Day one of the Alaska state nordic ski championships kicked off Thursday with classic interval-start races at the Birch Hill Ski Area in Fairbanks.
West Anchorage led a close three-way battle for the team race, with the top six skiers combining for a time of 1 hour, 10 minutes, 0.6 seconds. The West Valley girls sit second, 1:11 behind, while Service sits third, 1:36 behind West.
West Valley’s Kendall Kramer dominated the individual race Thursday with a time of 15:28.4 over the 5-kilometer course, with second-place Aubrey LeClair of West a staggering 1:22.6 behind.
In the boys team race, West also holds a slim lead with a tiny 4/10 of a second advantage over South Anchorage. South’s Zanden McMullen got the 7.5-kilometer individual win in 22:14, giving him a 27-second lead over West’s Everett Cason.
Soldotna’s Jeremy Kupferschmid led the peninsula in the individual race for the state Skimeister award, which crowns the best skier after two combined days of racing. Kupferschmid sits 24th after one day and over four minutes behind the lead.
In the girls Skimeister battle, Kenai Central senior Maria Salzetti led the peninsula in 29th, just over 4:15 behind the lead, to help put the Kardinal girls in 14th in the team standings.
Peninsula coaches agreed that the colder snow of Fairbanks played a challenging role in deciding which kick wax combination was best for Thursday’s races.
“I wouldn’t say it was easy, but it was more straight forward than we anticipated,” said Kenai Central head coach Brad Nyquist. “The temperatures were cold and tracks were solid, so in the tracks the glide was going to be really fast.
“The biggest thing was finding a kick that wasn’t going to be draggy.”
Soldotna coach Dan Harbison echoed Nyquist’s thoughts, adding that the SoHi teams managed to hit the right wax combination to give the Stars the necessary kick and glide.
“We were on pretty good skis,” Harbison said. “We were right on the mix, I think we had one of the superior kicks out there today. It’s Fairbanks snow, so it’s always interesting. You can start to drag really easily so you have to kind of be careful.”
Harbison said Walters’ 56th-place finish was not indicative of his race due to a broken binding that doomed him about 1/3 of the way into the race.
“He probably skied a kilometer on one ski before we got another one to him,” Harbison said. “That hurt him pretty bad.”
In the girls race, Salzetti covered the 5K course in 19:43.6 to lead Kenai, while teammate Mickinzie Ticknor was 64th, Summer Foster was 72nd, Leah Fallon was 77th, Gabriella Tewes was 83rd and Elizabeth Moffett was 85th.
“I’m happy with the team,” Nyquist said. “This is a building year, but it was a great experience for a lot of the kids. There’s so many plusses you take away from an event like this.”
The Homer Mariner girls finished the opening day ninth in the team standings, best among peninsula schools. Autumn Daigle led the way for Homer with a 32nd-place showing, 4:19 behind the lead. Daigle was followed by Mariner teammates Katia Holmes in 42nd, Zoe Stonorov in 46th, Brita Restad in 49th, Sienna Carey in 60th and Aiyana Cline in 75th.
The Soldotna girls finished day one in 10th overall. The Stars were led by Hannah Delker in 40th, 4:46 behind the lead.
Delker led a close contingent of SoHi skiers, as all six varsity racers finished within 90 seconds of each other. Behind Delker was teammates Katie Delker in 43rd, Sonora Martin in 45th, Erika Arthur in 48th, Isabella Dammeyer in 53rd and Cameron Blackwell in 56th.
“It put them in great position to move up,” Harbison said, referring to Friday’s mass-start race that seeds racers based on Thursday’s results.
Seward was led by Sadie Lindquist, who finished 55th and 6:17 behind the lead, while teammate Lucy Hankins was 89th.
Kupferschmid’s result in the boys race helped put SoHi 10th in the team standings, and he was followed behind by teammates Jack Harris in 47th, Foster Boze in 54th, Bradley Walters in 56th, Joseph Dammeyer in 66th and Lance Chilton in 68th.
The Kenai boys finished 14th in the team standing after Thursday, and were led by Josh Foster in 65th, just over 8:10 behind the lead. Foster was followed by Tyler Hippchen in 72nd, Johann Carranza in 77th, Nathan Haakenson in 78th, Tristan Summers in 80th and Samuel Roberts in 85th.
Homer’s lone varsity skier was Andy Super, who took 82nd and 11:25 behind the lead.
Seward’s Clay Petersen led the Seahawks after day 1 with a 61st-place showing, 7:38 behind the lead. Petersen was trailed by Seward’s Cody Bryden in 72nd and Sam Paperman in 79th.
The state ski meet continues today with mass start freestyle races, beginning at 11 a.m. with the girls 7.5K event and finishing at 1 p.m. with the boys 10K race.
