South's Backstrum, West's Blanchet ski to classic championships at state meet

bbragg@adn.comFebruary 21, 2013 

— Instead of providing answers, the boys' classical race on the first day of the state skiing championships prompted one big question:

Who's the best skate-skier?

A mere four-tenths of a second separated the top four boys in Thursday's 7.5-kilometer classic race at Kincaid Park, a situation that all but guarantees drama for Friday's mass-start freestyle race. At stake is the title of Skimeister, awarded to the skier with the fastest total time in two individual races at the state championships.

Eric Backstrum of South won Thursday's classic race in 21 minutes, 41.5 seconds, edging Service's Jake Bassett by two-tenths of a second, East's Thomas O'Harra by three-tenths of a second and Max Donaldson of West Valley by four-tenths of a second.

The victory makes Backstrum a state champion, but his narrow margin means the race provided no clarity when it comes to figuring out who will be Skimeister.

Which brings us back to the big question: among Backstrum, Bassett, O'Harra and Donaldson, who is the best skate-skier?

"We'll see tomorrow," O'Harra said.

West sophomore Lydia Blanchet, meanwhile, took out most of the guesswork in the battle for girls' Skimeister honors. She dominated the 5-K classic race, winning in 16:40.7 for a 20-second gap over South's Marion Woods. Third-place Morgan Flynn of East trailed Blanchet by 50 seconds

"Oh my gosh. No way!" Blanchet said when she saw how big her margin of victory was.

"That'll change things (for Friday)," she said. "I'll be able to relax a little more going into the race."

Backstrum and company won't have that luxury.

"It's wild," Backstrum said. "Whoever finishes first is gonna be Skimeister. It's going to be a pretty intense race."

Backstrum collapsed to the ground when he crossed the finish line and didn't get up for a couple of minutes.

"I was so dead," he said, noting that a 7.5-kilometer race can be tricky.

"You don't want to go out easy like in a 10-K, but you don't want to go super-hard like a 5-K either," he said. "It's kind of an unknown. "Then to have the Lekisch Trail on the backside, it hurt so much, because you're so tired. You're kind of in survival mode."

Backstrum is the only senior among Thursday's top four. O'Harra is a junior and Bassett and Donaldson are both sophomores.

All four received split-times during the race that told them things were close.

"I heard I was 10 seconds out of first and it gave me a huge confidence boost," Bassett said. "Half a (kilometer) later I was three seconds out of first. I thought, 'Oh wow!' and I just went as hard as I could.

"It's the hardest I've ever pushed myself."

With about 2.5 kilometers to go, O'Harra learned he was right in the mix for the victory.

"My coach told me on Lekisch I was dead-even with Eric and Max Donaldson," he said. "Those are some fast guys. You've gotta go as hard as you can."

Donaldson, too, was spurred on when his coaches told him he was only a couple of seconds out of the lead.

"I used up everything I had," he said. "Thomas was right behind me the whole time and I knew if I slowed down it wouldn't be good. That helped."

The boys competed first Thursday, and the close finish did not go unnoticed by the girls.

"Hearing the news about the guys made us nervous," said Woods. "You knew everybody would bring their A game."

Blanchet said the boys' race made her a little sharper when it came time for the girls to race.

"It tells you not to zone out of your race," she said. "You've really got to focus and think about every little hill, every little corner. It made me pay attention to everything."

Woods, a senior who claimed the Skimeister award at last week's Cook Inlet Conference championships, will need to be more than 20 seconds faster than Blanchet in Friday's 7.5-kilometer skate race to become the state Skimeister.

While the story of the boys race was the four guys separated by less than half a second -- "That's gotta be the tightest state ski race I've ever seen," said Michael Graham, the East High principal and a former top high school skier -- the state Skimeister won't necessarily come from that group.

Grabbing fifth place Thursday, 14 seconds behind Backstrum, was South's Tanner Ramey, last week's CIC Skimeister. Ramey, however, said he's stronger in classic races than skate races, so he doesn't expect to make a bid Friday for Skimeister honors.

So who is the best skate skier?

Tune in Friday, since no one was saying Thursday. But if you're handicapping things, check out who won last year's freestyle race at the state championships -- O'Harra. Backstrum was eighth, Donaldson 12th and Bassett 20th. That race was 7.5-kilometers long; Friday's is 10 kilometers.

The girls race first, going out at 11 a.m. The boys race at noon.

 

Reach Beth Bragg at bbragg@adn.com or 257-4335.

