Kenai Central senior Karl Danielson toes the finish line to win the boys varsity race Saturday afternoon at the Region III skiing championships at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central senior Karl Danielson toes the finish line to win the boys varsity race Saturday afternoon at the Region III skiing championships at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Hanestad, Danielson claim Region III ski crowns

Addison Gibson has routinely been near the top of her sport, but still has no Region III cross-country ski title to show for it.

John-Mark Pothast was trying to knock off the top boys skier of the year, Karl Danielson, but stumbled out of the blocks with a fall.

And, by the end of the day Saturday, the Kenai Peninsula kept up a remarkable streak.

The Region III cross-country ski championships that played out Friday and Saturday at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna packed a punch, and through it all, the Kenai Central girls and Soldotna boys reigned supreme.

The Kardinal girls bested runner-up Colony by 1 minute, 52 seconds, over two days to regain the top spot in the team race, one year after the Knights knocked them off. The team championship was Kenai’s third in four years.

On the boys side, SoHi won its third Region III team title in a row, beating second-place Palmer by a whopping 11:49.

The success continues a run of 19 straight years, dating back to 2000, of a peninsula ski team winning either a girls or boys team crown.

Annika Hanestad of Colony won the girls race over Gibson of Kenai. It was the second straight girls region crown for Hanestad.

“My goal was just to get out front and break away,” Hanestad said. “I didn’t want Addy or Riana (Boonstra) catching my draft.”

Hanestad finished the five-kilometer course in 14:46, beating Gibson by 10 seconds, while Kardinals teammate Riana Boonstra finished third, 44 seconds behind Hanestad.

Gibson raced to her third runner-up finish in four years at the Region III meet, leaving her without a region ski crown in her four-year career.

“I’m happy with my race,” Gibson said after Saturday’s finish.

Hanestad claimed the two-day individual title with a combined 29:16, with Gibson another 33 seconds adrift.

For now, Gibson will have to live with another near miss. Gibson finished second to Soldotna’s Sadie Fox as a freshman in 2015 and was second to teammate Riana Boonstra in 2016, but missed last year’s meet.

After finishing second to Hanestad in Friday’s freestyle race, Gibson lined up next to her Colony rival on Saturday, a mass-start event that lined racers up in rows according to their Friday finish.

The two rivals burst from the starting line and raced up Collin’s Climb nose to tail. Gibson said her goal was to keep Hanestad in her sights, which she did over nearly the entire five-kilometer course.

“It was to not let her get away,” Gibson said. “I had good kick up the hills, but then she would get away on the flats when she was double-poling.”

The boys race saw Danielson skip away in the late kilometers, but not before Pothast ran into trouble. Danielson prevailed by 35 seconds over Pothast, helping him to take the overall region title by 31 seconds. Pothast won Friday’s skate-style race by three seconds over his Kenai rival.

Pothast bit the snow just seconds into the race when his classic skis failed to budge on his first step into the tracks. Pothast quickly rose to his feet and continued on, but had already lost several meters to Danielson.

“The wax was iced up on my ski,” Pothast explained. “It happens every now and then, you just got to brush it off and keep going.”

Pothast said once the clump of snow that had stuck to the bottom of his ski cleared itself, he was able to find his groove on the course still in the top 10, but Danielson, a traditionally strong classic skier, couldn’t be caught.

The boys 7.5-kilometer course included a hair-raising run down the Bear loop, which had been slicked up with ice in recent days, but with Danielson getting away, Pothast had to take some chances.

“It was a little icy on bits of it, but I was able to rest up for the Goat (uphill),” he said.

Danielson’s victory marked his second straight Region III boys title, and said he knew he had the speed in his classic skis to win,

“My plan was to take it easy at the start,” Danielson said. “But (Pothast) fell at the beginning, so I went for it.”

Plus, Danielson had a trick up his sleeve by staying out of the classic tracks. By doing so, Danielson said he was able to find more speed, even though his skis didn’t enjoy the benefit of having the tracks to guide them.

