Frigid temperatures throughout Alaska couldn't keep many of the state's best skiers from turning out for the final races of the 2008 Besh Cup race series.
Besh Cup races #5 and #6 were originally scheduled for Salcha and Fairbanks on February 2nd and 3rd. The races were postponed a week due to cold temperatures in interior Alaska, which reached as as low as -67F in some places. The one-week delay was no help, as temperatures continued to hover around the -40 degree mark in Fairbanks (that's fahrenheit AND celsius) last week. Birch Hill is usually warmer than downtown Fairbanks, but it was still not above the FIS/USSA legal limit of -4 degrees F. Therefore, the races were moved to the Beach Lake Trails at Chugiak High School, where the Eagle River Nordic Ski Club did a fantastic job of hosting two races on very short notice.
Even with the change in venue, it was a chilly weekend. On both days the 11:00 AM start was delayed for an hour in order for the temperature to warm up above -4 F.
SATURDAY CLASSIC RACE
Saturday's event was an interval start classic race. The cold weather made for easy kick waxing, and the track was surprisingly fast considering the temperature.
In the women's J1/OJ/Senior 10 kilometer race, Becca Rorabaugh (APU Nordic Ski Center) edged out Amy Glen (Alaska Winter Stars) by six seconds, while Tazlina Mannix (APU/US Ski Team) was third. In the J2/J3 girls 5K race Karina Packer (AWS) was the winner, and there was a tie for second between Kate Backstrum (Alaska Nordic Racing) and Kinsey Loan (also ANR). Marion Woods (AWS) was the top J3 in that race. Sarrissa Lammers won the girls J4/J5 2K by a mere one second over Jane Hoefler (APUNSC).
In the men's J1/OJ/Senior 10K classic race, Tyson Flaharty led a parade of five APUNSC skiers at the top of the results. Anders Haugen was second and coach Frode Lillefjell was third. Reese Hanneman (Fairbanks Area Ski Team) was the top junior in 6th place. Not to be outdone by his brother, Logan Hanneman (FAST) was the winner of the J2/J3 boys 5K race, with Eric Ryan (AWS) second and Kyle Barnhart (APUNSC) third. Magnus Pedersen (AWS) won the boys J4/J5 2K race by six seconds over Jacob Bassett (APUNSC) and Tracen Knopp (ANR) was third.
SUNDAY FREE TECHNIQUE
The skate race on Sunday was the final race of the 2008 Besh Cup series, and also the last Alaskan qualifying race for Junior Olympics and Arctic Winter Games.
Tazlina Mannix was a winner by 27 seconds in the women's J1/OJ/Senior 5K race. She was followed by three of her APUNSC teammates, including Becca Rorabaugh in second and Kate Fitzgerald in third. J2 skier Karina Packer finished 5th overall, to complete her series sweep of the J2 Besh Cup races. J3 skiers Marion Woods and Maranda Merkes went 1-2 for the second time in two days in the 3K race. Hanna Gillis (NSCF) was third in the 3K event and Jane Hoefler was the top J4 in 5th place. Amber Lenze (Fairbanks Jr. Nordic) was winner of the 1K race.
Tyson Flaharty repeated his victory from Saturday in the men's J1/OJ/Senior race. He was once again followed by his APU teammates. This time Brent Knight was second and Frode Lillefjell was third. Darrin Markvardsen (BlackJack Ski Club) was the top junior in 5th place. Silas Talbot (AWS) edged Eric Ryan by a scant 0.1 seconds to win the J2 boys 5K race. Logan Hanneman was third. J3 skiers John Glen (AWS), Austin Hess (AWS), and Schyler Knopp (ANR) took the top three in the boys J3/J4 3K race. Magnus Pedersen was the top J4 in that event. In the J5/J6 boy's 1K race, brothers Tracen and Dawson Knopp finished first and second respectively, and Louie Bassett was third.
Complete results can be found at www.crosscountryalaska.org
At the conclusion of Sunday's race, Team Alaska for the 2008 USSA Junior Olympics and 2008 Arctic Winter Games were announced at Chugiak High School. Awards were also given to the top skiers in each class on the Besh Cup points list.
Finally, the coveted Besh Cup trophies were given to the top J1/OJ skier in the entire Besh Cup series. This year's winners of the Besh Cup trophies were Becca Rorabaugh and Reese Hanneman.
Cross Country Alaska would like to thank the Nordic Ski Clubs of Fairbanks and Salcha for doing everything necessary to make these races happen, even though we couldn't race at their venues. And a big thanks to the Eagle River Nordic Ski Club, which pulled off two great days of racing on short notice. CCAK and the skiers of Alaska are grateful to all the volunteers for making these races such a great event.
Here are Alaska's teams for Junior Olympics and Arctic Winter Games.
2008 Alaska Junior Olympic Team
The 2008 Junior Olympics will take place at Kincaid Park in Anchorage from March 9-15, 2008.
Karina Packer, Kinsey Loan, Emily Rogers, Kate Backstrum, Mackenzie Kanady, Annie Liotta
Scott Patterson, Eric Ryan, Logan Hanneman, Silas Talbot, Robert Hovda, Sam Dougherty
Becca Rorabaugh, Amy Glen, Jaime Bronga, Christina Gillis, Caitlin Patterson, Lauren Fritz, Ky Eiben, Rachelle Kanady, Kalysta Schmidt, Alyson Mcphetres, Kailey Mucha, Rebecca Mamrol, Esther Kennedy, Sarah Tegeler, Jessie Yeaton, Molly Watkins, Hanna Johnson, Heidi Rogers, Christina Knapp, Dana Tower, Camrin Dengel
Eric Packer, Reese Hanneman, Lex Treinen, Max Treinen, Cole Talbot, Michael Matteson, Darrin Markvardsen*, Tyler Kornfield, Patrick Johnson, Andrew Dougherty, Erick Romig, Kyle Fredrickson*, Galen Johnston, David Norris, Jordan Buetow, Don Haering, Karl Schauer, Josh Yeaton, Ryan Vangorder, Eric Hoffman, Bobby Miller, Erin Phillips
2008 Alaska Arctic Winter Games Team
The Arctic Winter Games will take place in Yellowknife, NWT, Canada from March 9-15, 2008.
Marion Woods, Hanna Gillis, Maranda Merkes, Ema Mayo
Kuba Grzeda, Schyler Knopp, Austin Hess, John Glen
Kryston Mcphetres, Jasmine Clock*, Rachael Schmoker, Allison Ross, Sierra Corsetti
Wyatt Mayo, Noah Hagen, Kyle Barnhart, Anders Nyquist
Marisa Rorabaugh, Heather Edic, Aurora Bowers, Rachel Carey
Gerry Hovda, Ian Wilkinson, Jacob Remington, Trent Semmens
* declined their spot on the team
Complete ranking lists for these teams can be found at www.crosscountryalaska.org
Race winner Tyson Flaharty, Photo: Davya Flaharty
Dylan Watts (382), Darrin Markvardsen (383), Andrew Dougherty (380), Photo: Janet Dougherty