 

ASAA/1st National Bank

State skiing championships

Kincaid Park

Thursday's results

Boys

Team scores

1) Service 1:29:06.7, 2) West Valley 1:30:46.5, 3) South 1:32:26.9, 4) West 1:33:26.5, 5) East 1:33:31.7, 6) Chugiak 1:35:33.6, 7) Soldotna 1:36:12.2, 8) Kenai 1:38:38.7, 9) Colony 1:38:54.1, 10) Grace Christian 1:39:34.6, 11) Dimond 1:43:14.2, 12) Homer 1:43:35.9, 13) Lathrop 1:43:42.4, 14) Eagle River 1:44:12.3, 15) Valdez 1:46:07.2, 16) Palmer 1:48:41.5, 17) Skyview 1:49:06.2, 18) Seward 1:58:00.5, 19) Bartlett 2:02:44.3, 20) North Pole 2:21:50.8.

7.5-kilometer classic

1) Eric Backstrum, South, 21:41.5; 2) Jake Bassett, Service, 21:41.7; 3) Thomas O'Harra, East, 21:41.8; 4) Max Donaldson, West Valley, 21:41.9; 5) Tanner Ramey, South, 21:55.5; 6) David McPhetres, Chugiak, 22:12.8; 7) Garth Schulz, Service, 22:18.0; 8) John Farr, East, 22:18.7; 9) Matthew Muffoletto, Service, 22:27.5; 10) Jacob Volz, West, 22:36.0; 11) Austin Hess, Service, 22:39.5; 12) Daniel Serventi, Grace, 22:48.2; 13) Travis Cooper, Kenai, 22:48.8; 14) Luke Michael, Soldotna, 22:50.8; 15) Brian Rowe, Homer, 22:51.5; 16) Jonathan Koenig, West Valley, 22:53.5; 17) Luke McLaughlin, Grace 22:55.9; 18) Jack Park, Service 22:56.4; 19) Riley Troyer, West Valley, 22:59.6; 20) Alex Loan, Chugiak, 23:07.6; 21) Will Mans, West, 23:07.7; 22) Henry Loeffler, West, 23:11.0; 23) Tristan Sayre, West Valley, 23:11.5; 24) Taylor Turney, Service, 23:30.8; 25) Dillon Jensen, Soldotna, 23:32.3; 26) Michael Wise, unattached, 23:37.5; 27) Max Robicheaux, East, 23:45.7; 28) Sam King, Lathrop, 23:47.9; 29) John Snelders, Valdez, 23:52.9; 30) Will Timmons, Eagle River, 24:01.2; 31) Brandon Schafer, Colony, 24:06.7; 32) Bryant Brewster, South, 24:10.2; 33) Jesse Mayo, West Valley, 24:11.6; 34) Darien Sinnett, Colony, 24:20.6; 35) Kelson Denton, Dimond, 24:24.6; 36) Riley Bickford, West, 24:31.8; 37) Matthew Hoefler, South, 24:39.7; 38) Roan Hall, Chugiak, 24:40.3; 39) Bobby Signor, West Valley, 24:46.9; 40) Colton Diehl, Soldotna, 24:51.1; 41) Troy Walters, South, 24:55.1; 42) Levi Michael, Soldotna, 24:58.0; 43) Ben Smith, Eagle River, 25:01.7; 44) Joe Bressler, Kenai, 25:07.5; 45) Lyon Kopsack, Colony, 25:09.6; 46) Jordan Theisen, Kenai, 25:13.2; 47) Paul Butera, West, 25:16.0; 48) Tobin Sworts, Palmer, 25:16.1; 49) Eli Shayer, West, 25:16.7; 50) Andrew Nelson, Colony, 25:17.2; 51) Leo Jaschek, Colony, 25:18.2; 52) Colin Lamb, Bartlett, 25:28.1; 