“My kick was good, but he was faster on the flats,” Danielson said.

Luke Fritzel of Grace Christian followed behind in third, while SoHi skier Jeremy Kupferschmid took fourth.

Region III ski championships

at Tsalteshi Trails

GIRLS

Team results — 1. Kenai Central, 2:09:48; 2. Colony, 2:11:40; 3. Soldotna, 2:14:20; 4. Homer, 2:14:39; 5. Grace Christian, 2:23:42; 6. Palmer, 2:27:12.

Individual Skimeister (combined times) — 1. Annika Hanestad, Colony, 29:16; 2. Addison Gibson, Kenai, 29:49; 3. Riana Boonstra, Kenai, 30:51; 4. Ruby Lindquist, Seward, 31:21; 5. Alyson Kopsack, Colony, 32:17; 6. Katia Holmes, Homer, 32:29; 7. Autumn Daigle, Homer, 32:44; 8. Kellie Arthur, Soldotna, 32:48; 9. Sonora Martin, Soldotna, 32:51.

Friday 5K freestyle — 1. Annika Hanestad, Colony, 14:30; 2. Addison Gibson, Kenai, 14:53; 3. Ruby Lindquist, Seward, 15:00; 4. Riana Boonstra, Kenai, 15:20; 5. Alyson Kopsack, Colony, 15:57; 6. Sonora Martin, Soldotna, 15:59; 7. Kellie Arthur, Soldotna, 16:11; 8. Katia Holmes, Homer, 16:12; 9. Autumn Daigle, Homer, 16:14; 10. Sadie Lindquist, Seward, 16:15; 11. Maria Salzetti, Kenai, 16:25; 12. Hannah Delker, Soldotna, 16:50; 13. Zoe Stonorov, Homer, 16:59; 14. Cameron Blackwell, Soldotna, 16:59; 15. Kate Bering, Homer, 17:02; 16. Isabella Dammeyer, Soldotna, 17:04; 17. Katie Delker, Soldotna, 17:05; 18. Aila Berrigan, Palmer, 17:06; 19. Nicole Bell, Colony, 17:10; 20. Sofija Spaic, Colony, 17:23; 21. Anya Danielson, Kenai, 17:24; 22. Abigail Beveridge, Grace, 17:28; 23. Kylee Deering, Colony, 17:29; 24. Amy Baxter, Palmer, 17:30; 25. Mazzy Jackson, Grace, 17:42; 26. Erika Arthur, Soldotna, 17:43; 27. Anna McLaughlin, Grace, 17:50; 28. Dareena Doyle, Kenai, 18:14; 29. Grace Annett, Grace, 18:23; 30. Laura Ellis, Grace, 18:28; 31. Sophie Wright, Palmer, 18:29; 32. Emmalee Moore, Seward, 18:32; 33. Mickinzie Ticknor, Kenai, 18:33; 34. Lydia Bushey, Colony, 18:57; 35. Brita Restad, Homer, 19:17; 36. Zoe Copp, Palmer, 19:19; 37. Grace Miller, Palmer, 19:22; 38. Valerie DeMarzo, Grace, 19:26; 39. Ocean Tennant, Palmer, 19:31; 40. Elianna Kniegge, Grace, 19:49; 41. Ithaca Bergholtz, Kenai, 20:35; 42. Brittyn Werner, Palmer, 20:44.

