Skyview’s Romig also wears crown at Skyview Invitational

Mucha wins title in 1st race

Posted: Sunday, December 03, 2006


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  Soldotna freshman Kailey Mucha skis to a win in the girls 5-kilometer race Saturday at the Skyview Invitational. M. Scott Moon

Soldotna freshman Kailey Mucha skis to a win in the girls 5-kilometer race Saturday at the Skyview Invitational.

M. Scott Moon

When informed she had won the girls race, Kailey Mucha’s face lit up.

Perhaps she was blushing, or maybe it was just the chilly weather tinting her cheeks.

Nonetheless, an ear-to-ear smile plastered itself right in the middle. She was as surprised as anyone.

With limited snowfall translating into unusual practice methods and the fact that classical skiing tracks weren’t being used Saturday, Mucha already had enough to deal with in her first official race of the season.

Actually, it was the first race of her high school career.

None of that seemed to faze the Soldotna freshman, though, as she earned first place by nearly 28 seconds with a time of 20:21 at a shortened Skyview Invitational.

“I wasn’t expecting to get first. I was just thinking to go out and have fun,” Mucha said. “I’m just really, really happy.”

Kenai sophomore Molly Watkins placed second with a time of 20:48.9, senior Kendra Merkes of Skyview claimed third with a time of 21:29.9, Homer senior Erika Klaar finished fourth (22:15.3) and Colony’s Emily Dougherty took fifth (22:27.1).

Skyview senior Erick Romig won the boys race in 15:59.3, ahead of senior Ryan VanGorder of Colony, who placed second with a time of 16:12.8. Kenai’s Trent Semmens claimed third with a time of 16:31.7, Mason Wick of Colony took fourth (17:12.2) and SoHi’s Max Milliron placed fifth (17:20.3).

Prior to the start of the season, Soldotna coach Dan Harbison labeled Mucha as a great prospect.

On Saturday, she lived up to that expectation.

“She works really hard and has definitely put in the time. And, for her age, she has really good technique. We’re very pleased,” Harbison said. “It’s a good ego boost for her, first race out.”

Skyview coach Kent Peterson said he also believed Mucha could be successful.

“There’s a lot of girls that I think were expecting to come in in that spot,” he said. “So, for her to show where she is in the first day is pretty impressive.”

With a lack of snow through the month of November, Saturday was only Soldotna’s second time on trails featuring hills and inclines. Instead, they have been skiing on flat terrain and focusing on specific techniques.

It didn’t seem to make a difference, however.

“She’s a smart skier and she paced herself very well, which also, I think it says a lot about her,” Harbison said. “Being so young and able to think and to process while she’s out there, that’s a great thing for someone so young.”

Having never won a skiing race in high school, Skyview’s Romig still entered the opener with lofty expectations.

“I wanted to go out there and give it my best shot. Just pull and just really go at it,” he said. “You should always race to win. Just go out there and give it your best shot and plan on winning and you should do your best.”

Like most other skiers, not having much practice on skis and actual snow took its toll. Romig, however, was physically prepared.

“I did a lot training,” he explained. “I knew that I was physically ready. Just more or less the technique side of it. It’s still a little questionable but I think everyone was in the same shoes.”

His coach also recognized the effort he put forth.

“He trained really hard over the summer,” Peterson said. “He decided that skiing’s something he really wants to do. And he put in a lot of time and a lot of endurance training and that shows that it’s paid off and comes into the season ready to go. Rather than having to come into the season and get trained and then start having the results.”

Semmens, who was the first-place finisher in the 11th grade class, said it was more difficult skiing without the tracks, but figured it would be more difficult than it was.

“It was kind of of soft, but it’s better than no snow,” he said. “We weren’t racing this time last year, I don’t think. So it’s nice to have this.”

The Kardinals were without seniors Christopher Hall and captain Kirk Louthan, both of whom were taking their SATs during the race.

“It’s kind of a bummer,” Semmens said of his teammates not competing. “It’s cool to be here as a team and it’s good to see where they are and everything and how much we’ve improved since last year, ‘cause we had some serious training this summer.”

The recent snowfall made conditions a lot better than they would have been without it, said Milliron, who finished third amongst the seniors. He still would have preferred classical tracks.

“We didn’t have tracks, which does make it quite a bit faster. But it was still all right,” he said. “Everybody on the peninsula would have definitely benefited from some earlier snow.”

Following the competition, many racers felt they needed to improve on their techniques, which is reasonable, considering it was the first race of the year.


Skyview's Erick Romig crests the final hill into the finish chute to win the boys race in 15:39.3.

“It was hard not having much practice. Out of style basically,” said Klaar, who claimed she passed about five or six other skiers en route to her second-place finish amongst seniors. “I need to work on technique. It was hard not having any set tracks.

“It was hard to keep everything straight and keep your form up while trying to go fast,” she added.

