Lady Mariner skiers finish third at Regional meet
February 24th | Sean Pearson
Junior Jacob Davis leads the way for the Homer boys' team
By Sean Pearson
While cross-country skiing is not generally known as a contact sport, it's not without its bumps and bruises.
Just ask Homer High School sophomore Katia Holmes.
After finishing sixth in Friday's 5K classic competition at the Region III Championships at Government Peak Recreation Area, Holmes found herself focused and ready for the mass start of Saturday's freestyle (skate) race.
"Right at the beginning of the start, the course had a tiny bottleneck that led up to a short hill," Holmes explained. "It shoved 44 frantic racers and flying skis and poles together; not a really graceful combo."
Holmes said she had a pretty good position — having navigated her way through some flailing skiers — and was feeling confident.
"But when I hit the hill, somebody's pole got right in front of my ski and I tripped," she said. "Then a Palmer skier who was right behind me tripped and fell on top of me."
And apparently, this wasn't just a friendly Twister-game position.
"When I say fell, I mean she COVERED me," Holmes said. "Looking back now, it must have been funny to watch us peel ourselves off of each other while sliding down the hill."
It wasn't, however, very funny at the time.
"I was frustrated and panicked knowing other racers were pouring past us by the second," she said. "When we finally untangled ourselves, I had to take a few deep breaths and tell myself to not give up and keep going — even though I knew it was a huge setback."
Despite her setback, Holmes fought her way back up through the pack to finish in 11th place — just before teammate Katie Davis. Davis finished 10th in Friday's classic race, while Autumn Daigle finished 12th on Friday and 13th on Saturday.
As a team, the Lady Mariner skiers finished third.
Junior Jacob Davis led the way for the Homer boys' team with an eighth-place finish on Friday and 12th-place finish in Saturday's 7.5K freestyle.
Homer coach Alison O'Hara said classic skiing takes a bit more finesse and subtle technique than skate skiing, and she is happy to see some of her younger skiers beginning to show mastery of it.
"The lead Lady Mariner skiers are freshmen and sophomores," she explained. "With a little more training and technique work, these gals are going to be formidable."
"This year's ladies varsity team is pretty young compared to previous years," she said. "We are already pretty consistently getting on the podium, which is awesome considering we are a young team up against some really strong competition from much bigger schools like Kenai and Soldotna."
For Holmes, things can only get better from here.
"I am so proud of our small team and very excited to see what the next few years will bring," she said. "We are feeling very strong and we're excited to kick some butt at State this coming weekend!"
Region III Championships
Friday-Saturday, Government Peak Recreation Area
Friday 5K Classic: 6. K. Holms, 16:53; 10. K. Davis, 17:04; 12. A. Daigle, 17:35; 32. M. Alexson, 19:18; 37. D. Kettle, 20:11;
Saturday 5K freestyle: 11. K. Holms, 16:31; 12. K. Davis, 16:46; 13. A. Daigle, 16:51; 25. D. Kettle, 18:00; 26. M. Alexson, 18:02;
Friday 5K Classic: 8. J. Davis, 14:22; 16. C. Rauch, 15;08; 25. T. Scholz, 15:46; 26. D. Waclawski, 16:02; 40. B. Kettle, 17:52; 44. E. Super, 19:31;
Saturday 7.5K freestyle: 12. J. Davis, 22:11; ; 15. C. Rauch, 22:30; 21. T. Scholz, 23:24; 30. D. Waclawski, 24:55; 35. B. Kettle, 26:07; 37. E. Super, 26:30.