Donaldson dominates on way to Skimeister title

bbragg@adn.comFebruary 22, 2013 

— With the stage set Friday for a thrilling four-man, winner-take-all, duke-it-out-till-the-end battle to crown the state Skimeister at Kincaid Park, West Valley's Max Donaldson turned the showdown into a one-man show.

The Skimeister award -- the pinnacle of high school skiing in Alaska -- is given to the skier with the best total time in two individual races at the state cross-country ski championships. With just four-tenths of a second separating the top four boys in Thursday's classic race, the Skimeister title was at stake in Friday's 10-kilometer freestyle race.

What began with drama ended with domination. Donaldson took control in the second half to win the race by 34.5 seconds and claim the Skimeister title by 34.4 seconds. In both cases, East High's Thomas O'Harra was the runnerup.

The girls 7.5-kilometer freestyle race produced two happy endings. South's Marion Woods won the final individual race of her high school career, and West's Lydia Blanchet finished close enough to Woods to take the Skimeister title.

"This is so special," said a beaming Woods. "I'm so happy."

Woods said she had a blast, calling it "the funnest" state race in her high school career. She beat Blanchet by 4.3 seconds, a reversal of Thursday's results when Blanchet beat Woods by 20 seconds in the classic-technique race.

"I kinda tried to put yesterday behind me and just go out there and race," Woods said. "We kind of traded off the lead, so there was a lot of action out there. It was super-fun, and it kept everyone on their toes."

Because it was a mass start, Woods and Blanchet were never too far apart, and South's Teagan Yutrzenka hung with them before falling off the pace to finish third, 24 seconds behind Woods. They traded places throughout the first few kilometers.

"I enjoyed it so much," Blanchet said. "You add in the whole group dynamic when it's a mass start. We took it super-easy the first four Ks and then start stepping it up.

"Going up (the Lekisch Trail), my legs got tired and Marion pulled ahead of me and I knew I couldn't let her get more than 20 seconds ahead of me."

Woods said that at first, she was looking for every little edge she could find in an effort to slice into Blanchet's 20-second Skimeister lead.

"I was trying to plan out where I'd get a couple of seconds," she said, "and then I just decided to go out and race."

Donaldson had a plan too, and he stuck to it. He said on Thursday that his intention for Friday was to resist the urge to go hard at the start and then push the pace in the second half. That's what he did, even when South's Tanner Ramey set a furious early pace.

Ramey took the Skimeister title at the Cook Inlet Conference championships a week ago but pretty much dropped out of the running for state Skimeister honors Thursday by finishing 14 seconds off the winning pace. And so Friday he skied with abandon, leading by six or seven seconds after the first of two 5-K laps.

"Tanner made a pretty hard move in the beginning, so he was tired by the second lap," Donaldson said. "I just decided to pass him. I thought he might stick on me for a bit, but he didn't."

From there, Donaldson pulled farther and farther ahead.

"He went into it with a plan," West Valley coach Christina Turman said. "He was supposed to chill out that whole first lap. We told him on Elliott's Climb to change the race pace to Max pace, and Max, he's a powerhouse. No one can climb with him."

Donaldson and O'Harra were the only skiers among Thursday's top four to finish among Friday's top four. South's Eric Backstrum, Thursday's winner, placed fifth, and Service's Jake Bassett, who was second Thursday, placed 45th.

Stepping up with impressive races were West's Jacob Volz and Grace Christian's Daniel Serventi, who were part of a close race for second place. O'Harra won that battle, edging Volz by six-tenths of a second and Serventi by 3.7. Backstrum placed fifth, 6.3 seconds behind O'Harra and more than 40 seconds behind Donaldson.

Serventi was thrilled with his finish, which followed a 12th-place finish Thursday that left him wanting more.

"Yesterday God gave me a real challenge, finishing back in 12th," he said. "It was hard to swallow that. I went back home, read my Bible and prayed.

"He definitely blessed me today."

Serventi is part of a Grace Christian ski team that is begin to mimic the success of the school's powerhouse cross country running program. Serventi finished seventh in the boys Skimeister standings, Anna Trujillo placed 11th in the girls Skimeister standings and the Grace girls rank fourth in the team standings.