Saturday 5K classic — 1. Annika Hanestad, Colony, 14:46; 2. Addison Gibson, Kenai, 14:56; 3. Riana Boonstra, Kenai, 15:31; 4. Katia Holmes, Homer, 16:16; 5. Alyson Kopsack, Colony, 16:19; 6. Ruby Lindquist, Seward, 16:20; 7. Autumn Daigle, Homer, 16:30; 8. Kellie Arthur, Soldotna, 16:37; 9. Sonora Martin, Soldotna, 16:51; 10. Laura Ellis, Grace, 17:21; 11. Sofija Spaic, Colony, 17:21; 12. Cameron Blackwell, Soldotna, 17:21; 13. Hannah Delker, Soldotna, 17:29; 14. Ithaca Bergholtz, Kenai, 17:31; 15. Kate Bering, Homer, 17:39; 16. Zoe Stonorov, Homer, 17:43; 17. Katie Delker, Soldotna, 17:44; 18. Marie Salzetti, Kenai, 17:44; 19. Sophie Wright, Palmer, 17:49; 20. Mickinzie Ticknor, Kenai, 17:50; 21. Abigail Beveridge, Grace, 17:53; 22. Amy Baxter, Palmer, 18:06; 23. Mazzy Jackson, Grace, 18:09; 24. Nicole Bell, Colony, 18:11; 25. Erika Arthur, Soldotna, 18:26; 26. Isabella Dammeyer, Soldotna, 18:31; 27. Anya Danielson, Kenai, 18:35; 28. Brita Restad, Homer, 18:49; 29. Grace Annett, Grace, 18:53; 30. Kylee Deering, Colony, 18:54; 31. Dareena Doyle, Kenai, 19:06; 32. Ocean Tennant, Palmer, 19:22; 33. Lydia Bushey, Colony, 19:24; 34. Zoe Copp, Palmer, 19:27; 35. Valerie DeMarzo, Grace, 19:41; 36. Emmalee Moore, Seward, 19:43; 37. Elianna Kniegge, Grace, 20:06; 38. Anna McLaughlin, Grace, 20:08; 39. Grace Miller, Palmer, 21:36.

BOYS

Team results — 1. Soldotna, 2:17:58; 2. Palmer, 2:29:47; 3. Grace, 2:29:25; 4. Colony, 2:34:24; 5. Homer, 2:34:43; 6. Kenai, 2:39:31.

Individual Skimeister (combined times) — 1. Karl Danielson, Kenai, 32:51; 2. John-Mark Pothast, Soldotna, 33:22; 3. Luke Fritzel, Grace, 33:56; 4. Jeremy Kupferschmid, 34:18; 5. Joseph Walling, Palmer, 34:40; 6. Joshua Shuler, Soldotna, 34:55; 7. Jacob Davis, Homer, 35:17; 8. Bradley Walters, Soldotna, 35:24; 9. Jack Harris, Soldotna, 35:40; 10. Denver Waclawski, Homer, 36:51.

Friday 5K freestyle — 1. John-Mark Pothast, Soldotna, 13:03; 2. Karl Danielson, Kenai, 13:07; 3. Luke Fritzel, Grace, 13:15; 4. Joshua Shuler, Soldotna, 13:21; 5. Jeremy Kupferschmid, Soldotna, 13:33; 6. Joseph Walling, Palmer, 13:37; 7. Bradley Walters, Soldotna, 13:43; 8. Jacob Davis, Homer, 13:48; 9. Jack Harris, Soldotna, 14:03; 10. Denver Waclawski, Homer, 14:23; 11. Jode Sparks, Soldotna, 14:27; 12. Aiden Gannon, Grace, 14:34; 13. Jeremy Houston, Palmer, 14:42; 14. Cole Fritzel, Grace, 14:48; 15. Kaj Taylor, Palmer, 14:53; 16. Elic Cowan, Colony, 14:54; 17. Ben Swanson, Valdez, 14:57; 18. Nathan Kristich, Colony, 15:02; 19. Lee Jaxson, Palmer, 15:03; 20. Avi Johnson, Grace, 15:14; 21. Joseph Dammeyer, Soldotna, 15:18; 22. Calum Colver, Colony, 15:25; 23. Simeon Ramirez, Colony, 15:28; 24. Joshua Taylor, Colony, 15:29; 25. Josh Foster, Kenai, 15:44; 26. Tristan Summers, Kenai, 15:48; 27. Billy Morrow, Kenai, 15:48; 28. Garrett Streit, Colony, 15:50; 29. Will Wallace, Grace, 15:51; 30. Gideon Cullver, Kenai, 16:02; 31. Josh Wisner, Homer, 16:14; 32. Ben Kettle, Homer, 16:16; 33. Egor Sturdy, Seward, 16:27; 34. Erik Jones, Grace, 16:32; 35. Manveer Singh, Palmer, 16:33; 36. Mathew Grzybows, Kenai, 17:28; 37. Andy Super, Homer, 17:45; 38. Josten Carlson, Valdez, 17:49.

