Kenai, SoHi ski teams dominate Region III meet

Kenai, SoHi ski teams dominate Region III meet

The Kenai Central ski teams swept the competition at the Region III cross-country ski championships held Friday and Saturday at the Government Peak trails near Palmer.

The Kenai girls topped Soldotna in a Peninsula 1-2 finish in the team standings with a combined time of 1 hour, 59 minutes, 22 seconds, which beat SoHi by over six minutes. On the boys side, the Kardinals won with a combined time of 2:10:55, which just edged the Colony Knights by 1:26. The Stars boys team finished fourth in the team results.

Kenai senior Travis Cooper secured the boys region skimeister title by a narrow 18 seconds over Grace Christian’s Trent Fritzel. Cooper won Friday’s 5-kilometer classic race with a time of 12 minutes, 22 seconds, over Tracen Knopp of Colony, then held on in Saturday’s 7.5K freestyle race to claim the overall win. Cooper took second on Saturday, 12 seconds behind winner Fritzel.

Kenai coach Brad Nyquist said Cooper claiming the overall win was a big moment for a skier that has worked for the moment for quite some time.

“He’s put in four years of hard work, and he’s had some teammates to help him too,” Nyquist said. “It’s just a great dynamic to have on our team. It’s been good for Travis, he’s excited to reach this point.

“To see him reach the pinnacle of his racing career so far, it’s pretty exciting for him. He’s very goal-oriented, and this was one of his goals.”

Karl Danielson and Jordan Theisen joined Cooper in the top-10 overall standings to give Kenai the team title. Levi Michael earned a fifth-place finish as Soldotna’s highest boys finisher.

Soldotna senior Sadie Fox claimed the region skimeister title for a second straight year with a two-day combined time of 27 minutes, 52 seconds, although she had company in the form of Kenai freshmen Addison Gibson and Riana Boonstra. Gibson took second, 17 seconds behind Fox, and Boonstra took third, 29 seconds adrift of Fox.

Gibson and Boonstra finished 1-2, respectively, in Saturday’s 5K freestyle race, ahead of Fox in third. Gibson’s winning time was 12:59, and Boonstra was 10 seconds behind. Alex Bergholtz joined Gibson and Boonstra in the top five to give Kenai the team title.

“That’s what you strive for,” Nyquist said. “To reach that in this point in the season … it was just a great team effort.”

Fox finished a further 10 seconds behind, but it was enough to take the overall crown. Fox has been recovering from a recent illness that sidelined her during the previous week’s borough meet, but Soldotna coach Dan Harbison said he believes she is nearly back to peak form, and just in time for next week’s climactic state meet.

“Sadie’s been working really hard for that, and she pushed through to capture the skimeister,” Harbison said. “The Kenai girls really put in a great performance and challenged Sadie today.

“It was just nice to see the Peninsula do well. There are some strong skiers coming up, so they got a chance to shine a little today. Everyone on the Peninsula should be proud.”

Hannah Pothast finished fourth — 1:03 behind SoHi teammate Fox — in Saturday’s girls race that left her sixth in the overall standings.

Both coaches praised the work done by the Colony ski team, which was dealt with a few days of wind and warm weather that put the quality of the trails at risk.

However, Nyquist said he believes the race was won on the hills.

“They had a good steady tempo going up the hills,” Nyquist said about his team. “And the downhills were really fast. The kids just were ready to go.”


Region III ski championships

Friday, Saturday at Government Peak


Team scores: 1. Kenai, 2 hours, 10 minutes, 55 seconds; 2. Colony, 2:12:21; 3. Grace, 2:14:10; 4. Soldotna, 2:20:23; 5. Palmer, 2:26:56; 6. Homer, 2:29:54.

Combined two-day times

1. Travis Cooper, Ken, 30:47; 2. Trent Fritzel, Gra, 31:05; 3. Tracen Knopp, Col, 31:08; 4. Karl Danielson, Ken, 32:33; 5. Levi Michael, Sol, 32:57; 6. Peterson-Thompson, Col, 33:07; 7. Jordan Theisen, Ken, 33:16; 8. John Cosgrove, Gra, 33:20; 9. Nicholas Harrison, Col, 33:48; 10. Josiah Alverts, Pal, 33:58.

