Rock climbing junkies roughed-up their calluses on Saturday for the fourth annual HoWL Climbing Competition at the Bay Club. This year’s turnout brought climbers from as far as Anchorage and Yosemite with professional routes set by Anchorage’s Alaska Rock Gym route setters.
The 17 climbers competed in various divisions such as beginner, intermediate, open, lead and speed. Each division has participants climb three judged routes. Judges base their scoring on difficulty of route, the number of holds the competitors successfully reach, and cleanliness of climb.
Nine months of serious swimming has paid off for 10 of Homer’s best swimmers who leave next weekend for Anchorage to compete in the biggest swimming meet in the state, Junior Olympics at Bartlett High School.
“We start in September and go until April. It’s at least three hours of swim practice five days a week and even more during the high school season,” said 14-year-old Lauren Kuhns.
After a long ski season, the Mariners' weathered Nordic ski team describes the season's finale at state in one word: Relieved.
In the last leg of her last race of the season, junior Cassidy Soistman says all she could do was focus on finishing.
"I couldn't wait to be done," said Soistman.
The Mariners Nordic ski team placed 13th for boys and girls overall against 22 other high school teams from around the state. The three-day state meet was held at Kincaid Park in Anchorage.
In the last meet of the regular season, the Mariners Nordic ski team dominated the top 10 at the Seward Invite last weekend in the 6K skate ski race.
“It was a smaller meet this weekend with a fast and challenging course,” said Head Coach Eric Groth.
The last of the Besh Cup races also took place last weekend in Fairbanks, decreasing the number of skiers at the meet in Seward. In addition, a few Mariners skiers suffering from the seasonal flu outbreak prevented them from racing.
Volunteers flocked to the Ohlson Mountain Lookout Trails last weekend to prep the ski trails for the Homer Invitational ski meet, hosting 13 teams from the Valley to Valdez. Race organizers were optimistic that the races would go on, despite poor snow conditions.
The Soldotna boys and Grace Christian girls won team the team titles.
The Soldotna boys won at 1 hour, 29 minutes, 48 seconds. Grace was second and Kenai was third. On the girls side, Grace finished at 1:47:46, while SoHi was second and Homer was third.
The pool at the Kate Kuhns Aquatic Center will be making a lot of splashes this weekend for the Region III Swim and Dive Championships. Nearly 275 athletes from 14 schools from as far away as Nome, Unalaska, Valdez and Cordova, have landed in Homer to participate in the meet.
The much-anticipated region championship has been three months in the making for Homer High School Athletic Director Pam Newton and her team.
“This event takes the entire school and a lot of organizations to put on something of this calibre,” said Newton.
It’s only natural that an entire season’s worth of practice would get a team to its peak performance. With just one week until Regions, which Homer will host, the Mariners’ swim and dive team has put discipline and dedication at the top of their list.
Last week’s three-day meet at Palmer saw the Mariners at their peak performance with best times across the board for the swim team, and a new school record set for the dive team.