The Lady Mariner Nordic ski team smoked the competition last weekend at the Borough ski meet held at Lookout Mountain. The boys team held strong, taking third overall against Kenai, Skyview, Seward, and SoHi.
"It was a tough course and I thought the team did well. We practiced the course all week," said Head Coach Eric Groth.
With a home course advantage, the Mariners proved Saturday that they have been practicing hard on Lookout Trails' steep hills and tight turns.
"We have one of the toughest courses in the state; lots of technical down hills and long climbs. When you are out there, a lot of it is mental," said Groth.
The Lady Mariners showed that they have mastered the mental with four skiers making it to the top 10 in the 7.5km skate ski race.
Homer's Barae Hirsch finished second behind Soldotna's Sadie Fox, who covered the ground in 25 minutes, 49 seconds, to take the win. The Mariners took the next three slots to get a leg up on the team title, with Hirsch finishing second in 26:30, Cassidy Soistman taking third in 28:01 and Aspen Daigle finishing fourth in 28:02. Tisha Lovett also finished eighth for Homer.
Soistman and Daigle had a photo finish with Soistman crossing the line just a second ahead of Daigle.
"I am really happy with my results. I pushed myself hard and it paid off," said Daigle.
As one of the veterans of the girls team, Soistman believes the team's successes stem from the team's strong supportive nature.
"Our entire team did amazing. I am so proud of everyone. We all had a ton of effort put in and it paid off," said Soistman.
The boys team also showed their hard work on the 10 km course with three skiers finishing in the top 10 and an excellent performance by Jake Worsfold.
"Jake had a good course. He just kept getting faster and faster as the race went on. Both he and Ghen (Sasakura) beat some pretty good skiers from the other schools," said Groth.
"I really stepped it up a notch this weekend. I kept a steady pace and kicked it into gear the last kilometer," said Worsfold.
At the Homer Invite in mid December, Worsfold set his goal for the season to "catch up to Ghen." Saturday, Worsfold accomplished his goal by sliding across the finish line four seconds in front of his teammate, taking a comfortable spot in eighth.
"Eighth place is really good for me and I'm just hoping it's not a fluke," said Worsfold.
Veteran skier Brian Rowe reclaimed his top spot in third on Saturday and congratulated Worsfold on his improvement.
"I'm really impressed with how our guys' team did. This was Jake's first top 10 finish and we had three skiers in the top 10," said Rowe.
The Mariners have this week to recover from Boroughs. Groth said he will work on downhills, steep turns and sprinting in preparation for Regions this weekend.
"You never know with these things. We will have a lot of competition from Grace Christian. It will be an interesting two-day event," said Groth.
Homer residents can support the Mariners Nordic team at Regions on Friday starting at 1 p.m. and Saturday at 11a.m. All races will be held at the Lookout Mountain Trails on Ohlson Mountain.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Ski Meet
Saturday at Homer, Lookout Mountain
Team times -- 1. Kenai, 2 hours, 12 minutes, 29 seconds; 2. Soldotna, 2:15:51; 3. Homer, 2:21:27; 4. Skyview, 2:37:54.
Individual 10-kilometer skate
1. Dillon Jensen, Sol, 30:58; 2. Travis Cooper, Ken, 31:09; 3. Brian Rowe, Hom, 32:12; 4. Jordan Theisen, Ken, 32:49; 5. Colton Diehl, Sol, 33:18; 6. Joe Bressler, Ken, 34:04; 7. James Butler, Ken, 34:27; 8. Jake Worsfold, Hom, 34:37; 9. Ghen Sasakura, Hom, 34:41; 10. Luke Michael, Sol, 34:57; 11. Fox Michaud, Ken, 35:41; 12. Olen Danielson, Ken, 35:56; 13. Levi Michael, Sol, 36:38; 14. Tanner Best, Sol, 37:14; 15. Nate Mole, Ken, 37:35; 16. Jong Kim, Sol, 37:39; 17. Joe Rife, Sol, 38:11; 18. Brenner Musgrave, Sky, 38:45; 19. Sterling Stasak, Sky, 38:54; 20. Josh Vantrease, Hom, 39:58; 21. Kyle Austin, Sky, 40:04; 22. Sky Schlung, Sky, 40:12; 23. Jeremiah Hudson, Sky, 41:50.
Team times -- 1. Homer, 1:52:28; 2. Soldotna, 1:58:29; 3. Kenai, 2:02:14; 4. Skyview, 2:17:47.
Individual 7.5-kilometer skate
1. Sadie Fox, Sol, 25:49; 2. Barae Hirsch, Hom, 26:30; 3. Cassidy Soistman, Hom, 28:01; 4. Aspen Daigle, Hom, 28:02; 5. Kirsten Nyquist, Ken, 28:02; 6. Hannah Pothast, Sol, 28:42; 7. Lindsay Floyd, Ken, 29:54; 8. Tisha Lovett, Hom, 29:55; 9. Lindsey Kromrey, Sew, 30:04; 10. Mika Morton, Sky, 30:15; 11. Rachel Ellert, Hom, 31:09; 12. Taylor Gilmore, Sol 31:32; 13. Mikaela Salzetti, Ken, 31:32; 14. Danielle McCormick, Sol, 32:26; 15. Beverly Schindler, Ken, 32:45; 16. Olivia Hutchings, Sol, 32:53; 17. Madison Nelson, Sol, 33:18; 18. Casey Neill, Sky, 33:47; 19. Maddeline Michaud, Ken, 33:50; 20. Mieka Chythlook, Sky, 35:25; 21. Xochi Harbison, Sol, 35:50; 22. Lydia Arndt, Hom, 35:51; 23. Brittany Hollers, Sky, 38:21.