Sun shines on region ski meet

Nordic racers ready for state


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Myah Smith hugs her brother, Alec, following the conclusion of the freestyle relay race at the Cook Inlet Conference Nordic Ski Championships at Kincaid Park on Saturday, Feb. 16. Ben Smith was forced to ski the final stretch of the race with just one pole after breaking his during the race.

Matt Tunseth

Sunny skies and some of the best conditions of the season greeted prep Nordic skiers Saturday, Feb. 16 at Kincaid Park for the conclusion of the Cook Inlet Conference championships.

“It’s sure a lot better than yesterday,” said Chugiak coach Chris Morhain as he squinted into the bright sun.

Unlike Friday’s individual classic races, which were held in a snowstorm, Saturday’s freestyle relay was fast and slick. South swept the boys and girls team and individual titles, with Marion Woods and Tanner Ramey taking home individual Skimeister honors.

On Friday, Chugiak’s Sam Hartke was the top local skier in the 7.5-kilometer classic race in sixth, two spots ahead of Eagle River’s Hannah Stevens. For the boys, Chugiak’s David McPhetres finished ninth and Alex Loan was 11th. Will Timmons finished 17th in the classic race to pace Eagle River.

Chugiak’s boys and girls teams each finished fifth in Saturday’s freestyle relays. McPhetres and Loan teamed up with Tim Sorensen and Roan Hall for the Mustang boys, while Hartke, Sarissa Lammers, Kate Arthen and Shannon Casey made up Chugiak’s girls squad. Stevens led Eagle River’s girls to a sixth-place finish, joining Brooke Meredith, Summer Frazier and Carisa Andersen on the team.

The hard-luck Eagle River boys (Will Timmons, Alec Smith, Ben Smith and Nick Roth) finished seventh in the relay, but had perhaps the day’s grittiest performance in the person of Alec Smith, who skied the final two kilometers of his leg with just one ski pole.

“He still did awesome,” said ERHS coach Liz Turner.

After limping home, Smith handed off to older brother Ben — who himself winced across the finish line with a sore shin.

Turner said the Smith brothers’ determination showed the caliber of athletes she has on her team.

“I’m really proud of them,” she said.

Skiers are now preparing for the state meet, which will be held Feb. 22-23 at Kincaid. Turner said her skiers will be taking things easy in the lead-up to the most important prep races of the season.

“We’ll be doing some kinda mellow workouts and just getting a lot of rest for the kids,” she said.

Morhain said he’s hopeful that conditions continue to stay good throughout the area.

“If it stays like this it’ll be great,” he said.

 

matt.tunseth@alaskastar.com

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