Freshman skiers lead at Boroughs

In spite of taking a wrong turn, Mariner Audrey Russell skis to a 12th-place finish in Boroughs competition last weekend.

In spite of taking a wrong turn, Mariner Audrey Russell skis to a 12th-place finish in Boroughs competition last weekend.

After a season of improvising, the Mariners demonstrated their skiing prowess at Boroughs competition in Soldotna Feb. 5, with top-10 finishes for both boys and girls and a third-place team finish over all. 

The skies were clear and the temperatures in the mid-teens as the skiers lined up for an afternoon mass start. Coaches and volunteers arrived earlier to assess the course and wax the Mariners’ skis to match the dry, granular snow with conditions better than expected.

“The groomers worked wonders with a few inches of snow on top of a few inches of dirt and ice. The trails were in great shape and we were skiing,” said Assistant Coach Alison O’Hara in an email. 

The competition featured a fast-paced duathlon-style set up, which required skiers to switch their skis from skate to classic gear mid-race, with the option of changing boots and poles as well. Each team was allowed one ski handler in the staging area to assist with the rapid transitions. 

“At times there were a few Mariners in the chute at once and things got kind of chaotic as amped racers attempted to get boots into bindings at race pace,” said O’Hara. 

The skiers took off on a 4K route at the Wolverine trailhead of the Tsalteshi trails on skate skis, stopped at a marked area to switch to classic-style skis, and finished with another 3K loop for a total 7K.

Freshman Sarah Wolf led for the Lady Mariners again with a sixth-place finish in the girls varsity race with a time of 27:36.0. She was followed closely by junior Rachel Ellert, who placed eighth, 25 seconds behind Wolf. Freshman Mia Alexson placed 11th in the varsity girls race, and sophomore Audrey Russell, who was penalized for an accidental wrong turn in the home stretch of the race, placed 12th

Freshman Jacob Davis led the Mariner boys, with another sixth-place finish of 23:32.9. Sophomore Hoxie Parks was in ninth place. Freshman Josh Wisner finished in sixth place for the JV boys. 

The event’s results displayed the burgeoning talent amongst the younger members of the field, as the two first-place medals went to freshmen from other teams. Addison Gibson from Kenai finished first in the girls varsity race and John-Mark Pothast of SoHi won the boys varsity race. 

The Mariners’ Assistant Coach Gus Beck is excited about the growth he’s seen from the younger members of the team this year. 

“I’m really impressed by the freshmen on the team,” he said. “Three years from now, the team is going to be so solid having good, fast leaders with good technique. I bet in the next couple of years we’re really going to see the team beef up.” 

Unless more snow falls, the Mariners will return to their training grounds of the Homer Reservoir to prepare for Regions this week. Despite the flat terrain, the coaches have been working hard to draw connections between the skills learned during their long weeks of dry land drills this fall to the corresponding motions on snow. 

The skiers will travel to the Government Peak Recreational Area near Hatcher Pass on Friday to kick off Regions with a 5K classic race at 1 p.m. A 5K skate race for the girls and approximately a 7.5K skate race for the boys is scheduled for Saturday. 

Lindsay Olsen is a freelance writer who lives in Homer. The Peninsula Clarion also  contributed to this story. 

More in Sports

Fall colors, a dog and game in hand make for great outdoor experiences on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge. (Photo by Colin Canterbury/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: On point this fall

His eyes were fixated on the white spruce before us. We knew… Continue reading

Ice sits ready to skate at Bottenintnin Lake in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska on Nov. 1, 2020. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Tangled Up in Blue: Skipping skating

I was looking forward to ice skating this winter. I had bought… Continue reading

Soldotna junior Liam Babitt holds a grip on South Anchorage’s Britten Hamilton during the 215-pound final of the Lancer Smith Fall Varsity 2021 Invite on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2021 at the Menard Arena in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)
Soldotna crowns 4 champions at Lancer Smith

The Soldotna wrestling team finished fourth Friday and Saturday at the Lancer… Continue reading

Mariner's Micah Williamson steals the puck from the Warrior's Karson McGrew as he advances down the rink. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Hockey roundup: West wins End of Road tourney

End of the Road Tournament The West hockey team won the End… Continue reading

Michael proposes to Sarah at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Out of the Office: Falling in love one snowflake at a time

Homer News reporter smells snow - and gets the surprise of a lifetime.

Sports in brief

Hockey Upcoming meets: 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18: Kenai vs. West, End… Continue reading

Alaska Olympic Development Program 2008 boys team featuring Gunnar Pinsky, Beau Miller and Kai Waltenbaugh (Photo provided by Breanna Hill)
Homer soccer players compete on Alaska Olympic Development team

Seven Homer soccer players are making their national and international debut after… Continue reading

Homer’s Gracie Gummer goes up for a kill against Kenai blockers Calani Holmes and Emma Beck during the 3A state volleyball consolation game at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai takes 2nd, Homer nabs 3rd at state volleyball

The Kenai Kardinals volleyball team fell narrowly to the Valdez Buccaneers in… Continue reading

Kenai Central’s Ayden Spann skates the puck across the blue line during a 4-1 loss to Colony during the second day of the 2021 Alaska Army National Guard Stars and Stripes Showdown on Friday, Nov.12, 2021, at the MTA Events Center in Palmer, Alaska. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)
Kenai, SoHi, Homer finish up play at Stars and Stripes

The Homer and Soldotna hockey teams finished with 1-2 records at the… Continue reading

Most Read