• Rowe leads Homer varsity boys to third place
By Sean Pearson
Placing three skiers in the top five spots, the Lady Mariner Nordic Ski Team took the title at Saturday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Ski Meet at Lookout Mountain.
Freshman Barae Hirsch led the way for Homer, finishing second behind Soldotna standout Sadie Fox. Hirsch’s time of 26 minutes, 30 seconds in the 7.5-kilometer skate race was less than a minute off Fox’s winning time.
And Hirsch had plenty of teammates backing her up.
“We didn’t exactly plan to finish the way we did, but we certainly knew we could pull it off,” said third-place finisher Cassidy Soistman. “I am incredibly proud of my team for doing such an amazing job.”
Soistman, a junior, finished the race in 28:01, while sophomore Aspen Daigle picked up Homer’s third and final top-five spot with a fourth-place finish in 28:02.
Soistman said she was happy with both her team’s performance, and her own individual performance. She chalked some of that success up to decent ski conditions on the mountain — as well as some rowdy fans.
“The weather was nice, and the new snow made the tricky trail not as icy,” she explained. “And, of course, the spectators were fantastic, as always.”
On the boys’ side, junior Brian Rowe continued his strong showing this season with a third-place finish at Boroughs. Rowe finished the 10k skate race with a time of 32:12, while teammate Jake Worsfold took eighth in 34:37. Sophomore Ghen Sasakura finished in 34:41 for ninth place and helped secure the M’s third-place finish.
Soldotna’s Dillon Jensen and Kenai’s Travis Cooper finished first and second, respectively.
Soistman said she felt that having the “home trail advantage” helped out Homer skiers because they knew what was coming next on the trail.
It’s an advantage she and her teammates hope will holdover into this weekend’s Region III Championships, also at Lookout Mountain.
“I feel like we are all improving a lot individually with our technique — and we’re seeing good results,” Soistman said. “The overall team is definitely improving as well.”
Following this weekend’s Regional meet on Friday and Saturday, the Homer teams will travel to Anchorage’s Kincaid Park Feb. 22-23 for State competition.
“We’re all excited,” Soistman said. “And very nervous!”
The 2013 Region III Nordic Ski Championships include teams from Homer, Seward, Kenai, Skyview, Soldotna, Nikiski, Colony, Palmer, Wasilla, Grace, Su Valley and Valdez.
Friday’s competition kicks off with a 5k, individual start classic race. Varsity boys begin at 1 p.m., to be immediately followed by the boys JV races. Varsity girls start at 2 p.m., also followed by girls JV races.
On Saturday, the mass-start freestyle races kick off with the girls’ varsity (5k) at 11 a.m., followed by JV girls at 11:30 a.m. The varsity boys’ race (7.5k) starts at 12:15 p.m. Boys JV will follow at 12:45 p.m.
Results and awards will take place in the stadium each day after all races are finished.
Team times: 1. Homer, 1:52:28; 2. Soldotna, 1:58:29; 3. Kenai, 2:02:14.
Homer Varsity 7.5k skate
2. Barae Hirsch, 26:30; 3. Cassidy Soistman, 28:01; 4. Aspen Daigle, 28:02; 8. Tisha Lovett, 29:55; 11. Rachel Ellert, 31:09; 22. Lydia Arndt, 35:51.
Mariah Vantrease, 33:13; 5. Isabel Beach, 36:05; 6. Claire Swanson, 26:24.
Team times: 1. Kenai, 2:12:29; 2. Soldotna, 2:15:51; 3. Homer, 2:21:27.
Homer Varsity 10k skate
1. Dillon Jensen, Sol, 30:58; 2. Travis Cooper, Ken, 31:09; 3. Brian Rowe, 32:12; 8. Jake Worsfold, 34:37; 9. Ghen Sasakura, 34:41; 20. Josh Vantrease, 39:58.
3. Jake Krisintu, 40:21; 10. Ryan Navrot, 47:36; 11. Taurey Bowden, 49:02.
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