Area skiers set for state meet

Area skiers set for state meet

The Kenai Peninsula’s ski teams will compete at the state ski meet at Kincaid Park in Anchorage from today to Saturday.

The meet begins today with interval start freestyle racing. The girls race 5 kilometers at 11 a.m., while the boys take on 7.5 kilometers at 1 p.m.

Friday, the game is classic technique in the mass start format. The boys go off for a 10-kilometer test at 11 a.m., while the girls race 7.5 kilometers at 1 p.m.

Individual titles are determined after Friday’s races, but Saturday wraps up the team competition with relay races. The girls do a 4-by-3-kilometer mixed technique relay at 11 a.m., while the boys do a 4-by-5-kilometer mixed technique relay at 1 p.m.

Division I and Division II, or big schools and small schools, prizes are up for grabs. All skiers race in one big race, then Division I and II awards are broken out afterward.

Soldotna is the lone Division I school from the peninsula, meaning the Stars have the tough task of battling against the big schools of Anchorage and Fairbanks for titles.

Senior Bradley Walters was SoHi’s top finisher at the Region III meet on Feb. 7 and 8, taking third place.

Walters said Saturday after the Kenai Peninsula Borough Nordic ski championships at Tsalteshi Trails that he was looking for a top 20 finish in both the individual races at state.

After crucial equipment malfunctions the past two years at state, Walters said he is ready to go out strong.

“This year is looking good for me,” said Walters, the fastest skater at boroughs. “I’m ready to achieve my goals if I can just ski clean.”

Homer, Kenai Central and Seward all compete at the Division II level, opening up championship possibilities.

The top peninsula girls finisher at the Region III meet was Homer senior Autumn Daigle. Daigle is a two-time state cross-country running champion. When asked about her season goals at the Kenai Klassic in late January, Daigle talked about a top-three finish in the region and a Division II title at state.

One down, one to go.

Peninsula teams also have Division II team title possibilities.

The Homer girls were the top Division II team at the region meet, while Kenai was second behind Grace Christian.

“As a team at state, we’re going to try and beat Grace Christian,” Kenai’s Tyler Hippchen said after the borough race. “We want to get a state title for the guys.”

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