Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 6:05 PM on Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Skiers begin New Year with speed, surprise

By Lindsay Johnson
Staff Writer

Thrills and spills characterized Homer's first high school ski race of 2011.

Mariner cross-country skiers raced well on the icy fast Tsalteshi Trails at Skyview on Saturday, placing fifth, sixth, eighth, 16th and 24th of 25 mixed relay teams.

Skyview stepped up to host the relay event less than 24 hours before it started, after Seward canceled its Dawn 'Til Dusk relay due to marginal snow conditions.

Coach Jan Spurkland said Soldonta's groomers made a diligent effort on the icy trails so that the skiing was good, fast and exciting.

Homer's A team of Parker Sorenson, Alaine Miller, Andre Lovett and Marie Schmidt had a bout of bad luck, with one crash resulting in a broken ski for Lovett, who ran part of his leg. Though he was able to get another ski and finish the race, the Ms' B team (Brian Rowe, Cassidy Soistman, Kevin Rowe and Emily Schmidt) beat A across the line.

"The second team really skied incredibly well. They stepped up once the top team was out of the running," Spurkland said.

The race was the first of the season for Miller, who injured her knee last year. "It was exciting to have her back on the team," said Spurkland.

Spurkland is generally enthusiastic about the Mariners' progress at this point in the season.

"They look sharp and we're kind of in a building phase now to get ready for regions and state. Up until our New Year's thaw we had such great skiing here. I think the team did a good job of taking advantage of that," Spurkalnd said.

Full race results may be found online at www.homernews.com/sports.

The team goes back to Tsalteshi this weekend for the Skyview Invite.

A dinner and auction fundraiser for the team will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Hall's barn. Tickets are $80. The meal features gourmet food by Carrie Thurmond of Two Sisters Bakery.