53) Fox Michaud, Kenai, 25:29.2; 54) Tim Sorensen, Chugiak, 25:32.9; 55) Kevin Brune, Lathrop, 25:37.1; 56) Ghen Sasakura, Homer, 25:44.1; 57) Riley Jones, East, 25:45.5; 58) Sky Schlung, Skyview, 26:00.3; 59) Nick Harrison, Colony, 26:00.4; 60) Kaden Cullen, Valdez, 26:02.6; 61) Iain Perry, Dimond, 26:06.5; 62) James Kari, East, 26:08.7; 63) Matthew Falconer, Dimond, 26:09.6; 64) David Warner, Chugiak, 26:18.3. 65) Jake Worsfold, Homer, 26:30.0. 66) Luke Cvancara, Dimond, 26:33.5; 67) Sergie Wegner, Valdez, 26:34.1; 68) Olan Danielson, Kenai, 26:39.3; 69) Kyle Austin, Skyview, 26:48.4; 70) Andrew Eller, Grace, 26:49.3; 71) Alec Smith, Eagle River, 26:49.4; 72) Vance Underwood, Lathrop, 26:56.0; 73) Hayden Ashley, East, 26:56.3; 74) Colton Pulver, Wasilla, 26:58.0; 75) John Cosgrave, Grace, 27:01.2; 76) Ivan Isaacs, Grace, 27:06.3; 77) Jake Gilman, Kenai, 27:08.3; 78) James Lynn, Palmer, 27:21.2; 79) Torgan Karns, Lathrop, 27:21.4; 80) Lucas Button, Monroe, 27:24.1; 81) Nathan Dennis, Chugiak, 27:34.2; 82) David Banse, Palmer, 27:34.8; 83) Joe Rife, Soldotna, 27:37.6; 84) Miles Knotek, Seward, 27:44.1; 85) Zayn Roohi, Dimond, 27:56.1; 86) Nick Zweifel, Seward, 28:01.7; 87) David Cvancara, Dimond, 28:03.3; 88) Brenner Musgrave, Skyview, 28:07.4; 89) Jeremiah Hudson, Skyview, 28:10.1; 90) Noah Tsigonis, Lathrop, 28:16.1; 91) Jacob Walsh, Eagle River, 28:20.0; 92) Tanner Best, Soldotna, 28:27.1; 93) Zachary Marsh, Palmer, 28:29.4; 94) Josh Vantrease, Homer, 28:30.3; 95) Daniel Dahms, Palmer, 28:34.8; 96) Braden Tobin, Eagle River, 28:43.5; 97) Kierian Henderson, Grace, 28:49.2; 98) Sterling Stasak, Skyview, 28:52.3; 99) Colbe Hand, Palmer, 29:04.4; 100) Jack Scribner, Valdez, 29:37.6; 101) Gabe1 Rueter, Hutchison, 29:37.7; 102) Jakob Krisintu, Homer, 29:55.4; 103) Logan Seims, Wasilla, 29:57.1; 104) Ryan Navrot, Homer, 30:10.2; 105) Rohan Weedan, Lathrop, 30:16.6; 106) Andrew Walter, Monroe, 30:17.0; 107) Sam Erickson, Eagle River, 30:29.9; 108) Jerry Swanson, Seward, 30:43.5; 109) Andrew Mendenhall, North Pole, 30:46.5; 110) Patrick Oswald, Bartlett, 31:04.5; 111) Dylan Gillespie, Seward, 31:31.2; 112) Nathan Albright, Valdez, 32:25.3; 113) William Wood, Bartlett, 32:48.3; 114) Gavin LeCrone, Bartlett, 33:23.4; 115) Victor Dewilde, North Pole, 34:27.2; 116) Wesley Colapietro, Valdez, 35:01.5; 117) Matt Chase, North Pole, 36:08.9; 118) Drake Guigley, North Pole, 40:28.2; 119) Saige Devila, North Pole, 41:08.9.