Peterson admitted there was still a bit of dirt showing along the trail and said tracks would certainly have made things easier.

“It’s a little bit harder,” he said of classical skiing without tracks, “but it’s still something they should all be capable of.”

Matthew Carroll can be reached at matthew.carroll



At Tsalteshi Trails


Individual five-kilometer classical results


1. Erick Romig, Sky, 15:59.3; 2. Ryan VanGorder, Col, 16:12.8; 3. Max Milliron, Sol, 17:30.3; 4.Brian Senta, Pal, 17:55; 5. Alex Munger, Hom, 18:00.3.

Other Peninsula Finishers

6. DC Reid, Ken, 18:00.5; 8. Kelly Skipwith, Sky, 18:12.9; 9. Caleb Gordon, Sol, 18:50; 10. Harley Maxson, Sky, 19:07.4; 13. Ben Phillips, Ken, 20:55.6; 14. Jordan Chilson, Sol, 21:13.2; 15. Jacob Franzmann, Sol, 21:46.1; 16. Brad Denesen, Ken, 24:57.9; 18. Ben Wild, Sky, 27:09.9.


1. Trent Semmens, Ken, 16:31.7; 2. Mason Wick, Col, 17:12.2; 3. Tommy Honer, Sky, 17:44.2; 4. Ryan Cunningham, Pal, 20:08.2; 5. Sean Boyden, Col, 21:50.9.

Other Peninsula Finishers

8. Anthony Silva, Sky, 22:38.1; 10. Quinn Stoops, Ken, 23:33.5.


1. Aaron Chase, Sol, 18:24.4; 2. Jordan Merkes, Sky, 18:47.4; 3. Jeff Ford, Col, 18:50.9; 4. Robert Wise, Col, 20:02.2; 5. Johnny Cook, Sky, 20:18.2.

Other Peninsula Finishers

6. Gabe Murray, Sol, 20:23; 7. Yuzhun Evanoff, Sky, 21:38.6; 8. Alex Sonnichsen, Ken, 22:42; 11. Keita Sugauo, Sol, 27:46.1.


Kenai's Trent Semmens kicks to a second-place finish on Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails.

M. Scott Moon


1. Anders Nyquist, Ken, 19:52.4; 2. Davis Dunlap, Pal, 20:40.9; 3. Hunter Jackinsky, Sky, 20:43.7; 4. Dylan Critchett, Hom, 21:20.3; 5. Dunnie Strickland, Pal, 21:53.5.

Other Peninsula Finishers

6. Ryan Sanders, Sol, 22:05.2; 7. Ryan McMaster, Sky, 22:31.1; 8. Stryker McLane, Sol, 22:52.4; 10. Justin Marsh, Sky, 24:13.6; 11. Zachary Truesdell, Sol, 24:17.2; 13. Matt Heminger, Sol, 26:32.3; 16. TJ Earll, Sol, 32:27.9.


Individual five-kilometer classical results


1. Kendra Merkes, Sky, 21:29.9; 2. Erika Klaar, Hom, 22:15.3; 3. Emily Dougherty, Col, 22:27.1 ; 4. Erin Skvorc, Col, 22:44.3; 5. Alina Rykaczewski, Hom, 22:46.7.

Other Peninsula Finishers

10. Mercedes Hughes, Ken, 30:20.9; 11.Carole Hanke, Sol, 30:33.1; 13. Brittany Boullette, Sky, 42:19.9.


1. Claire Laukitis, Hom, 22:40.2; 2. Becca Ford, Ken, 23:39.7; 3. Jessica Odegard, Pal, 23:41.5; 4. Dottie Hoople, Pal, 23:52.5; 5. Heather Kelahan, Col, 25:29.9.

Other Peninsula Finishers

6. TJ Pfaffe, Sky, 25:40.2; 7. Amanda Smith, Sol, 26:33.2; 8. Lindy Tikka, Sky, 30:17.7.


1. Mollie Watkins, Ken, 20:48.9; 2. Emma Laukitis, Hom, 22:29.6; 3. Rachel Wintz, Pal, 23:46; 4. Kiersten Dahms, Pal, 24:10.6; 5. Kristi Louthan, Ken, 25:01.6.

Other Peninsula Finishers

7. Janine Ray, IDEA, 26:01.4; 10. Maya Chay, Ken, 31:05.4.


1. Kailey Mucha, Sol, 20:21; 2. Maya Johnson, Ken, 23:20.8; 3. Kimberly Delfrate, Pal, 24:23.2; 4. Jasmine Clock, Sol, 24:41.4; 5. Amanda Delfrate, Pal, 26:02.4.

Other Peninsula Finishers

6. Dani Rehm, CIA, 26:53.9; 8. Deandra Latz, Ken, 27:52.6; 9. Emily Smola, Sol, 28:00.3.

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