-kilometer classical race and Intermountain/Northern's Kaelin Kiesel, followed by three Alaskans, took the Junior 2 Female 5-kilometer classical race to wrap up Friday's action.

Saturday, Martin picked up her third medal of the Junior Olympics by helping her Older Junior Female relay team to a third-place finish with a strong leadoff 5-kilometer classical leg. Martin's team had a time of 53:24, about 3 1/2 minutes behind Alaska's winning team of Hamilton, Nicole DeYong and Kikkan Randall.

Liebner grabbed his second medal of the championships by anchoring his Junior 1 Male relay team to a third-place finish. The Alaskans finished about 1:10 behind New England's winning team.

Also in Junior 1 Male racing, Brent Knight's relay team was fifth and Tressler's team was 18th.

Lambe helped her team to a fourth-place finish in the Junior 1 Female relay. Her team finished 1:25 behind Intermountain/ Northern's winning team.

In the Older Junior Male relay race, Fellman's team finished 13th.

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