Girls

Team scores

1) South 1:10:07.7, 2) Service 1:13:15.2, 3) East 1:13:40.9, 4) Chugiak 1:15:50.2, 5) Grace 1:16:48.8, 6) West 1:17:20.6, 7) Colony 1:22:12.8, 8) West Valley 1:23:19.3, 9) Soldotna 1:23:48.9, 10) Lathrop 1:25:19.7, 11) Palmer 1:27:00.5, 12) Homer 1:27:40.1, 13) Kenai 1:27:53.1, 14) Eagle River 1:29:30.1, 15) Dimond 1:30:46.7, 16) Skyview 1:33:29.4.

5-kilometer classic

1) Lydia Blanchet, West, 16:40.7; 2) Marion Woods, South, 17:01.3; 3) Morgan Flynn, East, 17:30.8; 4) Janey Hoefler, South, 17:33.8; 5) Tsaina Mahlen, South, 17:35.9; 6) Sam Hartke, Chugiak, 17:42.7; 7) Ann Spencer, Service, 17:50.3; 8) Sarissa Lammers, Chugiak, 17:53.0; 9) Taryn Hunt-Smith, Service, 17:56.5; 10) Teagan Yutrzenka, South, 17:56.7; 11) Hannah Stevens, Eagle River, 18:01.7; 12) Mykaela McMullen, Service, 18:20.4; 13) Annika Flynn, South, 18:21.6; 14) Ana Jager, East, 18:28.3; 15) MacKenzie Flynn, East, 18:31.8; 16) Anna Trujillo, Grace, 18:34.9; 17) Sadie Fox, Soldotna, 18:45.5; 18) Elle Arnold, Grace, 18:55.4; 19) Hannah Xavier, Service 19:08.0; 20) Grace Graham, East, 19:10.0; 21) Alex Okeson, Service, 19:15.6; 22) Clarie Trujillo, Grace, 19:31.9; 23) Sarah Jackson, West Valley, 19:32.7; 24) Irene Bembenek, South, 19:33.9; 25) Jade Hajdukovitch, Lathrop, 19:37.2 ;26) Emma Tarbath, Service, 19:38.0; 27) Greta Jenkins, Colony, 19:43.0; 28) Kayla Rowe, Grace, 19:46.6; 29) Jewel Hediger, West Valley, 19:52.3 West Val 29 03:11.6 16.4 03:58.4; 30) Kinsey Denton, Dimond, 19:54.5; 31) Aimee Ritter, West, 19:54.6; 32) Hannah Pothast, Soldotna, 19:55.6; 33) Megan Fink, East, 20:02.8; 34) Kate Arthen, Chugiak, 20:05.7; 35) Shannon Casey, Chugiak, 20:08.8; 36) Emily Merioles, Valdez, 20:09.0; 37) Cheyenne Applegate, Grace, 20:12.2; 38) Erin Baker, West, 20:21.1; 39) Cassidy Soistman, Homer, 20:21.4; 40) Carlie Gellert, West, 20:24.2; 41) Bailey Meier, Colony, 20:39.0; 42) Stephanie Allen, Valdez, 20:40.6; 43) Lindsey Kromrey, Seward, 20:45.5; 44) Tracie Haan, Colony, 20:49.9; 45) Mika Morton, Skyview, 20:52.7; 46) Allison Abo, East, 20:57.6; 47) Tatjana Spaic, Colony, 21:00.9; 48) Katja Grumann, West, 21:03.1; 49) Madelyne Miller, West, 21:09.9; 50) Aspen Daigle, Homer, 21:12.4; 51) Anne Woodings, Palmer, 21:17.0; 52) Kiersten Johnson, Palmer, 21:21.4; 53) Emily Cusick, Grace, 21:24.5; 54) Beverly Schindler, Kenai, 21:27.6; 55) Annie Connelly, Chugiak, 21:31.1; 56) Mackenzie Parrott, Lathrop, 21:33.6; 57) Tamara Fairbanks, West Valley, 21:41.9; 58) Summer Frazier, Eagle River, 21:50.3; 59) Makaela Salzetti, Kenai, 21:55.8; 60) Kennedy Kruchoski, Chugiak, 21:58.6; 61) Katya Jenkins, Colony, 21:58.8; 62) Eva Bingham, Palmer, 22:01.0; 63) Kiana Hamlin, Lathrop, 22:04.2; 64) Katherine O'Connor, Lathrop, 22:04.7; 65) Sarah Lilly, West Valley, 22:12.4; 65) Kirsten Nyquist, Kenai, 22:12.4; 67) Casey Neill, Skyview, 22:15.1; 68) Allison Hebard, Lathrop, 22:15.3; 69) Lindsay Floyd, Kenai, 22:17.3; 70) Morgen Lundin, Palmer, 22:21.1; 71) Maddeline Michaud, Kenai, 22:24.8; 72) Danielle McCormick, Soldotna, 22:26.2; 73) M.E. Meyerhofer, Colony, 22:32.1; 74) Taylor Gilmore, Soldotna, 22:41.6; 75) Leah Allan, Lathrop, 22:42.6; 76) Danika Ingersoll, Wasilla, 22:49.8; 77) Riley Burroughs, Wasilla, 22:51.6; 78) Darby Salmon, Palmer, 22:51.7; 79) Olivia Hutchings, Soldotna, 22:55.9; 80) Rachel Ellert, Homer, 23:01.7; 81) Tisha Lovett, Homer, 23:04.6; 82) Emma O'Connor, West Valley, 23:07.4; 83) Megan Lasselle, Palmer, 23:12.0; 84) Xochiyolloti Harbison, Soldotna, 23:19.8; 85) Tamara Freistone, Dimond, 23:23.6; 86) Madelyne Bee, Dimond, 23:30.5; 87) Annbjoerg Bakken, Kenai, 23:40.1; 88) Patty Eagan, West Valley, 23:41.1; 89) Laura Dyer, Seward, 23:55.6; 90) Chloe Bee, Dimond, 23:58.1; 91) Lydia Arndt, Homer, 24:23.4; 92) Kathryn Keeney, Valdez, 24:28.6; 93) Carisa Andersen, Eagle River, 24:35.1; 94) Riann Anderson, Bartlett, 24:39.7; 95) Brooke Estes, Seward, 24:41.7; 96) Brooke Meredith, Eagle River, 25:03.0; 97) Heather Lindsey, Bartlett, 25:06.6; 98) Brittany Hollers, Skyview, 25:08.1; 99) Madison Chan, Dimond, 25:11.5; 100) Mieka Chythlook, Skyview, 25:13.5; 101) Cheyanne Richardson, Eagle River, 25:27.6; 102) Katheryn McWhite, Dimond, 25:31.5; 103) Maria Villa, North Pole, 25:42.2; 104) Hailey Sandefur, Eagle River 26:19.4.

 

 

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