Hunter Wonders never ceased his pursuit of excellence at the week-long U.S. Junior National cross-country ski championships at Utah's Soldier Hollow.
The Anchorage skier Saturday capped a wildly successful week of racing by anchoring Team Alaska to victory in the U-20 men's 3×3.3-kilometer relay race.
The medal was the fourth in four races for Wonders, a 19-year-old who trains with Alaska Pacific University's nordic team. Three of his medals were gold; the other was bronze.
The Alaskans wrapped up competition by winning three medals in Saturday's relays.
The only gold came from the U-20 men's team that included Dawson Knopp, Canyon Tobin and Wonders.
The team led by 1.6 seconds after the first two legs, and then Wonders took over to turn a close race into a romp. He skied the third leg more than 10 seconds faster than anyone else to lift Alaska to victory in 21 minutes, 54.7 seconds. Second-place New England was more than 15 seconds back.
Other relay medals for Alaska:
— Quincy Donley, Ivy Eski and Kendall Kramer claimed silver in the U16 girls race, using a powerful anchor leg from Kramer to move from fifth place to second place in the final 3.3 kilometers. The Alaskans finished 3.1 seconds behind the winning Pacific Northwest team.
— Heidi Booher, Aubrey Leclair and Molly Gellert took the bronze in the U18 girls. The team improved its position with each leg, going from sixth place to fourth place to third.
The next-best finish by an Alaska team came from Zanden McMullen, Everett Cason and Eliot Hermanson, who finished fourth in the U18 boys race.
The Alaska team of Gus Schumacher, Luke Jager and Ti Donaldson was a medal favorite going into the U18 race — Schumacher won two individual medals and Jager won one earlier in the week — but it was disqualified.
Alaska finished third in the team standings with 1,014 points, trailing New England (1,178) and Rocky Mountain (1,054).
Team members garnered 15 medals in four races, including seven golds. Besides the three golds won by Wonders, Schumacher earned two and Kramer and Anja Maijala each won one.
Team Alaska medals
Gold — Hunter Wonders (U20), Gus Schumacher (U18). Silver — Luke Jager (U18), Kendall Kramer (U16). Bronze — Molly Gellert (U18).
Gold — Hunter Wonders (U20), Gus Schumacher (U18), Kendall Kramer (U16), Anja Maijala (U20). Silver — Canyon Tobin (U20).
Bronze — Hunter Wonders (U20), Jenna DiFolco (U20).
Gold — Dawson Knopp, Canyon Tobin, Hunter Wonders (U-20). Silver — Quincy Donley, Ivy Eski, Kendall Kramer (U16). Bronze — Heidi Booher, Aubrey Leclair, Molly Gellert (U18).