South's girls own a huge lead over Service going into Saturday's relay races. The team boasts four skiers who finished in the top six of the Skimeister standings -- Woods, fourth-place Yutrzenka, fifth-place Tsaina Mahlen and sixth-place Janey Hoefler.

The Wolverines swept the CIC team titles last week, but the boys got off to a shaky start Thursday. They were without one of their top skiers, Seiji Takagi, who was sick. Takagi returned Friday and grabbed 10th place, helping the South boys vault from third place in the team standings to second place. They trail first-place West Valley by more than a minute.

 

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

 

ASAA/1st National Bank

State ski championships

Kincaid Park

Friday's results

Boys

Team scores

1) West Valley 1:50:31.1; 2) South 1:51:41.7; 3) West 1:54:54.6; 4) Service 1:56:05.6; 5) Chugiak 1:56:37.3; 6) Soldotna 1:57:06.2; 7) Kenai 1:58:10.8; 8) East 1:58:39.5; 9) Colony 1:59:05.5; 10) Grace Christian 2:00:26.3; 11) Dimond 2:04:57.9; 12) Lathrop 2:05:41.6; 13) Homer 2:06:25.0; 14) Eagle River 2:06:56.4; 15) Valdez 2:08:32.1; 16) Skyview 2:13:56.6; 17) Palmer 2:15:15.2; 18) Seward 2:22:33.4; 19) Bartlett 2:38:35.2; 20) North Pole 3:06:07.0.

Skimeister (two-day total times)

Top 10

Boys -- 1) Max Donaldson, West Valley, 48:30.5; 2) Thomas O'Harra, East, 49:04.9; 3) Eric Backstrum, South, 49:10.9; 4) Tanner Ramey, South, 49:35; 5) Jacob Volz, West, 49:59.7; 6) David McPhetres, Chugiak, 50:13.6; 7) Daniel Serventi, Grace Christian, 50:15.0; 8) Garth Schulz, Service, 50:19.1; 9) Jonathan Koenig, West Valley, 50:23.3; 10) Alex Loan, Chugiak, 50:37.7.

