Reese Hanneman (FAST) and UAF student Rebecca Konieczny were the winners in Saturday’s Flint Hills Resources Town Series event, the Fairbanks Youth Sports Classic Sprint.
Comfortable temperatures in the mid-to-high 20’s, Fahrenheit greeted the racers – an improvement of nearly 50 Fahrenheit degrees from the first race in the series, held two weeks earlier.
The day started off with the elementary and junior high races before getting to the elmination heats for the high school, adult and masters skiers. A total of 42 skiers participated in the Elementary and junior high classes.
Grade K-1-2 winners were Maggie Druckenmiller and Eric DiFolco. In grade 3-4 it was Amber Hajdukovich and Kevin Baird. Amber Lenze and Sam Hiltenbrand were the fastest grade 5 and 6 skiers, and Kiana Hamlin and Connor Smith were the junior high winners. The K-1-2 and 3-4 classes went 500m, grades 5-6 went 800m, and the junior high skiers skied a 1Km course.
One hundred twenty-three skiers participated in the elimination heats: 20 women in the “A” bracket, 27 women in the “B” bracket, 41 men in the “A” bracket, 22 men in the “B” bracket, and 13 masters men.
West Valley’s Sophia Walling-Bell captured the title in the “B” bracket, just ahead of teammate Kira Leonard. Lathrop’s Sarah King was third and Nichole Rood had one of North Pole’s best results of the day in 4th. WVHS skiers placed 5-6-7 with Mary Brunner of NSCF in 8th.
Erich Hoefler (FAST) won the “B” bracket for boys with Elliot Hummel of West Valley second and Ryan Rigo of Lathrop third, just ahead of teammate Connor Hajdukovich. Junior Nordic Comp’s David Swenson was fifth. Aven Bross (Lathrop), Dan Jelinek (Lathrop) and Gavin DeWilde (North Pole), making a good conversion from running, placed 6-7-8.
Rebecca Konieczny took control of the women’s “A” final right from the gun, with fellow UAF student Heather Edic in second for virtually the whole race. Hannah Boyer (West Valley) led the high school skiers in third overall, with teammates Eliza Rorabaugh and Elizabeth Whisenhant placing 4-5. Davya Flaharty (NSCF) was sixth and Lathrop Malemutes Claire Ferree and Mikayla Hamlin in seventh and eighth.
The final race of the day was the most exciting, with David Norris (FAST) and Reese Hanneman (FAST) battling throughout the heat for the top spot. At the finish, with both skiers jump-double-poling it was Hanneman by a little less than a ski-length over Norris. Tyson Flaharty (FAST) was third, but never threatened the leaders in the second half of the heat. John Parry (Alaska Nanooks) nipped 2007 NCAA Champion Marius Korthauer for fourth by a boot-length in the closest finish of the day. UAF student Lars Arneson was sixth, Wyatt Mayo (FAST) sixth, and Logan Hanneman of Lathrop was eighth after breaking a pole while attempting a pass at the top of the last climb.