Charisma Watkins, of Soldotna, performs an open turn while swimming in the 100-yard butterfly at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Aug. 27, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Charisma Watkins, of Soldotna, performs an open turn while swimming in the 100-yard butterfly at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Aug. 27, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai girls, SoHi boys swim to victory at tri meet

The Kenai Central girls and Soldotna boys swim teams came out on top at a tri meet hosted at Kenai Central High School on Saturday.

For Kenai, SoHi and Seward, this weekend’s competition was the first of the season. For that reason, it was fairly laid back. The meet moved at a brisk pace, with only one heat for all but the most popular freestyle swims.

The three teams were more concerned with getting their swimmers out and putting some experience under their belts as they already look forward to the championship meets at the end of the season.

Seward took third place in both the boys and girls competitions, though the Seward boys managed to remain competitive even with only six swimmers.

Seward head coach Solomon D’ Amico said the team is “just trying to do the best we can, punch above our weight, which I think we do quite well.”

The Seward swim team is small, and they made a very strong showing despite having relatively few swimmers to earn points. Especially for the girls, only two are on the team, putting the relays entirely off the table.

D’ Amico is more focused on personal times for his swimmers, hoping to see as many as possible make appearances at state.

Strong performers for the Seahawks this weekend included from the Ambrosiani brothers — Bengimin and Nickolas — as well as Paxton Hill, Iver Gates and Esme Wilder.

The boys team scores were separated by only 23 points, with the Soldotna Stars leading at 98, the Kards close on their heels with 90, and the Seahawks holding the last spot with 75.

Kenai head coach Will Hubler said his team got a slightly late start to practice, with locker room renovations delaying the start of the season, but the Kardinals are shaping up well.

“I’m just proud of them,” Hubler said. “They’re looking good. We’ll just keep working on it through the season and fix our stuff as we go; fix our strokes and fix our swimming.”

Hubler said they have a lot of new freshmen, and that the tri meet was a good experience for them. Some of these freshmen come from pretty significant club team backgrounds, like James Duffield and Trae Pitsch, who are far from green in the pool.

The Kenai team has a lot of experienced talent returning as well, with Hubler naming Samuel Anderson and Ethan Berga as strong seniors, as well as David Price and Ben Meritt as likely contenders for a state appearance for the boys.

On the girls side, Hubler has another string of familiar faces who have been making appearances for the team for years. Madison McDonald, Sierra Hershberger, Eden Alioto, Maria Anderson and Michelle Duffield drove performances as the girls team from the Kardinals locked in the first-place finish at home this weekend.

The girls team scores were more spread out than the boys. Seward’s two swimmers managed to put nine points on the board. SoHi had 79, while Kenai had a dominant 131.

SoHi head coach Luke Herman said the Stars have been hard at work the first three weeks of the season, and that the tri meet was a good first showing for the team.

Herman also reported a solid influx of freshmen this year.

“They’re taking to it well and working hard. They don’t seem too freaked out by everything,” he said.

A handful of boys and girls from SoHi will likely be in contention for state appearances later this year, Herman said. Some strong performers from the team this weekend include Heidi Snyder, Charisma Watkins and Tirzah Frederickson on the girls side, as well as Nikita Monyahan, Max Reese and Enoch Frederickson, who drove point scoring for the boys first-place finish.

Herman, like Hubler and D’ Amico, has his eyes trained on the horizon.

“I think we can only go up,” he said. “I’m really proud of them and I’m happy to keep going through the season with them.”

SoHi will appear next in Kodiak next weekend. Kenai will be back in competition on Sept. 10 in Homer.

Kenai tri meet

Saturday at Kenai Central


Team scores: 1. Kenai, 131; 2. Soldotna, 79; 3. Seward, 9.

200 Yard Medley Relay – 1. KCHS-A (Anderson, McDonald, Duffield, Hershberger), 2 minutes, 11.68 seconds; 2. KCHS-B 2:20.57

200 Yard Freestyle – 1. Heidi Snyder, Sol, 2:15.56; 2. Zoe Burns, Sol, 2:23.39; 3. Eden Alioto, Ken, 2:28.75; 4. Elizabeth Siegersma, Ken, 2:39.92; 5. Audrey McDonald, Ken, 2:56.00

200 Yard IM – 1. Charisma Watkins, Sol, 2:31.47; 2. Tirzah Frederickson, Sol, 2:33.29; 3. Abigail Price, Ken, 2:41.99; 4. Maria Anderson, Ken 2:43.45

50 Yard Freestyle – 1. Sierra Hershberger, Ken, 26.68; 2. Esme Wilder, Sew, 29.63; 3. Michelle Duffield, Ken 30.76; 4. Luthien Collver, Sol, 31.58; 5. Jessica Wilcox, Sol, 34.27; 6. Caitlyn Martin, Ken, 36.17

