Skiers wrap up regions, ready for state races

The Homer Mariner Nordic ski team took one step closer to state competition at the Region III Nordic Ski Championships on the Tsalteshi Trails in Soldotna last week. The Feb. 14-15 event included skiers from Colony, Grace, Homer, Kenai, Palmer, Skyview, Soldotna and Wasilla.

In the boys team competition, Colony came in first and Homer took seventh place. The Soldotna girls team took first place and Homer was sixth. Mariner Brian Rowe had the eighth best boys overall time for the two days, placed eighth in Saturday’s 7.5-kilometer mass start and finished ninth in Friday’s 5K freestyle.

For the girls, Mariner Aspen Daigle had the 10th best overall two-day girls time, finished 10th in Saturday’s 5K mass start and took seventh in Friday’s 5K freestyle race.

“Regions is a lot bigger meet, with lots of kids from schools with really strong programs and more competition,” said Mariner Head Coach Eric Groth. “(Homer) did really well.”

While weather has been iffy at best, ranging from spring-like conditions to blizzards, Groth said, “I don’t really think weather hampered anybody in terms of how they’d normally do.”

Most hurt were those new to the sport.

“If anything, it might have hampered beginner skiers trying to get into the sport and couldn’t ski because conditions weren’t that good and it wasn’t that fun,” said Groth, adding that overall, “it was more just a downer in terms of not being able to ski all the time.”

The team wraps up the season this week with state competition at Kincaid Trails in Anchorage. They headed north Wednesday in order to have a day to preview the course. Races begin today and continue through Saturday. 

Representing Homer’s boys team are Brian Rowe, John Vantrease, Tian-en Liu, Ryan Navrot and Hoxie Parks. Skiing for the Mariner girls are Aspen Daigle, Cassidy Soistman, Rachel Ellert, Audrey Russell, Isabel Beach, Mariah Vantrease and alternate Claire Swanson.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at

Region III Nordic Ski Championships

Feb. 14-15 
Tsalteshi Trails, Soldotna


Team times: 1. Colony, 2 hours, 23 minutes, 32 seconds; 2. Grace, 2:24:13; 3. Palmer, 2:31:27; 4. Kenai, 2:32:16; 5. Soldotna, 2:33:23; 6. Skyview, 2:40:00; 7. Homer, 2:49:16; 8. Wasilla, 2:55:04.

Overall two-day times: 1. 8. Brian Rowe, 36:19; 30. Josh Vantrease, 39:57; 48. Tian-en Liu, 45:05; 51. Ryan Navrot, 17:14; 52. Hoxie Parks, 49:47; 53. Tadhg Scholz, 50:35.

Top 10 from Saturday’s 7.5-kilometer mass start: 8. Rowe, 22:11.

Friday’s 5K freestyle results: 9. Brian Rowe, 14:08; 27. Josh Vantrease, 15:12; 46. Hoxie Parks, 16:30; 48. Tian-en Liu, 16:44; 50. Ryan Navrot, 17:14; 51. Tadhg Scholz, 17:17.


1. Soldotna, 1:06:20; 2. Grace, 1:08:43; 3. Colony, 1:08:02; 4. Palmer, 1:08:55; 5. Kenai, 1:08:59; 6. Homer, 1:11:00; 7. Skyview, 1:16:51.

Overall two-day times: 10. Aspen Daigle, 36:29; 19. Cassidy Soistman, 38:39; 24. Rachel Ellert, 39:03; 39. Isabel Beach, 44:52; 41. Mariah Vantrease, 45:00; 43. Claire Swanson, 45:19.

Top 10 from Saturday’s 5K classic mass start: 10. Aspen Daigle, 19:57.

Friday’s 5K freestyle results: 7. Aspen Daigle, 16:31; 15. Rachel Ellert, 17:19; 20. Cassidy Soistman, 17:36; 39. Mariah Vantrease, 19:32; 40. Claire Swanson, 19:38; 41. Isabel Beach, 19:42.