• Girls take third, boys fifth as they ready for State competition
By Sean Pearson
The nearly 200 high school skiers who competed in the Region III Nordic Ski Championship at Lookout Mountain Trails over the weekend would probably agree that the clear blue skies and copious amounts of sunshine made for some beautiful skiing on Ohlson Mountain.
Many will tell you that the freshly packed snow and exceptionally groomed trails certainly added to their ski experience.
And, while different segments of the course proved challenging for a variety of reasons, the overall consensus of skiers pointed to the hills on the course as being particularly excruciating.
“The hills were definitely the hardest part of the trails,” said Mariner junior Brian Rowe. “And there are a lot of hills.”
Perhaps none, however, as formidable as the big hill on the back side of the mountain.
“The trail conditions were awesome, but it was a tough course,” said Cassidy Soistman. “The hardest part was probably the big hill that we had to climb from the bottom to the highest point on Ohlson Mountain.”
Freshman Barae Hirsch agreed.
“The hardest part of the course for me was definitely the really long hill on the backside of Ohlson Mountain,” said Hirsch, who led the Lady Mariners with a sixth-place finish in the 5-kilometer classic race, and fifth place in Saturday’s 5k skate ski.
The Homer team took third overall.
Soistman finished eighth in Friday’s 5k classic race, but was unable to finish the skate race on Saturday because of an asthma attack. However, she still qualified for State competition at Kincaid Park in Anchorage this weekend.
A wave of Grace Christian Lady Grizzlies crossed the finish line well ahead of their competition — beating their closest non-Grace Christian finishers by nearly a full minute. Their dominance on the course did little to intimidate Lady Mariner skiers, who were both physically and mentally prepared for competition.
“While I’m competing, I think about my team and how we all count,” Soistman said. “I just keep challenging myself.”
Hirsch said she thinks about many different things while she skis.
“Sometimes a song will replay in my head,” she said. “Mostly, I just try to focus on my technique, the transitions required from the trails and pushing myself.”
In boys’ action, junior Brian Rowe finished 12th in Friday’s classic race, with teammate Ghen Sasakura coming in at 18th. Sasakura edged Rowe by two seconds in Saturday’s skate race.
“I really liked the trails,” Rowe said, “but I had two bad races.”
The Mariner boys’ team placed fifth overall.
This week, Homer skiers gear up for State competition that starts tomorrow, and Soistman said the team is having short, easy practices so muscles don’t tire out.
Hirsch agreed on practice plans.
“We are getting ready for State by tapering in our training,” she said. “We want to have as much energy as possible for when we’re going to need it.”
State competition begins on Thursday at Kincaid Park in Anchorage.
Friday Classic 5k Race
6. Barae Hirsch, 19:03.3; 8. Cassidy Soistman, 19:12.5; 18. Aspen Daigle, 20:25.8; 29. Tisha Lovett, 21:41.9; 37. Rachel Ellert, 22:32.6; 44. Lydia Arndt, 24:05.9.
12. Brian Rowe, 16:01.8; 18. 18. Ghen Sasakura, 16:30.7; 27. Jake Worsfold, 17:28.0; 43. Josh Vantrease, 18:39.1; 46. Jakob Krisintu, 19:37.9; 47. Ryan Navrot, 19:46.8; 49. Quinn Alward, 20:32.8.
15. Isabel Beach, 24:09.3; 28. Claire Swanson, 19:12.5.
38. Taurey Bowden, 23:06.0; 42. Ryley Chesser, 25:25.2.
5. Barae Hirsch, 16:31.2; 8. Aspen Daigle, 17:17.4; 22. Tisha Lovett, 18:15.3; 33. Rachel Ellert, 20:06.6; 40. Lydia Arndt, 21:36.3; Cassidy Soistman, DNF.
Boys Varsity 7.5k
9. Ghen Sasakura, 20:46.0; 10. Brian Rowe, 20:48.8; 18. Jake Worsfold, 22:19.1; 30. Josh Vantrease, 23:50.9; 46. Jakob Krisintu, 26:06.1; 47. Quinn Alward, 27:07.5; 48. Ryan Navrot, 28:39.1.
Girls JV 5k
11. Isabel Beach, 22:06.0; 13. Claire Swanson, 22:10.1.
Boys JV 7.5k
37. Taurey Bowden, 31:53.5; 41. Riley Chesser, 32:51.5.
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