The Mariner cross country ski team competed in their first race of the season last Saturday at the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna. Last week’s discouraging wet weather caused the race, which was originally scheduled to be held above Homer at the Lookout Trails on Ohlson Mountain Road, to be moved farther north. As the Mariners departed early Saturday morning, the conditions still didn’t look promising.
“It was pouring out and hard to believe we were actually going to a ski race,” assistant coach Alison O’Hara said in an email. However, as the Mariners ventured up the peninsula, it became clear the change in race location had paid off.
“The further north we went and by Soldotna it looked like Narnia. Everyone was so excited. Tsalteshi had about 10 inches of snow and all trails were freshly groomed. We were in heaven after having only four days of marginal ski days here,” she said.
The Mariners competed against teams from SoHi and Kenai. On the girls team, freshman Sarah Wolf finished in seventh place, only five seconds behind the third-place finisher, Hannah Pothast from SoHi.
O’Hara commented that Wolf’s race was “quite a performance for a first-year Mariner skier.” Junior co-captain Rachel Ellert came in eighth place, seven seconds behind Wolf.
On the boys team, freshman Jacob Davis led for the Mariners finishing in eighth place. Freshman Hoxie Parks finished in 12th place, with co-captain sophomore Tadhg Scholz coming in behind him in 13th. No formal team results were calculated because this was an informal race, however athletes were recognized for their placements.
The Mariners have had a slow start to their season due to the poor snow conditions in Homer. However they have been training hard on dry land for six weeks, focusing on conditioning and agility, making the best of the situation.
“This is the world we live in so what can we do?” said Head Coach Alan Parks. “We’ll just carry on.”
The Mariners will compete Friday and Saturday of this week at the Lynx Loppet races in Anchorage.
Lindsay Olsen is a freelance writer who lives in Homer.
Mariner Cross-Country Invite
Tsalteshi Trails, Soldotna
Mariner individual results:
Varsity boys: 8. Jacob Davis, 13:09; 12. Hoxie Parks, 14:18; 13. Tadhg Scholz, 15:17; 14. Eric Super, 20:03.
Varsity girls: 7. Sara Wolf, 15:17; 8. Rachel Ellert, 15:25; 10. Audrey Russell, 15:30; 11. Mia Alexson, 16:08; 16. Maria Vantrease, 16:43; 18. Clair Swanson, 17:24.