The first weekend of Besh Cup racing was held Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 21-22, at Kincaid Park in Anchorage.
Besh Cup racing is used to choose Alaska’s teams for Junior Nationals and for the Arctic Winter Games. It is also a chance for some of the top racers in Alaska who have advanced beyond the junior level to stay sharp.
For example, the 1.7-kilometer men’s classic sprint for Under-18 and over Saturday was won by Erik Bjornsen, who has spent time skiing on the World Cup for the United States and also has skied in two Olympics. From the Kenai Peninsula, Soldotna High School senior Bradley Walters was 45th.
In the .9-kilometer women’s classic sprint for Under-16 and over, Mariel Merlii Pulles took the victory. Soldotna’s Erika Arthur was 42nd, Soldotna graduate Kellie Arthur was 58th and Homer High School’s Zoe Stonorov was 62nd.
In the .9-kilometer boys classic sprint, Aaron Power took the victory while Tyler Hippchen of Kenai Central was 20th.
Sunday, racers switched to a freestyle interval start. In the Under-16 and over 5-kilometer race, Kendall Kramer of Fairbanks took the victory in 12 minutes, 55 seconds. Erika Arthur was 46th in 16:28, Stonorov was 53rd in 17:24 and Kellie Arthur was 61st in 18:19.
The men’s 10-kilometer race was won by Gus Schumacher in 21:22. Walters was 61st in 34:05.
In the Under-16 boys 5-kilometer race, Hippchen was 14th in 14:37.