Other Peninsula finishers

12. James Butler, Ken, 34:18; 15. Koby Vinson, Sol, 35:36; 17. Jacob Davis, Hom, 35:41; 20. Tanner Best, Sol, 36:04; 21. Aaron Swedberg, Sol, 36:08; 22. Ghen Sasakura, Hom, 36:11; 23. Daniel Shuler, Sol, 36:20; 25. Addison Downing, Sol, 37:13; 26. Hoxie Parks, Hom, 37:54; 29. Sterling Stasak, Sol, 38:47; 34. Tadhg Scholz, Hom, 40:07; 36. Eric Kempf, Ken, 42:13.

Top 10 from Friday’s 5K classic

1. Travis Cooper, Ken, 12:22; 2. Tracen Knopp, Col, 12:40; 3. Trent Fritzel, Gra, 12:50; 4. Karl Danielson, Ken, 13:19; 5. Levi Michael, Sol, 13:25; 6. John Cosgrave, Gra, 13:30; 7. Nicholas Harrison, Col, 13:38; 8. Peterson-Thompson, Col, 13:50; 9. Garrett Birch, Col, 13:55; 10. Colbe Hand, Pal, 13:57.

Top 10 from Saturday’s 7.5K freestyle

1. Trent Fritzel, Gra, 18:13; 2. Travis Cooper, Ken, 18:25; 3. Tracen Knopp, Col, 18:27; 4. Jordan Theisen, Ken, 19:13; 5. Karl Danielson, Ken, 19:14; 6. Peterson-Thompson, Col, 19:1; 7. Josiah Alverts, Pal, 19:24; 8. Levi Michael, Sol, 19:31; 9. John Cosgrave, Gra, 19:50; 10. James Butler, Ken, 20:08.


Team scores: 1. Kenai, 1:59:22; 2. Soldotna, 2:05:34; 3. Colony, 2:05:37; 4. Palmer, 2:12:14; 5. Homer, 2:13:03; 6. Grace, 2:27:10.

Combined two-day times

1. Sadie Fox, Sol, 27:52; 2. Addison Gibson, Ken, 28:09; 3. Riana Boonstra, Ken, 28:21; 4. Greta Jenkins, Col, 30:12; 5. Alex Bergholtz, Ken, 30:51; 6. Hannah Pothast, Sol, 31:01; 7. Jordyn Block, Col, 31:08; 8. Rya Berrigan, Pal, 31:14; 9. Ruby Woodings, Pal, 31:37; 10. Aspen Daigle, Hom, 31:41.

Other Peninsula finishers

13. Katie Cooper, Ken, 32:01; 17. Rachel Ellert, Hom, 32:57; 18. Sarah Wolf, Hom, 33:01; 19. Emily Werner, Sol, 33:01; 21. Ruby Lindquist, Sew, 33:16; 22. Olivia Hutchings, Sol, 33:47; 23. Mikaela Salzetti, Ken, 34:01; 24. Kellie Arthur, Sol, 34:26; 25. Ithaca Bergholtz, Ken, 34:28; 28. Audrey Russell, Hom, 35:24; 31. Mieka Chythlook, Sol, 35:49; 33. Mariah VanTrease, Hom, 36:02; 37. Sage Link, Sol, 39:38.

Top 10 from Friday’s 5K classic

1. Sadie Fox, Sol, 14:32; 2. Addison Gibson, Ken, 15:09; 3. Riana Boonstra, Ken, 15:11; 4. Greta Jenkins, Col, 15:44; 5. Jordyn Block, Col, 16:00; 6. Alex Bergholtz, Ken, 16:19; 7. Hannah Pothast, Sol, 16:38; 8. Rya Berrigan, Pal, 16:40; 9. Lisbeth Olsen, Col, 17:01; 10. Aspen Daigle, Hom, 17:01.

Top 10 from Saturday 5K freestyle

1. Addison Gibson, Ken, 12:59; 2. Riana Boonstra, Ken, 13:09; 3. Sadie Fox, Sol, 13:19; 4. Hannah Pothast, Sol, 14:22; 5. Greta Jenkins, Col, 14:27; 6. Alex Bergholtz, Ken, 14:30; 7. Ruby Woodings, Pal, 14:32; 8. Rya Berrigan, Pal, 14:33; 9. Stephanie Allen, Val, 14:34; 10. Katie Cooper, Ken, 14:35.

Kenai, SoHi ski teams dominate Region III meet

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