By Marc Swanson
Well…. At first it seemed to be a rewrite from Boroughs the week prior. The mighty Seahawk skiers left Seward in the biggest snow storm of the year (not really saying much now is it?) to arrive in Soldotna….bare roads, light skiff of new snow, and potentially marginal ski conditions. That said, never underestimate the powers and tenacity of the groomers. The Soldotna groomers must’ve been working / reworking the ice and trucking snow in from Georgia to create a course that was, considering everything, excellent and fast.
Five Seahawks competed at Regions: Brooke Estes, Logan Smith, Hunter Kratz, Nick Zweifel, and Jerry Swanson. Unlike other competitive sports, the vetting for next week’s State Competition relies on individual coach parameters. This coach takes into account the Borough and Region finishing times (varsity and junior varsity) to determine who will be able to ski within the field of big dogs in Anchorage. The pressure was on…. The skiers didn’t disappoint.
Fridays race was freestyle (skate) sent off at 15 second intervals. It makes it tough because the skiers don’t have any way to gauge how they are doing compared to the competition. Brooke headed out first and managed to secure her berth at State with a 7th place JV 5km finish with a time of 19:36. Not bad Brookey. Not bad at all. She made it to the podium…team jacket and all!
Zweifel had already secured his bus seat to Anchorage, he skied a decent 16:28.8 in the Varsity Race. It was Swanson that seemed especially hungry though. Skating by, the kid looked focused and ready for the course. Guess he was. He ended up with a 11th place finish (just off the podium) but with a personally satisfying and redeeming 16:23.2 time…highly notable for being 5.6 seconds faster than Zweifel. An elusive goal up to this point.
Not to be overshadowed was the Smith/Kratz contingency who skated to the finish in 19:16 and 19:48 respectively….and respectably. Both Logan and Hunter are newbies to the team and their times have been decreasing markedly with each sporadic meet. You’ll be seeing a lot more of these two in coming years.
The next day dawned cold (single digits) with a skiff of fresh rarified snow. Made waxing for the classic race low on stress, however the mighty Seahawks must’ve used up their energy from the day prior….certainly it couldn’t been the massive Mexican food…and dessert from the night prior…(hello?)…(it certainly could not have any connection to the fact that we’ve not had but a couple opportunities to ski on classic!) for their times were not quite as spectacular but still ink worthy.
Varsity: Zweifel: 27:21
JV: Swanson: 30:39 Smith: 35:48 Kratz: 36:14
JV: Estes: 26:03
We would like to post a warning that the State Ski competition (and thus the end of the 2013-14 ski season) is next weekend. Why the warning? I expect some massive dumps of snow next week that should last clean into June. Whadda year!