10-kilometer freestyle

1) Max Donaldson, West Valley, 26:48.6; 2) Thomas O'Harra, East, 27:23.1; 3) Jacob Volz,West, 27:23.7; 4) Daniel Serventi, Grace, 27:26.8; 5) Eric Backstrum, South, 27:29.4; 6) Jonathan Koenig, West Valley, 27:29.8; 7) Alex Loan, Chugiak, 27:30.1; 8) Tristan Sayre, West Valley, 27:32.3; 9) Tanner Ramey, South, 27:39.5; 10) Seiji Takagi, South, 27:48.8; 11) David McPhetres, Chugiak, 28:00.8; 12) Garth Schulz, Service, 28:01.1; 13) Luke Michael, Soldotna, 28:15.6; 14) Dillon Jensen, Soldotna, 28:16.6; 15) John Farr, East, 28:24.8; 16) Travis Cooper, Kenai, 28:25.0; 17) Henry Loeffler, West, 28:30.9; 18) Jesse Mayo, West Valley, 28:40.4; 19) Riley Troyer, West Valley, 28:41.5; 20) John Snelders, Valdez, 28:41.9; 21) Bryant Brewster, South, 28:44.0; 22) Will Timmons, Eagle River, 28:44.3; 23) Troy Walters, South, 28:47.7; 24) Michael Wise, St. Michaels, 28:48.0; 25) Taylor Turney, Service, 28:49.5; 26) Luke McLaughlin, Grace, 28:50.9; 27) Matthew Hoefler, South, 28:56.3; 28) Will Mans, West, 29:03.7; 29) Jordan Theisen, Kenai, 29:17.4; 30) Bobby Signor, West Valley, 29:17.7; 31) Lyon Kopsack, Colony, 29:18.4; 32) Colton Diehl, Soldotna, 29:24.6; 33) Austin Hess, Service, 29:32.6; 34) Darien Sinnett, Colony, 29:36.9; 35) Matthew Muffoletto, Service, 29:42.4; 36) Sam King, Lathrop, 29:43.2; 37) Kelson Denton, Dimond, 29:45.0; 38) Brandon Schafer, Colony, 29:46.2; 39) Eli Shayer, West, 29:56.3; 40) Brian Rowe, Homer, 29:58.6; 41) Roan Hall, Chugiak, 30:02.1; 42) Kevin Brune, Lathrop, 30:04.1; 43) Riley Bickford, West, 30:07.8; 44) Jack Park, Service, 30:08.7; 45) Jake Bassett, Service, 30:09.7; 46) Fox Michaud, Kenai, 30:11.6; 47) Joe Bressler, Kenai, 30:16.8; 48) Leo Jaschek, Colony, 30:24.0; 49) Max Robicheaux, East, 30:32.1; 50) Paul Butera, West, 30:34.2; 51) Ghen Sasakura, Homer, 30:43.8; 52) Luke Cvancara, Dimond, 30:51.9; 53) Ben Smith, Eagle River, 30:58.9; 54) Tim Sorensen, Chugiak, 31:04.3; 55) Colin Lamb, Bartlett, 31:09.1; 56) Levi Michael, Soldotna, 31:09.4; 57) Jake Worsfold, Homer, 31:09.8; 58) Nick Harrison, Colony, 31:19.7; 59) Vance Underwood, Lathrop, 31:23.3; 60) Kaden Cullen, Valdez, 31:38.6; David Warner, Chugiak, 31:40.1; 62) John Cosgrave, Grace, 32:00.2; 63) Lucas Button, Monroe, 32:05.9; 64) Ivan David Isaacs, Grace, 32:08.4; 65) Iain Perry, Dimond, 32:10.3; 66) David Cvancara, Dimond, 32:10.7; 67) Matthew Falconer, Dimond, 32:14.7; 68) Hayden Ashley, East, 32:19.5; 69) Joe Rife, Soldotna, 32:20.9; 70) Kyle Austin, Skyview, 32:30.9; 71) Riley Jones, East, 32:33.7; 72) James Kari, East, 32:35.6; 73) Andrew Eller, Grace, 32:37.1; 74) Jake Gilman, Kenai, 32:38.1; 75) Andrew Nelson, Colony, 32:38.4; 76) Zayn Roohi, Dimond, 32:38.6; 77) Sky Schlung, Skyview, 32:45.7; 78) Sergei Wegner, Valdez, 33:00.2; 79) Miles Knotek, Seward, 33:17.7; 80) Tanner Best, Soldotna, 33:18.0; 81) Brenner Musgrave, Skyview, 33:29.5; 82) Alec Smith, Eagle River, 33:30.6; 83) Nick Zweifel, Seward, 33:37.2; 84) Daniel Dahms, Palmer, 33:37.5; 85) James Lynn, Palmer, 33:40.5; 86) Jacob Walsh, Eagle River, 33:42.6; 87) Tobin Sworts, Palmer, 33:45.8; 88) David Banse, Palmer, 34:11.4; 89) Zachary Marsh, Palmer, 34:14.8; 90) Kierian Henderson, Grace, 34:26.1; 91) Torgan Karns, Lathrop, 34:31.0; 92) Olan Danielson, Kenai, 34:31.2; 93) Josh Vantrease, Homer, 34:32.8; 94) Colbe Hand, Palmer, 34:50.5; 95) Colton Pulver, Wasilla, 34:52.1; 96) Jeremiah Hudson, Skyview, 35:10.5; 97) Jack Scribner, Valdez, 35:11.4; 98) Bradan Tobin, Eagle River, 35:12.0; 99) Nathan Dennis, Chugiak, 35:12.3; 100) Jerry Swanson, Seward, 35:29.3; 101) Logan Seims, Wasilla, 35:36.3; 102) Rohan Weedan, Lathrop, 35:39.6; 103) Sterling Stasak, Skyview, 36:08.5; 104) Jakob Krisintu, Homer, 36:25.4; 105) Noah Tsigonis, Lathrop, 37:08.2; 106) Gabe Rueter, Hutchison, 37:40.0; 107) Sam Erickson, Eagle River, 38:02.8; 108) Nathan Albright, Valdez, 38:14.4; 109) Ryan Navrot, Homer, 38:51.9; 110) Wesley Colapietro, Valdez, 39:00.1; 111) Andrew Mendenhall, North Pole, 39:26.8; 112) Dylan Gillespie, Seward, 40:09.2; 113) William Wood, Bartlett, 40:10.5; 114) Gavin LeCrone, Bartlett, 41:21.3; 115) Andrew Walter, Monroe, 44:01.3; 116) Drake Guigley, North Pole, 44:25.6; 117) Patrick Oswald, Bartlett, 45:54.3; 118) Victor Dewilde, North Pole, 47:18.6; 119) Matt Chase, North Pole, 54:56.0; 120) Saige Devila, North Pole, 57:25.4.

