Isaac Lammers wins Lynx Loppet

Chugiak senior skates away from the field to lead second-place Mustangs


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Chugiak’s Isaac Lammers glides down the final hill during the 5.5-kilometer classic race on Day 1 of the Lynx Loppet races at Kincaid Park on Friday, Dec. 9. Lammers won both the classic and freestyle races to claim the overall victory in the first high school race of the season.

STAR PHOTO BY MATT TUNSETH

Chugiak senior Isaac Lammers had only his own shadow to fear on Saturday, Dec. 10 on Day 2 of the season-opening Lynx Loppet Nordic ski races at Kincaid Park in Anchorage.

Starting first after winning the Day 1 classic race, Lammers said he didn’t know where any of his pursuers were behind him. But at one point midway through the race, he said he thought he must have dislodged a tree branch with a ski pole near the course — causing him to hear a noise directly behind him.

“It spooked me so bad,” Lammers said.

He had nothing to worry about. After staring with a five-second lead in the freestyle pursuit (in which racers started according to how they finished Day 1’s time trial), Lammers pulled away to win by nearly 30 seconds on a slick, icy Kincaid layout. He wound up 28 seconds ahead of Service teammates Austin Hess and John Glen, who tied for second. South’s Eric Backstrum won a sprint to the finish over Chugiak’s Alex Loan for fourth.

Despite having a huge gap on the field, Lammers sprinted across the finish line in order to help his team’s overall time.

“He’s such an unselfish skier,” said Chugiak coach Mikey Evans.

Chugiak’s boys team finished second, three minutes back of Service. David McPhetres was 18th for the Mustangs, Robert Colles finished 25th and James Colles was 26th.

Eagle River finished 12th. Will Timmons led the Wolves in 38th place. He was followed by Evan Fisher (51st), Ben Smith (55th), Ben Hall (87th), Alec Smith (90th) and WIlliam Hail (91st).

Isaac’s younger sister, sophomore Sarissa, was the top local finisher in the girls race with a fifth-place showing for the sixth-place Mustangs. Sam Hartke was 16th, followed by Amy Hartke (26th), Shannon Casey (59th) and Maegan Lange (86th).

Hannah Stevens was 12th to lead the Eagle River girls, who finished ninth overall. Jackie Klecka (40th), Brenna Wheeler (42nd) and Sarah Frankl (63rd) rounded out the Wolves’ varsity line-up.

South won the girls’ team title, getting a 1-2 finish from Marion Woods and Stephanie Kirk.

After winning the classic race on Friday, Isaac Lammers earned the top spot for Saturday’s start. But the UAF-bound skier said starting ahead of the pack wasn’t necessarily an advantage.

“It’s a whole different race,” he said.

Rather than trying to pick off competitors along the course, Lammers said he had to simply try to ski against himself and see how things worked out.

“You just have to focus on what you’re doing,” he said.

More than 600 skiers from across the state participated in the two-day Lynx Loppet races. Because last weekend’s Service Snowball races were canceled due to warm weather, the meet was the first chance skiers got to see how they stacked up against the competition.

“You’re seeing a preview of the state meet,” Evans said.

Prep high school skiers are now off until Jan. 6, when they’ll return to action for the Bartlett relays. However, many of the top high school racers will participate in the Besh Cup race series, which kicks off Friday, Dec. 16 with a season-opening freestyle sprint at Kincaid. The next day, Chugiak’s Beach Lake trails will host Besh Cup race No. 2, an interval-start classic race.

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