Skiers wrap season at state

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 - 19:00
Chugiak boys/girls 6th; Eagle River 14th
Eagle River High senior Will Timmons rounds a corner during the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Nordic Skiing Championships on Feb. 22 at Kincaid Park. Timmons finished 26th in the boys Skimeister standings.

Four locals earned top-10 individual showings at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Nordic Skiing Championships Feb. 21-23 at Kincaid Park.

Chugiak junior David McPhetres led the way with a sixth-place performance in the boys Skimeister standings, four spots ahead of teammate Alex Loan. Chugiak’s Sarissa Lammers finished seventh to lead local girls, one spot ahead of Eagle River’s Hannah Stevens. Will Timmons was the top Eagle River boys’ racer in 26th.

Timmons, a senior, said racing in his final state race was bittersweet.

“It hadn’t really hit me until right now,” he said.

Timmons said he hopes to race at the collegiate level. If not, he said the experiences he gained through high school skiing were invaluable, and that he plans to stay on skis for as long as he can.

“That’s the nice thing about this sport. You can ski until you’re 85,” he said.

Loan overcame a rough Day 1 classic race to reach the top 10. The senior placed 20th in the opening race of the weekend, then rocketed up the standings with a seventh-place finish in the mass start freestyle race on Feb. 22.

“I knew it was going to be crazy,” he said of the mass start, which featured more than 100 athletes taking off from the starting line at the same time.

Loan said he likes mass starts — as opposed to interval — because they give him a chance to size up the field.

“I like to be able to see who I have to get,” he said.

Chugiak’s boys and girls each finished sixth in the team competition; both Eagle River teams were 14th. Max Donaldson won the boys individual Skimeister for the first-place West Valley Wolfpack. West’s Lydia Blanchett won the girls Skimeister, while the South girls took the team title.

Like Loan, Stevens got into the top 10 with a stronger performance in the mass start race. She said she was disappointed with her 11th place showing on Day 1, but was all smiles after crossing the finish line in fifth on Day 2.

“It’s a lot easier to tell what place you’re in,” said the senior.

Stevens said the key to her strong showing was a powerful push up the Leikish hill.

“I’m just glad my pole didn’t break,” she said.

Stevens’ coach, Liz Turner, said she was proud of the skier’s determined effort.

“She did so great,” Turner said.

Chugiak’s Sam Hartke didn’t factor in the Skimeister standings, but the senior had a good excuse. After leading all local girls with a sixth-place effort, the honors student had to leave the state for a college visit and missed the final two days of competition.

Hartke’s season isn’t done, however. She’ll join Loan, McPhetres, Lammers and Stevens at Junior Nationals March 11-16 in Fairbanks.

Lammers said she’s excited for the national competition. The junior said she wasn’t 100 percent at state after battling illness for a month.

“Considering everything that’s been going on, I’m happy with my results,” she said.

Lammers said the seventh-place Skimeister showing was encouraging because it means she is finally on the upswing with two weeks to go before nationals.

“It’s looking like I’m going to have some great races,” she said.

In the Day 3 mixed technique relay races, Chugiak’s girls team of Lammers, Kate Arthen, Shannon Casey and Annie Connelly placed sixth to lead local teams. Eagle River’s girls (Stevens, Summer Frazier, Carisa Andersen and Hailey Sandefur) were 12th. Chugiak’s boys team (McPhetres, Loan, Roan Hall and Tim Sorensen) was 7th, six spots in front of 13th place Eagle River (Timmons, Alec Smith, Ben Smith and Jacob Walsh).

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