Girls

Team scores

1) South 1:31:39.2; 2) Service 1:36:51.2; 3) East 1:37:27.4; 4) Grace 1:39:41.2; 5) West 1:39:54.4; 6) Chugiak 1:44:28.3; 7) Colony 1:46:43.1; 8) Soldotna 1:46:55.0; 9) Kenai 1:47:07.3; 10) West Valley 1:47:33.5; 11) Lathrop 1:48:39.3; 12) Palmer 1:52:36.9; 13) Homer 1:54:16.0; 14) Dimond 1:54:58.8; 15) Eagle River 1:55:32.1; 16) Skyview 2:00:25.4.

Skimeister (two-day total times)

Top 10

Girls -- 1) Lydia Blanchet, West, 39:01.0; Marian Woods, South, 39:17.3; 3) Morgan Flynn, East, 40:33.0; 4) Teagan Yutrzenka, South, 40:37.5; 5) Tsaina Mahlen, South, 40:54.9; 6) Janey Hoefler, South, 40:57.2; 7) Sarissa Lammers, Chugiak, 41:12.3; 8) Hannah Stevens, Eagle River, 41:17.5; 9) (tie) Sadie Fox, Soldotna; Annika Flynn, South, 42:01.6.

7.5-kilometer freestyle

1) Marion Woods, South, 22:16.0; 2) Lydia Blanchet, West, 22:20.3; 3) Teagan Yutrzenka, South, 22:40.8; 4) Morgan Flynn, East, 23:02.2; 5) Hannah Stevens, Eagle River, 23:15.8; 6) Sadie Fox, Soldotna, 23:16.1; 7) Tsaina Mahlen, South, 23:19.0; 8) Sarissa Lammers, Chugiak, 23:19.3; 9) Janey Hoefler, South, 23:23.4; 10) Anna Trujillo, Grace, 23:26.8; 11) Annika Flynn, South, 23:40.0; 12) Mykaela McMullen, Service, 23:50.1; 13) Taryn Hunt-Smith, Service, 24:06.8; 14) Ana Jager, East, 24:07.0; 15) Emma Tarbath, Service, 24:11.7; 16) Ann Spencer, Service, 24:42.6; 17) Irene Bembenek, South, 24:49.2; 18) Kinsey Denton, Dimond, 24:50.6; 19) Claire Trujillo, Grace, 24:55.7; 20) Grace Graham, East, 25:07.2; 21) Megan Fink, East, 25:11.0; 22) Aimee Ritter, West, 25:19.9; 23) Jade Hajdukovitch, Lathrop, 25:22.7; 24) Emily Merioles, Valdez, 25:23.8; 25) Hannah Xavier, Service, 25:29.4; 26) Carlie Gellert, West, 25:33.1; 27) Elle Arnold, Grace, 25:35.3; 28) Greta Jenkins, Colony, 25:42.2; 29) Kayla Rowe, Grace, 25:43.4; 30) Aspen Daigle, Homer, 25:48.7; 31) Jewel Hediger, West Valley, 25:57.9; 32) Cassidy Soistman, Homer, 26:08.0; 33) Kiersten Johnson, Palmer, 26:09.5; 34) Alex Okeson, Service, 26:26.8; 35) Makaela Salzetti, Kenai, 26:27.8; 36) Tracie Haan, Colony, 26:31.5; 37) Lindsay Floyd, Kenai, 26:40.8; 38) Erin Baker, West, 26:41.1; 39) Beverly Schindler, Kenai, 26:46.7; 40) Tatjana Spaic, Colony, 26:48.0; 41) Kate Arthen, Chugiak, 26:49.0; 42) Annie Connelly, Chugiak, 