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Orange crush: West skiers bury the competition at CIC championships

  • Author: Beth Bragg
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published February 20, 2016

With a roster numbering nearly 100, the West Eagles did their version of an orange crush Saturday at the Cook Inlet Conference ski championships.

West skiers Luke Jager and Magdalen York won the Skimeister awards at the end of the two-day cross-country ski meet at Kincaid Park.

The West boys won the relay race en route to the team championship.

And the West girls did the boys one better, finishing first and second in the relay race on their way to the team title. Clad in orange race suits, the eight girls on those two teams had more than a full minute to savor their 1-2 finish before making room for another team in the finish chute.

Jager and York skied the fastest scramble legs in Saturday's classic relays to claim Skimeister honors, which go to the skiers with the fastest times in two days of racing.

Jager was second in Friday's individual freestyle race, 18 seconds behind winner Gus Schumacher of Service and 5.5 seconds ahead of third-place Canyon Tobin of Service.

But Schumacher sat out the relay in order to preserve his health and energy heading into a late-night flight to Europe. He is a member of the American team competing in the Nation's Cup junior-level race series.

Jager and Tobin went head-to-head in the scramble leg, with Jager prevailing by 1.1 seconds to become West's first Skimeister since Max Treinen in 2006.

York outdueled Service's Emma Tarbath to become the second straight West girl to wear the Skimeister crown (Lydia Blanchet, a freshman at Dartmouth, won it last year).

Tarbath and York placed second and third, respectively, behind West's Molly Gellert on Friday. But Gellert is on the same U.S. team as Schumacher, so she also skipped the race.

York clinched the Skimeister award in Saturday's relay with a first-leg time of 9:43.6. Tarbath, who skied the second leg for Service, finished in 9:49.8.

York teamed with Aubrey Leclair, Katja Grumman and Alejandra Legate to win the girls relay in 40 minutes, 59.8 seconds.

Second place went to the West B team of Avery Mozen, Fiona Fick, Ellie Mitchell and Elizabeth Mans, who clocked 41:44.1.

More than a minute behind in third place (42:50.8) was the South team of Naomi Kiekintveld, Kaylee Heck, Jenni Grunnblatt and Maggie Meeds.

In the boys relay, Jager combined with Sam York, Tristan Wiese and Ryan Bickford to win in 42:28.1. South's team of Matthew Hoefler, Andrew Hull, Will Balcao and Hamish Wolfe was second in 42:52.1.

The Eagles won all six of the girls relay races on Saturday and three of the six boys relay races.

"We had a good day out there," said West coach Anson Moxness, whose team depth is so great that one of the girls on the C team is a skier who qualified for Junior National championships.

Moxness said West entered about 90 skiers in the CIC championship, making the Eagles one of the conference's biggest teams, along with South and Service.

Moxness said he has five assistant coaches to help manage a team that during parts of the season had more than 100 skiers.

The range goes from Gellert, one of the top junior-level racers in the country, to skiers like Anna Sala Dorca, a transfer student from Spain who had never cross-country skied until this winter.

West will be without Gellert and Service will be without Schumacher at the three-day state championships that begin Thursday at Kincaid Park.

South will also be without its best skier. Hunter Wonders missed the CIC championships because he was America's lone representative in the boys competition at the recent Youth Olympic Games in Norway, and he'll miss the state championships because he will join Gellert and Schumacher at the Feb. 21-29 Nation's Cup race series in Estonia.

CIC cross-country ski championships

Team standings (based on two-day total times)

Boys -- 1) West 2:13:11.3, 2) Service 2:14:21.4, 3) South 2:16:17.7; 4) Dimond 2:22:05.2; 5) Chugiak 2:27:43.0; 6) Eagle River 2:37:53.3.

Girls -- 1) West 1:58:13.6; 2) Chugiak 2:03:00.7; 3) South 2:04:48.1; 4) Service 2:05:42.0; 5) Dimond 2:08:10.4; 6) East 2:14:13.5; 7) Eagle River 2:19:11.7.

A team relay

Girls 4x3.9-kilometer classic

1) West 40:59.8 (Magdalen York, Aubrey Leclair, Katja Grumman, Alejandro Legate); 2) South 42:50.8 (Naomi Kiekintveld, Kaylee Heck, Jenni Grunblatt, Maggie Meeds); 3) Dimond 43:14.9 (Kinsey Denton, Ruth Cvancara, Liesel Von Imhof, Ally Carney); 4) Service 43:16.0 (Ryan Terry, Emma Tarbath, Nadia Dworian, Amanda Moore); 5) Chugiak 44:32.2 (Oda Fossum, Grace Gilliland, Reilly Hall, Sara Hartke); 6) East 46:01.5 (Annie Gonzales, Sarah Freeman, Rachel Shick, Ariana O'Harra); 7) Eagle River 49:18.8 (Summer Frazier, Myah Smith, Tamara Brabson, Helen Wilson).

Note: West's B team of Avery Mozen, Fiona Fick, Ellie Mitchell and Elizabeth Mans finished second overall in 41:44.1.

Boys 4x4.6-kilometer classic

1) West 42:28.8 (Luke Jager, Sam York, Tristan Wiese, Ryan Bickford); 2) South 42:52.1 (Matthew Hoefler, Andrew Hull, Will Balcao, Hamish Wolfe); 3) Service 43:10.8 (Canyon Tobin, Zach Bassett, Eli Hermenson, Ryan Brubaker); 4) Dimond 44:58.3 (Micah Barber, Dax Cvancara, Jack Wright, George Cvancara); 5) Chugiak 47:39.5 (Brian Wing, Jack Ginter, Miles Dennis, Quinton Perham); 6) Eagle River 50:44.2 (Torsten Renner, Bradan Tobin, Nick Carl, Adam Blackley).

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