Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 4:12 PM on Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mariner girls skiers finish second at Colony Invite; boys place seventh

Morris News Service - Alaska

With temperatures rising just enough to hold a race, Kenai Peninsula skiers were able to hold their own Friday afternoon at Colony, as the Soldotna boys won the team title, while the Homer girls were the top finishing peninsula school, finishing second in the team standings.

Bree Mucha of Soldotna won the girls race with a time of 21 minutes, 53 seconds, 1 minute, 30 seconds, ahead of Anna Trujillo of Grace. Marie Schmidt from Homer finished third, Kirstin Nyquist was Kenai's top finisher in 12th, and Mika Morton finished 22nd to lead Skyview.

Homer had three skiers in the top 10, with Kaya Morelli and Cassidy Soistman finishing sixth and 10th, respectively. Sadie Fox finished fourth along with Mucha's win to pace Soldotna.

In the boys race, Soldotna had three skiers in the top six to win the team title. Dillon Jensen finished third, Jonas Wikstrom was fourth, and Luke Michael finished sixth. Daniel Serventi from Grace Christian won the race in 23 minutes, 31 seconds.

Kenai's top boys finisher was Travis Cooper in 10th, Homer was led by Brian Rowe in 11th and Bud Sparks was the highest finisher for Skyview in 27th.

Saturday's race schedule was canceled due to the cold temperatures. Minus four is the coldest allowable temperature for racing, and the mercury never reached that Saturday.

The girls 5K classic race was a golden victory despite the silver medal. Only 39 seconds behind top seeded Grace Christian, the Mariner girls team is in the running to take Regions.

"When we started the season, the girls would be two to three minutes behind Grace, but now they are less than a minute behind," said Head Coach Jan Spurkland.

"The girls have been improving all across the board from the experienced seniors to novice freshman. It's really great to see."

The canceled race on Saturday came as a disappointment to the close winners.

"We really wanted to race on Saturday to try to beat them [Grace Christian], but we didn't get a chance to," said senior Kaya Morelli. "As long as everyone stays healthy and works hard, we will be able to get there."

The boys 7.5K race on Friday came as the Mariners' team was a little short-handed.

"Half the boys varsity team couldn't make it because of sickness or injury which knocked us out of the race," said Spurkland.

Despite the rough weekend, the boys are in high spirits and are already looking into the future.

"Our boys team is gong to come back strong at our next three races, we had a bit of a rough spot but when we are all healed we're going to do great," said top skier Andre Lovett. "We really want to win."

The Mariners get a break this weekend to heal their immune systems and prepare for Boroughs in Soldotna on Feb. 11 and Regions in Palmer the following weekend.

Angelina Skowronski and the Peninsula Clarion contributed to this report.

Colony Invitational Friday

BOYS Team scores — 1, Soldotna; 2nd, Colony; 3rd, Grace; 4th, Palmer; 5th, Valdez; 6th, Kenai; 7th, Homer; 8th, Skyview.

GIRLS Team scores — 1, Grace; 2nd, Homer; 3rd, Kenai; 4th, Palmer; 5th, Soldotna; 6th, Colony; 7th, Skyview.

Homer boys varsity results: 11. Brian Rowe, Homer, 26:23; 28. Ghen Sasakura, Homer, 28:51; 35. Kyle Wentz, Homer, 30:53; 37. 40. Josh Vantrease, Homer, 31:39; 42.

Homer girls varsity results: 3. Marie Schmidt, Homer, 23:49; 4. 6. Kaya Morelli, Homer, 24:41; 10. Cassidy Soistman, Homer, 25:25; 11. Mady Gerard, Homer, 25:46; 27. Alaine Miller, Homer, 27:53; 29. Emily Schmidt, Homer, 28:07; 35. Katie Schmidt, Homer, 30:13;