Saturday 7.5K classic — 1. Karl Danielson, Kenai, 19:44; 2. John-Mark Pothast, Soldotna, 20:19; 3. Luke Fritzel, Grace, 20:40; 4. Jeremy Kupferschmid, Soldotna, 20:44; 5. Joseph Walling, Palmer, 21:03; 6. Jacob Davis, Homer, 21:28; 7. Joshua Shuler, Soldotna, 21:33; 8. Jack Harris, Soldotna, 21:37; 9. Bradley Walters, Soldotna, 21:40; 10. Denver Waclawski, Homer, 22:27; 11. Jode Sparks, Soldotna, 22:36; 12. Jeremy Houston, Palmer, 22:46; 13. Kaj Taylor, Palmer, 23:12; 14. Aiden Gannon, Grace, 23:19; 15. Nathan Kristich, Colony, 23:23; 16. Cole Fritzel, Grace, 23:30; 17. Elic Cowan, Colony, 23:52; 18. Erik Jones, Grace, 24:02; 19. Joshua Taylor, Colony, 24:04; 20. Ben Swanson, Valdez, 24:06; 21. Caleb Rauch, Homer, 24:13; 22. Lee Jaxson, Palmer, 24:27; 23. Manvee Singh, Palmer, 24:54; 24. Will Wallace, Grace, 24:57; 25. Calum Colver, Colony, 25:12; 26. Simeon Ramirez, Colony, 25:14; 27. Joseph Dammeyer, Soldotna, 25:16; 28. Garrett Streit, Colony, 25:23; 29. Egor Sturdy, Seward, 25:41; 30. Ben Kettle, Homer, 25:50; 31. Josh Wisner, Homer, 25:53; 32. Josh Foster, Kenai, 26:06; 33. Tristan Summers, Kenai, 26:22; 34. Gideon Cullver, Kenai, 26:48; 35. Billy Morrow, Kenai, 27:02; 36. Mathew Grzybowski, Kenai, 28:21; 37. Josten Carlson, Valdez, 28:52; 38. Andy Super, Homer, 30:50.

Joseph Dammeyer (221) of Soldotna keeps pace with Josh Foster of Kenai (225) and Seward’s Egor Sturdy (233) in the boys race Saturday afternoon at the Region III skiing championships at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Joseph Dammeyer (221) of Soldotna keeps pace with Josh Foster of Kenai (225) and Seward’s Egor Sturdy (233) in the boys race Saturday afternoon at the Region III skiing championships at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s John-Mark Pothast (left) trails race leader Karl Danielson of Kenai (foreground) in the boys race Saturday afternoon at the Region III skiing championships at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s John-Mark Pothast (left) trails race leader Karl Danielson of Kenai (foreground) in the boys race Saturday afternoon at the Region III skiing championships at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Cameron Blackwell of Soldotna (left) loses control on a late downhill Saturday afternoon in the girls race at the Region III skiing championships at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Cameron Blackwell of Soldotna (left) loses control on a late downhill Saturday afternoon in the girls race at the Region III skiing championships at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central racer Addison Gibson works her way down the final hill of the girls race Saturday afternoon at the Region III skiing championships at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central racer Addison Gibson works her way down the final hill of the girls race Saturday afternoon at the Region III skiing championships at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Addison Gibson (102) leads the girls field up an early hill Saturday afternoon at the Region III skiing championships at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Addison Gibson (102) leads the girls field up an early hill Saturday afternoon at the Region III skiing championships at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

Hanestad, Danielson claim Region III ski crowns

Kenai Central’s Addison Gibson (102) leads the girls field up an early hill Saturday afternoon at the Region III skiing championships at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)

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