1 meter Diving – 1. Angelina Chavarria, Sol, 76.70

100 Yard Butterfly – 1. Charisma Watkins, Sol, 1:14.35

100 Yard Freestyle – 1. Tirzah Frederickson, Sol, 1:03.81; 2. Abigail Price, Ken, 1:04.59; 3. Elizabeth Siegersma, Ken, 1:11.04; 4. Luthien Collver, Sol, 1:12.07; 5. Jessica Wilcox, Sol, 1:18.14; 6. Caitlyn Martin, Ken, 1:24.14

500 Yard Freestyle – 1. Madison McDonald, Ken, 6:20.86; 2. Eden Alioto, Ken, 6:28.43; 3. Michelle Duffield, Ken, 6:57.63

200 Yard Freestyle Relay – 1. Soldotna (Snyder, Frederickson, Burns, Watkins), 1:53.22; 2. KCHS-A, 1:55.54; 3. KCHS-B, 2:23.61

100 Yard Backstroke – 1. Heidi Snyder, Sol, 1:13.09; 2. Maria Anderson, Ken, 1:14.53; 3. Esme Wilder, Sew, 1:17.53; 4. Zoe Burns, Sol, 1:18.91; 5. Meriedi Morrison, Ken, 1:20.07

100 Yard Breaststroke – 1. Madison McDonald, Ken, 1:24.46, 2. Sierra Hershberger, Ken, 1:26.47, 3. Audrey McDonald, Ken, 1:29.52

400 Yard Freestyle Relay – 1. KCHS (Alioto, Price, Siegersma, Anderson), 3:59.84


Team scores: 1. Soldotna, 98; 2. Kenai, 90; 3. Seward. 75.

200 Yard Medley Relay – 1. KCHS-A (Anderson, Price, Berga, Merritt), 1 minute, 49.22 seconds; 2. Seward, 1:51.03; 3. Soldotna, 1:52.03; 4. KCHS-B, 2:20.81

200 Yard Freestyle – 1. Samuel Anderson, Ken, 1:58.75; 2. Paxton Hill, Sew, 2:03.79, 3. Michael Davidson, Sol, 2:08.73; 4. James Duffield, Ken, 2:27.46; 5. Jonathan White, Sol, 2:31.32; 6. Jason Johnson, Ken, 2:35.05

200 Yard IM – 1. Nikita Monyahan, Sol, 2:11.73; 2. Max Reese, Sol, 2:16.48; 3. Ethan Berga, Ken, 2:21.70; 4. Benjamin Merritt, Ken, 2:23.24; 5. Oliver Trobaugh, Sew, 2:51.52

50 Yard Freestyle – Nickolas Ambrosiani, Sew, 23.79; 2. Iver Gates, Sew, 24.96; 3. David Price, Ken, 25.07; 4. Benn Abel, Sol, 25.90; 5. Derrick Jones, Sol, 26.01; 6. Gavin Jones, Sol, 28.61

1 meter Diving – 1. Derrick Jones, Sol, 173.70

100 Yard Butterfly – 1. Paxton Hill, Sew, 56.45; 2. Nikita Monyahan, Sol, 58.70; 3. Ethan Berga, Ken, 1:00.70; 4. Benjamin Merritt, Ken, 1:01.72

100 Yard Freestyle – 1. Bengimin Ambrosiani, Sew, 53.34; 2. Iver Gates, Sew, 55.94; 3. Michael Davidson, Sol, 57.00; 4. James Duffield, Ken, 1:04.24; 5. Gavin Jones, Sol, 1:06.69, 6. Jonathan White, Sol, 1:08.36

500 Yard Freestyle – 1. Enoch Frederickson, Sol, 5:55.66; 2. Benn Abel, Sol, 6:30.42; 3. Oliver Trobaugh, Sew, 7:02.45

200 Yard Freestyle Relay – 1. Soldotna (Frederickson, Jones, Jones, White), 1:52.46; 2. KCHS, 1:57.69

100 Yard Backstroke – 1. Samuel Anderson, Ken, 57.36; 2. Bengimin Ambrosiani, Sew, 1:01.64, 3. Nickolas Ambrosiani, Sew, 1:02.21; 4. Jason Johnson, Ken, 1:24.05; 5. Joeseph Holt, Sol, 1:45.49

100 Yard Breaststroke – 1. Max Reese, Sol, 1:07.90; 2. David Price, Ken, 1:07.92; 3. Enoch Frederickson, Sol, 1:15.69; 4. Trae Pitsch, Ken, 1:30.17; 5. Cavan Swanson, Ken. 1:30.70

400 Yard Freestyle Relay – 1. Seward (Ambrosiani, Gates, Ambrosiani, Hill). 3:35.89; 2. KCHS, 3:41.35; 3. Soldotna-A, 3:44.77; 4. Soldotna-B, 4:20.85

Paxton Hill, of Seward, finishes the 100-yard butterfly at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Aug. 27, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Paxton Hill, of Seward, finishes the 100-yard butterfly at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Aug. 27, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Samuel Anderson, of Kenai, competes in the 100-yard backstroke at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Aug. 27, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Samuel Anderson, of Kenai, competes in the 100-yard backstroke at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska, on Aug. 27, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

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