The Skyview High School cross-country ski team put together a solid team effort to win the Nikiski Relays Saturday on the Nikiski Community Trails at Nikiski Middle-Senior High School.
"I like the team thing," said Skyview's Kyle Dudley, who anchored the winning squad. "(My teammates) had first place coming in, and I wasn't about to let them down. I gave it my all."
This year's race had a somewhat different format. Each relay team consisted of four skiers, each of whom completed a 5-kilometer classic leg.
However, each team was made up of two boys and two girls. A female member of the relay led off, a boy skied second, another girl skied the third leg, and a boy finished up.
Elisabeth Habermann skied the leadoff leg for Skyview and staked the Panthers to a sizable lead. Habermann's split time was 19 minutes, 43 seconds. Her time was 35 seconds ahead of Soldotna's Katie Franzmann and 1:07 ahead of Kenai's Synneva Hagen-Lillevik.
Kenai's Clay Nelson, at right, takes an unconventional approach to tagging Shauna Hall in the exchange zone Saturday during the Nikiski Relays.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Habermann said she initially wasn't sure she wanted to charge to the front of the pack.
"I was worried about tracks being drifted over, but I decided since it was a relay, I wanted to get as big a lead as possible," Habermann said.
The task of catching her first fell to Soldotna's Matthew Habermann Elisabeth's older brother.
"We tried to catch up," Matthew Habermann said.
Meanwhile, Skyview's Noah King was charged with holding the Stars and the rest of the field off, and Elisha Tarries skied third for the Panthers, maintaining the Skyview lead.
"Matthew (Habermann) for SoHi was pretty close, but (Elisabeth Habermann) had a great lead," King said. "I was just trying to ski my best. (The strategy was) just to ski as fast as you can. It was a pretty short race, so you go out hard and keep it up."
King ended up adding to his team's lead with a split of 17:45, 38 seconds faster than Matthew Habermann.
Tarries said she didn't feel like she was skiing her best, but was happy to have been able to keep her team out in front. Soldotna's Katy Pankoski was 35 seconds faster than Tarries on the third leg, entering the tag zone after a 20:47 leg, but by the time Dudley took the tag, Skyview's lead was still nearly 40 seconds. Soldotna anchor Ryan Walton was able to shave just two seconds off the Skyview lead as Dudley skied a very determined leg.
"It was kind of nice," Dudley said of the format. "We have a couple of high finishers from the guys side and the girls side, so we lucked out."
Soldotna did have the opportunity to show off its depth. While the team of Franzmann, Pankoski, Matthew Habermann and Walton skied to a runner-up finish, the B team of Heidi Keller, Stephen Olendorff, Tess Caswell and Max Milliron finished in fourth place after being in third place for much of the event. Soldotna's C team of Jenny Smola, Sean Twohy, Lauren Olendorff and Caleb Chase recorded the fifth-fastest time of the day.
Kenai's team of Hagen-Lillevik, Clay Nelson, Shauna Hall and Mike Kent took third overall, 4:46 behind Skyview. Kent, skiing the anchor leg, posted the fastest split of the day with his 16:44.
"For me, it was go all out," Kent said. "It was a little tricky at first deciding which wax to use because there was new snow coming down, but it was fast."
Seward's A team of Sarah Glaser, Chad Adams, Jolie Glaser and Matt Adams posted a sixth-place finish, and Homer's A team of Erika Klaar, Travis Hines, Kristen Vantrease and Morgan Jones had the seventh-fastest time of the day.
Saturday at Nikiski Community Trails
20-kilometer classic relay
1. Skyview A (Elisabeth Habermann, Noah King, Elisha Tarries, Kyle Dudley), 1 hour, 15 minutes, 52 seconds; 2. Soldotna A (Katie Franzmann, Matt Habermann, Katy Pankoski, Ryan Walton), 1:16:28; 3. Kenai A (Synneva Hagen-Lillevik, Clay Nelson, Shauna Hall, Mike Kent), 1:20:38; 4. Soldotna B (Heidi Keller, Stephen Olendorff, Tess Caswell, Max Milliron), 1:21:20; 5. Seward A (Sarah Glaser, Chad Adams, Jolie Glaser, Matt Adams), 1:22:34; 6. Soldotna C (Jenny Smola, Sean Twohy, Lauren Olendorff, Caleb Chase), 1:23:42; 7. Homer A (Erika Klaar, Travis Hines, Kristen Vantrease, Morgan Jones), 1:25:16; 8. Soldotna D (Ali Wykis, Lucas Thein, Brittany Osland, Ole Nyhuis), 1:27:55; 9. Kenai B (Kira Matiya, Christopher Hall, Jessica Summer, Kyle Latz), 1:28:21; 10. Skyview B (Kendra Merkes, Alex Rodgers, Tashina Wortham-Turnbull, Taylor Karnikis), 1:32:43; 11. Seward B (Heather Apperson, David Apperson, Katie Peck, Leif Bardarson), 1:34:19; 12. Mixed Guys (Kasey Aderhold (Homer), Mike Wicker (Nikiski), Chris Amen (Kenai), Rob Berkhahn (Skyview)), 1:34:51; 13. SoHi/Grace No. 1 (Sarah Martinez (Grace), Jordan Oleson (Soldotna), Colleen O'Neill (Grace), Jacob Franzmann (Soldotna), 1:37:07; 14. Kenai C (Rebekah Summer, Ben Phillips, Tasia Allen, DC Reid), 1:37:12; 15. Skyview C (Jaime Miller, Sam Kilfoyle, Ali Simpson, Simon Kleinert), 1:38:17; 16. Homer B (Samantha Halpin, Peter Sheppard, Monica Peters, Tad Martin), 1:38:50; 17. Skyview/Homer (Kenny Faust (Seward), Harley Maxson (Skyview), Sara Arsenault (Homer), Alex Cox (Skyview)), 1:39:14; 18. Nikiski A (Debbie Duggin, Lounsbury, Callie Ware, Aaron Bakk), 1:42:30; 19. SoHi/Grace No. 2 (Holly DeLand (Grace), Eddie French (Soldotna), Marie Bryce (Grace), Sam Caswell (Soldotna)), 1:49:28; 20. Kenai D (Cristina Harman, Andre Correa, Angelica Avila, Kirk Louthan), 1:50:06.
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