Homer Alaska - Sports

Story last updated at 3:56 PM on Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mariners finish well at biggest ski meet of season

BY Hal Spence
For the Homer News

Mariner Ski Coach Jan Spurkland said last week that he wanted his racers to get an early-season look at how they stack up against statewide competition. At Friday and Saturday's giant Lynx Loppett event at Anchorage's Kincaid Park, his boys' and girls' teams got an eyeful.

The largest such event of the state ski season drew more than 600 skiers from across Alaska, comprising 16 boys' and 15 girls' teams. Service High School boys won the team event, while South High School topped the girls' team scoring.

Ski-Your-Age set for Dec. 26

The Homer Mariner Ski Team hosts a Ski-Your-Age event in Homer the day after Christmas. The public is invited to ski their ages in kilometers. Coach Jan Spurkland said the event was "kind of a cool deal," and it should be fun working off some Christmas meal calories. However, given that participants are being encouraged to bring and share leftovers, the days exercise could prove a wash if skiers are vulnerable to temptation.The event starts about 9:30 a.m. through 4 p.m. Trail conditions will determine where the event is held.

Mariner boys and girls pulled off respectable team finishes, however, placing seventh and 10th respectively. In the process, they may have given other teams notice that Homer is a contender.

"The girls' team, especially, had a fantastic weekend, showing vast improvement individually and in team results," Spurkland said. "It was a great showing led by Marie Schmidt who had a breakout classic race in Friday and a good race Saturday."

Schmidt, a senior, led all Homer girls, finishing 31st with a two-day time of 36:19.2, followed by senior Kaya Morelli in 49th place at 38:21.0, sophomore Cassidy Soitsman in 56th place at 39:09.8 and senior Alaine Miller in 61st place at 39:32.7.

The boys' team had a more difficult time Friday, Spurkland noted, but ended up in seventh place for the weekend.

"Seventh place was great," Spurkland said. "We got to see where we need to be to make it into the top five teams in state, which I think is well within their grasp now."

Homer boys posted a combined two-day time of 2:29:08.4 Senior Parker Sorenson was Homer's top finisher registering a 27th place with a combined two-day time of 36:33.1. Senior Andre Lovett crossed the line in 32nd place at 37:05:7, followed by sophomore Brian Rowe in 33rd place at 37:24.7 and senior Kyle Wentz at 38:04.9.

Spurkland said he was particularly proud of Rowe and Wentz who put in great Saturday performances.

Team scores are determined by combining the times of the top four skiers by adding times from Friday's 5.2 kilometer classic race to those of Saturday's freestyle event — 7.5-K for the boys, and 5.2-K for the girls.

Service High School chalked up a swift 2:16:30.7 in winning the boys' event, while South High girls had a winning time of 2:08:23.3.

Other Mariner finishers included: (boys) Dan Adickes, senior, 62nd, 39:52.2; Vegard Unhjem, senior, 72nd, 41:08.0; Ghen Sasakura, freshman, 84th, 43:26.8; (girls) Mady Gerard, sophomore, 62nd, 39:33.8; Emily Schmidt, senior, 77th, 41:03.4; Katie Schmidt, senior, 92nd, 45:52.0.

Mariner skiers get a break from competition for the holidays, but are looking ahead to the Jan. 7 meet in Seward.