The meet ends Saturday with the girls 4-by-3K relay at 11 a.m. and the boys 4-by-5K relay at 1 p.m.
Alaska state nordic ski championships
Thursday at Birch Hill Ski Area
Team scores — 1. West, 1:10:00.6; 2. West Valley, 1:11:11.7; 3. Service, 1:11:36.6; 4. South, 1:17:27.7; 5. Eagle River, 1:18:12.7; 6. Palmer, 1:21:18.7; 7. Dimond, 1:21:52.6; 8. Colony, 1:22:06.0; 9. Homer, 1:22:11.4; 10. Soldotna, 1:22:29.6; 11. Lathrop, 1:23:36.5; 12. Grace Christian, 1:24:03.2; 13. Chugiak, 1:24:55.0; 14. Kenai, 1:29:27.2; 15. Bartlett, 1:49:14.3.
Individual results (top-10) — 1. Kendall Kramer, WV, 15:28.4; 2. Aubrey LeClair, Wes, 16:51.0; 3. Garvee Tobin, Ser, 16:53.0; 4. Adrianna Proffitt, Chu, 17:01.3; 5. Ivy Eski, Wes, 17:10.2; 6. Quincy Donley, Wes, 17:46.1; 7. Annika Hanestad, Col, 17:59.7; 8. Emma Jerome, WV, 18:07.3; 9. Marit Flora, Ser, 18:08.0; 10. Annie Gonzales, Wes, 18:13.3.
Other Peninsula finishers — 29. Maria Salzetti, Ken, 19:43.6; 32. Autumn Daigle, Hom, 19:47.4; 40. Hannah Delker, Sol, 20:14.4; 42. Katia Holmes, Hom, 20:30.6; 43. Katie Delker, Sol, 20:34.3; 45. Sonora Martin, Sol, 20:41.9; 46. Zoe Stonorov, Hom, 20:52.9; 48. Erika Arthur, Sol, 20:59.0; 49. Brita Restad, Hom, 21:00.5; 53. Isabella Dammeyer, Sol, 21:19.4; 55. Sadie Lindquist, Sew, 21:45.4; 56. Cameron Blackwell, Sol, 21:47.0; 60. Sienna Carey, Hom, 22:00.6; 64. Mickinzie Ticknor, Ken, 22:43.3; 72. Summer Foster, Ken, 23:19.5; 75. Aiyana Cline, Hom, 23:31.4; 77. Leah Fallon, Ken, 23:40.8; 83. Gabriella Tewes, Ken, 25:48.4; 85. Elizabeth Moffett, Ken, 26:37.3; 89. Lucy Hankins, Sew, 27:42.8.
Team scores — 1. West, 1:38:55.9; 2. South, 1:38:56.3; 3. Service, 1:39:10.8; 4. West Valley, 1:39:11.6; 5. Chugiak, 1:40:38.2; 6. Dimond, 1:44:43.9; 7. Lathrop, 1:46:52.1; 8. Colony, 1:50:17.5; 9. Grace Christian, 1:51:30.9; 10. Soldotna, 1:52:18.7; 11. Palmer, 1:54:19.8; 12. Eagle River, 1:54:21.9; 13. East, 2:01:33.6; 14. Kenai, 2:08:54.6; 15. Bartlett, 2:30:20.7.
Individual results (top-10) — 1. Zanden McMullen, Sou, 22:14.0; 2. Everett Cason, Wes, 22:41.0; 3. Alexander Maurer, Ser, 23:14.0; 4. Kai Meyers, Sou, 23:45.7; 5. Michael Earnhardt, Chu, 23:47.3; 6. Joel Power, Ser, 24:12.0; 7. Dale Baurick, WV, 24:16.4; 8. Eric DiFolco, WV, 24:34.8; 9. Jonathan Burrell, Lat, 24:58.9; 10. Joseph Walling, Pal, 25:02.9.
Other Peninsula finishers — 24. Jeremy Kupferschmid, Sol, 26:18.6; 47. Jack Harris, Sol, 27:55.1; 54. Foster Boze, 28:58.7; 56. Bradley Walters, Sol, 29:06.3; 61. Clay Petersen, Sew, 29:52.5; 65. Josh Foster, Ken, 30:24.6; 66. Joseph Dammeyer, Sol, 30:26.3; 68. Lance Chilton, Sol, 31:28.3; 72. Tyler Hippchen, Ken, 32:26.1; 72. Cody Bryden, Sew, 32:26.1; 77. Johann Carranza, Ken, 32:55.6; 78. Nathan Haakenson, Ken, 33:08.3; 79. Sam Paperman, Sew, 33:23.7; 80. Tristan Summers, Ken, 33:24.3; 82. Andy Super, Hom, 33:39.7; 85. Samuel Roberts, Ken, 35:25.1.