SoHi relay ski squad takes borough title

The Soldotna relay team of Quinn Cox, Cameron Blackwell, Erika Arthur and Bradley Walters won the Kenai Peninsula Borough Nordic ski championships at Tsalteshi Trails on Saturday.

On a sunny day with snow hanging in the trees, two boys and two girls made up each relay team. The relay was two 2.5-kilometer classic legs, followed by two 2.5-kilometer skate legs.

The teams travel to the state meet Thursday through Saturday at Kincaid Park in Anchorage.

“It was a quick, intense hit,” said Kenai’s Tyler Hippchen, who was on the relay team that finished third. “It was really fun. It was a chance to rev your motor and get everyone fired up before going to state.”

The top relay team finished in 27 minutes, 29 seconds, while the SoHi team of Jordan Ruffner, Jack Harris, Katie Delker and Ryder Geisler was next at 28:23 and Kenai’s Josh Foster, Jayna Boonstra, Julia Anderson and Hippchen were third at 28:43.

The relay legs were used to figure out a number of other borough awards. The Soldotna boys took the team award, while the Kenai boys were second. For the girls, Soldotna was first and Homer was second.

The top boys skate leg was turned in by Walters at 5:41, while Hippchen was next at 6:04. Homer’s Autumn Daigle had the top girls skate leg at 7:01, while SoHi’s Katie Delker was next at 7:06.

The top boys classic leg went to SoHi’s Quinn Cox at 6:32, while SoHi’s Jack Harris was next at 6:41. Homer’s Brita Restad had the top girls classic leg at 7:45, while Kenai’s Jayna Boonstra was next at 7:50.

Cox led off the winning relay and tagged Blackwell in the lead. Blackwell knew Boonstra was coming for her.

“I felt like this was one of my better races,” Blackwell said. “I’m better at short distances.

“I definitely expected to get passed, but I was happy to keep the lead for my team.”

Blackwell also likes the added pressure of skiing for a relay team.

“That’s one of the reasons I like doing this,” she said. “It’s fun to incorporate the team aspect of things.”

Arthur skied the third leg. She was worried about Delker catching her. While the classic leg had just one major hill, the skate leg had three major hills.

“I do well at hills, I just don’t like them,” Arthur said.

Arthur gave Walters a big cushion to work with, but he still pushed hard enough for the skate win.

“I just wanted to have fun and not take it too seriously,” Walters said. “I still wanted to do good enough that I felt I raced well.”

Like many seniors, Walters was racing at Tsalteshi for the last time.

“It’s been a fun four years,” he said.

Hippchen also gave credit to the groomers for packing down the recent snow.

“It was a lot faster than it’s been,” he said.

Kenai Peninsula Borough Ski Meet

Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails

Top 10 relay teams

1. Soldotna (Cox, Blackwell, Arthur, Walters), 27 minutes, 29 seconds; 2. Soldotna (Ruffner, Harris, Delker, Geisler), 28:23; 3. Kenai (Foster, Boonstra, Anderson, Hippchen), 28:43; 4. Soldotna (Grinestaff, Strausbaugh, Dement, Boze), 30:18; 5. Kenai (Sorensen, Foster, Danielson, Haakenson), 30:35; 6. Kenai (Caranza, Hall, Tews, Grzybowski), 30:39; 7. Homer (McDounough, Stonorov, Briscoe, Daigle), 30:51; 8. Soldotna (Strom, Reese, Boots, Saleva), 32:23; 9. Mixed (Restad, Mueller, Cline, Brennan), 33:01; 10. Seward (Peterson, Walker, Bryden, Hankins), 33:44.

Soldotna’s David Grinestaff tags Jordan Strausbaugh in the relay zone at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Nordic Ski championships Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s David Grinestaff tags Jordan Strausbaugh in the relay zone at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Nordic Ski championships Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai’s Mathew Grybowski and Nathan Haakenson climb a hill at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Nordic ski championships Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai’s Mathew Grybowski and Nathan Haakenson climb a hill at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Nordic ski championships Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Erika Arthur cruises down a hill at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Nordic ski championships Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Erika Arthur cruises down a hill at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Nordic ski championships Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Sonja Saleva climbs a hill at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Nordic ski championships Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Sonja Saleva climbs a hill at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Nordic ski championships Saturday at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

More in Sports

AP file Photo/Mark Thiessen 
                                In this March 20, 2019, file photo, Iditarod musher Nicolas Petit, of France, poses with two of his dogs in Anchorage. Nearly a third of the 57 mushers in this year’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race have quit the race before finishing, including Petit, who activated an alert button seeking rescue last Thursday morning, March 19, because of weather conditions.
3 Iditarod mushers rescued because of poor trail conditions

Three mushers participating in Alaska’s Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race were rescued… Continue reading

Out of the Office: Nature in a time of pandemic can heal

As I write this I am in my third day of working… Continue reading

During this time of uncertainty, the author vacillates between being outdoors and binge watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” (Photo courtesy of Kat Sorensen)
Tangled Up in Blue: Lonely among us

I set daily goals to accomplish during this universal pandemic, a different kind of frontier.

Sports in brief

Upcoming events Mike Dunleavy, working with the Alaska Department of Health and… Continue reading

Refuge Notebook: Introducing Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge

We’ve probably already met, but you didn’t realize it. We’re the other… Continue reading

Norwegian musher wins Alaska’s Iditarod sled dog race

ANCHORAGE (AP) — Norwegian musher Thomas Waerner easily won the Iditarod Trail… Continue reading

ACS sweeps Southcentral titles

Both Homer basketball teams placed third in the Southcentral Conference Championships this… Continue reading

Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion 
                                Seward’s Sam Koster passes around Kenai Central’s Kayden Daniels in front of a big crowd March 28, 2020, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. The state announced Friday there will be no after-school activiities until March 30, 2020, due to the new coronavirus.
Schools, sports, after-school events canceled

The closures of part of an effort to contain the new coronavirus outbreak.

Soldotna’s Bradley Walters won the boys varsity race during the Government Peak Invitational on Friday. (Photo by Tim Rockey/Frontiersman)
Area skiers, bikers excel at Tour of Anchorage

Kenai Peninsula endurance athletes put together a host of top finishes Sunday… Continue reading

Most Read