By JEFF HELMINIAK
Kenai Central sophomore Jayna Boonstra and Soldotna senior Quinn Cox won the two-day combined titles on Saturday at the Kenai Peninsula Borough ski championships at Tsalteshi Trails.
Boonstra came into the day with the lead after a freestyle race Feb. 13 at Lookout Mountain. Soldotna’s Erika Arthur was able to defeat Boonstra 23 minutes, 47 seconds, to 24:10, in Saturday’s 6.2-kilometer classic race, but Boonstra still won the overall 42:10 to 42:59. Soldotna’s Katie Delker was third in the overall.
“Jayna looked steady whenever I saw her,” Kenai Central head coach Brad Nyquist said. “Strong and steady. She’s got good quickness and a good motor.”
Soldotna coach Isaac Erhardt said the course had a little bit of everything to challenge classic skiers. He thought that suited Arthur well.
“I think Erika is a little more experienced and that experience served her well in this case, just because the course required putting together so many different things,” he said.
Experience also carried the day in the boys race. Cox came into the day third in the standings behind Kenai junior Tyler Hippchen and Kenai freshman Jack Laker. Cox won the classic race with a time of 19:47 to end up first in the overall.
Cox was at 36:20, while Laker was at 36:41 and Hippchen was at 37:02.
“Quinn had a heck of a race,” Erhardt said. “He seemed to hit it really well as far as energy levels.”
The skiers took the course in the order they finished in Homer, but in 30-second intervals. That allowed Cox, Laker and Hippchen to compete against each other.
“All of them were really thriving being that close to another person,” Nyquist said. “It hasn’t been that way the rest of the year. It’s really motivating to ski with somebody else.”
The Soldotna girls won the team title, while the Kenai boys also won the team title.
Except for varsity skiers, who will move on to state, this marks the end of the season. Despite the shorter season, Erhardt was impressed with the way all his skiers, including JV, looked on the technical course.
“That’s the future of the team, so that felt good,” Erhardt said.
Nyquist also said his team looked good as a whole, throwing special kudos to Leah Fallon, Ben Boersma and Emily Moss.
“The kids we have are amazing,” Nyquist said. “They enjoy what they are doing, they love the sport and they like to compete and push themselves. They like the idea of being a team, as well, though that’s the part we’ve missed because we haven’t had the travel and team dinners.”
Kenai Peninsula Borough ski championships
Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails
Two-day combined times
Team: 1. Kenai, 2:32:06; 2. Soldotna, 2:35:53.
Individual: 1. Quinn Cox, Sol, 36:20; 2. Jack Laker, Ken, 36:41; 3. Tyler Hippchen, Ken, 37:02; 4. Gregory Fallon, Ken, 37:41; 5. Foster Boze, Sol, 37:54; 6. Ben Boersma, Ken, 40:39; 7. Dylan Hogue, Sol, 40:39; 8. Cody Bryden, Sew, 41:08; 9. Andrew Cox, Sol, 41:46; 10. Carter Cannava, Sol, 42:35; 11. Trenton Boots, Sol, 42:40; 12. Seamus McDonough, Hom, 42:41; 13. Nathan Haakenson, Ken, 43:38; 14. Nathan Pitka, Sol, 44:11; 15. Zane Pellegrom, Ken, 45:45; 16. Aloshia Cross, Sew, 46:32; 17. Matthew Grzybowski, Ken, 49:19; 18. Trevor Guernsey, Sew, 49:22.
Two-day combined times
Team: 1. Soldotna, 2:59:46; 2. Kenai, 3:07:04; 3. Homer, 3:18:07.
Individual: 1. Jayna Boonstra, Ken, 42:10; 2. Erika Arthur, Sol, 42:59; 3. Katie Delker, Sol, 43:47; 4. Jordan Ruffner, Sol, 45:56; 5. Ireland Styvar, Hom, 47:00; 6. Jordan Strausbaugh, Sol, 47:02; 7. Emily Moss, Kenai, 47:20; 8. Zoe Stonorov, Hom, 47:49; 9. Summer Foster, Ken, 49:03; 10. Leah Fallon, Ken, 49:04; 11. Gabriella Tews, Ken, 50:04; 12. Eryn Field, Hom, 50:08; 13. Sonora Martin, Sol, 50:51; 14. Frida Renner, Hom, 53:09; 15. Emmy Reese, Sol, 55:13; 16. Kara Super, Hom, 56:18; 17. Elena Badajos, Hom, 59:20.