State ski teams ready for fun

For the first time in three years, high school varsity cross-country ski teams are headed to the season-ending state meet with hardly a concern for snow conditions.

The three-day state meet is set to run today through Saturday at Kincaid Park in Anchorage. Gone for now are the days in which skiers were forced into sking the same small loop several times to amass enough kilometers for an event.

This year, mother nature has finally blessed Alaska with an abundance of snow, and the opportunity to use trails that run deep into the woods at Kincaid will give prep skiers something to remember.

With legendary loops like Lekisch, Margaux’s, Elliott’s Climb and Rollercoaster thrown into the mix, racers will be getting a little variety this year.

The meet begins today with an interval-start classic technique race. The boys will race 7.5 kilometers at noon and the girls will race 5K at 1 p.m.

Friday, the fun continues with longer freestyle races that will begin mass start. Girls go first with a 7.5K event at 11 a.m. and the boys will endure 10K at 12:30 p.m.

Varsity teams will consist of six racers, with a seventh alternate waiting in the wings should one of the other six run into health problems. The top four skiers’ times from each school in Thursday’s and Friday’s races will count in the overall team time that will decide the state champion, or Skimeister. The team times from the first two days will roll over into the third day’s finale, which consists of a frantic relay race.

The four-member relays on Saturday will feature the girls at 11 a.m., in which each racer skis 3K, and the boys at 12:30 p.m., with each skier completing 5K. The relay races feature a classic-classic-skate-skate combo for each leg.

In the history of the state meet, no skier from the Kenai Peninsula has won the overall Skimeister championship, and no peninsula school has won the team award.

Looking to end that streak are the Soldotna boys, who won their second straight Region III championship last week in Wasilla. The Stars put three skiers in the top 10 in the Friday, Feb. 17 race, and had four in the top 10 in Saturday’s event to win the title on depth. Koby Vinson led SoHi with a second-place result in the overall region individual standings, racking up finishes of fourth and second between the two days.

Last year, the SoHi boys finished seventh, the top team from the peninsula, nearly 15 minutes behind the state champion West Anchorage boys.

Last week, Kenai Central’s Karl Danielson won his first Region III Skimeister crown with a two-day total that was better than anyone else in the boys field. Danielson finished 29th individually at last year’s state meet, but has made long strides of improvement this winter.

Last week, the Kenai Central girls came up short in their bid to three-peat at the Region III meet, finishing second to the Colony girls. Kenai junior Riana Boonstra finished second both days to Colony’s Annika Hannestad, and enters this weekend’s state meet as the favorite among the peninsula teams on an individual level to break the stranglehold of Anchorage and Fairbanks racers winning the overall state Skimeister title.

Last year at the state meet, Boonstra finished highest among peninsula girls skiers with a two-day result of 16th overall. The Kenai girls finished seventh in the team race, 14 minutes, 25 seconds, behind the state champion West Eagles.

More in Sports

SoHi JV cagers sweep CIA

The host Soldotna JV basketball teams scored nonconference wins over Cook Inlet… Continue reading

Karl Danielson, a 2018 graduate of Kenai Central, races to victory in the Under-18 and over men's 10-kilometer interval start classic at Besh Cup 4 on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. The Besh Cup races are mostly used to select skiers for Junior Nationals, but also give younger and older skiers a chance for top-notch racing. It took over 50 volunteers to put together the two days of races, which had over 200 skiers each day.
Kenai grad Danielson sweeps Besh Cup weekend at Tsalteshi

Tsalteshi Trails hosted the Besh Cup on Saturday and Sunday.

Ice Dogs sweep Brown Bears

The Fairbanks Ice Dogs got off to a solid start under new… Continue reading

Hoops Roundup: Wasilla sweeps SoHi; Ninilchik boys win Cordova tourney

The visiting Wasilla boys basketball team defeated Soldotna 66-60 on Saturday in… Continue reading

Karl Danielson, a graduate of Kenai Central currently skiing for Alaska Pacific University, wins the Under-16 and over sprint at Besh Cup 3 on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai grad Danielson wins Besh 3 sprint

Karl Danielson, a 2018 graduate of Kenai Central, won the Under-16 and… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Erin Koziczkowski goes up for a shot against Nikiski on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai sweeps Nikiski Tip Off titles

The Kenai girls and boys swept the titles at the 30th Annual… Continue reading

Soldotna's Landon Stonecipher carries the puck against Homer on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at Kevin Bell Ice Arena in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Homer, SoHi split hockey games

The Homer and Soldotna hockey teams split junior varsity games Friday and… Continue reading

Kenai girls, Nikiski boys start tourney with wins

The Kenai girls, Lumen Christi girls, Bethel boys and Nikiski boys opened… Continue reading

Homer New reporter Sarah Knapp admires Alaska's beautiful landscape during a trip to Anchorage. (Photo by Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Out of the Office: Sticking to New Year’s resolution

I’m still trying to find out where I belong in Homer. You’d… Continue reading

Most Read