Tyler Kornfield nipped Alaska Nanook teammates David Norris and Erik Soederstrom in the second race of the 15th Annual Flint Hills Resources Town Race Series, the Fairbanks Youth Sports Classic Sprint, Saturday, December 4, in the late-afternoon dusk at Birch Hill Recreation Area.
Kornfield’s photo-finish victory gained him a measure of revenge agains Soederstrom, who last year at the USSA National Championships in Anchorage pipped Kornfield in the Men’s Final.
For a little club race, the men’s field packed a lot of horsepower. In addition to the podium inhabitants, the men’s final included Tyson Flaharty (Goldstream Sports, 4th), Lex Treinen (Alaska Nanooks, 5th) and Logan Hanneman (FAST/Lathrop HS, 6th). Nanook Lars Arneson and FXC/West Valley HS’ Vanya Rybkin rounded out the field.
Had the race been a USSA National Ranking List event, and had there been a qualifying round with the same top five men being the five fastest qualifiers, the USSA NRL penalty would have been 60.86. Not bad for a club race!
The front end of the men’s pack stayed pretty tight for the entire race. Soederstrom was employing the double-pole much more than the others at the front, but he did have grip wax on his skis. Near the high point of the course, the first four were neck-and-neck before beginning the descent back to the stadium where the final uphill climb began.
As they entered the home stretch, Norris had a slight lead in the right lane, with Kornfield coming on strong in the middle, then Soederstrom popping out from behind Kornfield with about 40m to go. Both Kornfield and Soederstrom closed on Norris in the final meters. Kornfield’s stretch, which he employed successfully two weeks ago in nosing out UAA’s Erik Bjornsen in the final stage of the Goldstream Sports Tour de Ski for the overall title, proved again sufficient, as he surpassed Norris by less than one boot-length (see photo).
Soederstrom had just a little too much ground to make up from where he got into an empty lane. After the race he requested that the course be lengthened by 30 meters!
The women’s bracket, though not at power-packed as the men’s still included some top-notch skiers and some tight races. Alaska Nanook Theresia Schnurr was the winner, not far ahead of FXC/West Valley HS Hanna Boyer, and Boyer’s teammates Eliza Rorabaugh and Elizabeth Whisenhant. Megan Edic (FXC/Lathrop HS), Maria Bray (NSC Fairbanks), Ema Mayo (FXC/West Valley) and Claire Ferree (FXC/Lathrop HS) took places 5-8.