UAF Skiers Dominate First Race in 10th Annual Flint Hills Town Race Series
The UAF Ski Team displayed depth and speed Saturday in walking away with
the first four women's and first five men's finishers in the Fairbanks
Youth Sports Season Opener, the first race in the 10th Annual Flint
Hills Resources Town Race Series. Coming two weeks after the SuperTour
opened up the national calendar, this event kicked off the local racing
scene. Well over 200 skiers finished the race, which included distances
ranging from 500m to 7.5km for skiers from Kindergarten through the
Social Security crowd.
More than 60 women took the line for the mass-start 5Km Free Technique
event. UAF senior All-America Johanna Turunen of Finland led the pack
right from the start, but she was dogged until the last couple of climbs
by three freshmen Nanooks: Julia Coulter (Traverse City, MI), Elisabeth
Haberman (Soldotna, AK), and Anna Coulter (Traverse City). Turunen
clocked a 16:16, four seconds in front of J Coulter, who was just two
seconds in front of Haberman and A Coulter who crossed in a near
After local master skier Melissa Lewis (1st 30-39 women) crossed in
fifth, West Valley HS senior Christina Gillis and her junior teammate
Becca Rorabaugh, in 6th and 8th respectively, sandwiched UAF Assistant
Coach Ingrid Olson. Gillis and Rorabaugh were skiing as independents,
having not yet completed the required 10 team practices. In ninth
place, Karin Gillis (1st 40-49 women) suffered a defeat at the hands of
her daughter for the first time in several starts.
Former West Valley HS skier Tyson Flaharty, now a junior at UAF, led the
men's 7.5Km race wire-to-wire. After building a lead of a few seconds
on the first, relatively flat 1.5Km loop, Flaharty used the next few
hills to increase his lead, holding to an 11-second margin at the
finish. Jonas Tetlie (Norway) edged Nanook teammate Erik Wickstrom
(Sweden) by two seconds for the runner-up sport, and UAF's Marius
Korthauer (Germany) was third, 1:06 behind Flaharty.
Anders Gillis, a West Valley HS grad who is now a freshman at UAF but is
redshirting and will be taking his second semester at a Swedish
skigymnasium, was the first junior, 1:29 back. David Norris, a freshman
at Lathrop HS of Fairbanks and 2nd-year J2, skied a very strong second
half of the race to move up into sixth, only 18 seconds behind Gillis.
Norris was 1:10 ahead of the next high school skier, Karl Schauer of
Lathrop, and 1:19 ahead of the third high school skier, West Valley's
Sam Viavant. Colony High coach Mark Strabel and Lathrop High coach Jim
Lokken (1st 40-49 male) were 7th and 9th, respectively.
The local Fairbanks area racing scene keeps going next weekend with the
Turkey Day Races (relays Friday at Birch Hill, individual Saturday at
Salcha), then continues with a Chest Medicine Fairbanks Distance Series
race on December 4th, and the Beaver Sports Classic Sprint, the 2nd race
in the Flint Hills Resources Town Race Series on the 10th. Most of
these races will feature the top high school skiers, as well as the UAF
team and the best masters skiers in the area.