26:49.5; 43) Mackenzie Parrott, Lathrop, 26:52.9; 44) Mika Morton, Skyview, 26:54.7; 45) Sarah Jackson, West Valley, 26:55.8; 46) Hannah Pothast, Soldotna, 26:57.6; 47) Sarah Lilly, West Valley, 26:58.3; 48) Kiana Hamlin, Lathrop, 27:00.5; 49) Cheyenne Applegate, Grace, 27:03.0; 50) Kirsten Nyquist, Kenai, 27:12.0; 51) Katja Grumann, West, 27:12.3; 52) Shannon Casey, Chugiak, 27:30.5; 53) Lindsey Kromrey, Seward, 27:32.8; 54) Emily Cusick, Grace, 27:34.1; 55) Allison Abo, East, 27:38.1; 56) Anne Woodings, Palmer, 27:40.6; 57) Stephanie Allen, Valdez, 27:41.0; 58) Katya Jenkins, Colony, 27:41.4; 59) Tamara Fairbanks, West Valley, 27:41.5; 60) Danielle McCormick, Soldotna, 28:03.5; 61) Bailey Meier, Colony, 28:08.1; 62) Casey Neill, Skyview, 28:28.0; 63) Kennedy Kruchoski, Chugiak, 28:34.4; 64) Taylor Gilmore, Soldotna, 28:37.8; 65) Madelyne Miller, West, 28:38.8; 66) Olivia Hutchings, Soldotna, 28:41.2; 67) Riley Burroughs, Wasilla, 28:52.0; 68) Emma O `Connor, West Valley, 28:52.9; 69) Maddeline Michaud, Kenai, 28:59.8; 70) Summer Frazier, Eagle River, 29:06.9; 71) Madelyne Bee, Dimond, 29:13.3; 72) Rachel Ellert, Homer, 29:17.8; 73) Eva Bingham, Palmer, 29:22.8; 74) Leah Allan, Lathrop, 29:23.2; 75) Morgen Lundin, Palmer, 29:24.0; 76) Megan Lasselle, Palmer, 29:29.4; 77) Danika Ingersoll, Wasilla, 29:32.9; 78) M.E. Meyerhofer, Colony, 29:44.2; 79) Tamara Freistone, Dimond, 29:58.4; 80) Allison Hebard, Lathrop, 30:09.0; 81) Darby Salmon, Palmer, 30:13.6; 82) Xochiyolloti Harbison, Soldotna, 30:19.2; 83) Patty Eagan, West Valley, 30:36.1; 84) Laura Dyer, Seward, 30:44.6; 85) Chloe Bee, Dimond, 30:56.5; 86) Annbjoerg Bakken, Kenai, 31:00.2; 87) Kathryn Keeney, Valdez, 31:18.6; 88) Brooke Estes, Seward, 31:22.0; 89) Hailey Sandefur, Eagle River, 31:22.5; 90) Heather Lindsey, Bartlett, 31:26.4; 91) Mieka Chythlook, Skyview, 31:36.4; 92) Carisa Andersen, Eagle River, 31:46.9; 93) Katheryn McWhite, Dimond, 31:48.3; 94) Brooke Meredith, Eagle River, 31:53.9; 95) Madison Chan, Dimond, 32:16.5; 96) Lydia Arndt, Homer, 33:01.5; 97) Brittany Hollers, Skyview, 33:26.3; 98) Riann Anderson, Bartlett, 33:49.8; 99) Cheyanne Richardson, Eagle River, 39:01.1; 100) Maria Villa, North Pole, 41:51.6.

 

 

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