Lack of snow on the trails didn't deter the Mariner Nordic ski team from competing in the first meet of the season at Headquarters Lake in Soldotna. The Flat-Out Flight Races was an unofficial meet attended by SoHi, Skyview, Kenai and Homer.
Skiers were split into three different flights based on their experience and skill level.
Mariner freshman Barae Hirsch dusted the competition and came in second place in Flight 1.
"I feel good about starting the season off on a positive note. I think I still have a lot to find out about how hard I can go, and I am excited to push myself," said Hirsch.
The second-year competitive skier says she is waiting for more snow for harder training, particularly with Ohlson Mountain's hills.
Only a handful of Homer's skiers attended the Flat-Out Flight Races, mainly due to participation in the Nutcracker ballet.
Head Coach Eric Groth is proud of his team's performance at their first race.
"Overall I think we did well. We have a young team of freshmen and sophomores so this meet allowed our newest skiers to get their race jitters out," said Groth.
In her first competitive race, freshman Rachel Ellert got the jitters out without skipping a beat on the course. Ellert came in fifth place out of 16 in Flight 3.
The Mariner boys also did well this last weekend. All skiers skied in the top two flights. Junior Brian Rowe coming off a spectacular diving season took third in Flight 1, and sophomore Ghen Sasakura took fourth in Flight 2.
The lessons continue as the team uses this week to review video Groth took of the skiers at the Flight Races to see where they need improvement in their technique.
"Every meet will give us an opportunity to learn what needs to be improved as a team and individually," said Groth.
In the meantime the team prays for snow atop Ohlson Mountain before the Homer Invitational scheduled for Dec. 14 and 15 to be held at the Lookout Mountain Trails. The Homer Invitational is the last big conference meet before winter break and will be a good platform for the Mariner team to asses their competition for the rest of the season.
Flat-Out Flat Races
Mariners' Boys Results Flight 1
3rd Brian Rowe 18:49.9
15th Jake Worsfold 23:04.3
4th Ghen Sasakura 21:59.6
7th Tianen Liu 24:36.9
10th Ryan Navrot 29:59.3
11th Jakob Krisintu 29:59.3
12th Ryley Chesser 30:34.1
Mariners' Girls Results Flight 1
2nd Barae Hirsch 23:57.0
5th Aspen Daigle 24:02.7
10th Lydia Arndt 30:16.6
5th Rachel Ellert 14:13.4
6th Mariah Vantrease 14:32.9