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Olympians, World Junior medalists rule Besh Cup ski races at Hatcher Pass

  • Author: Beth Bragg
  • Updated: December 17, 2018
  • Published December 16, 2018

After a long wait for snow, Alaska cross-country skiers turned out in force Saturday and Sunday for the first Besh Cup races of the season.

Five 2018 Olympians, four 2018 World Junior medalists and three 2018 NCAA All-Americans were among a field of about 230 that took advantage of perfect conditions at the Government Peak Recreation Area at Hatcher Pass. It’s likely no other races in the United States boasted a better field of skiers this weekend.

Victories in the two women’s races went to a pair of Alaska Pacific University skiers who competed in last February’s Winter Olympics. Rosie Frankowski won Saturday’s 10K classic, and Jessica Yeaton won Sunday’s 10K freestyle.

In the men’s races, a trio of World Junior medalists went 1-2-3 in each race, with a pair of them demolishing the field both days.

Gus Schumacher of the Alaska Winter Stars, Luke Jager of APU and Hunter Wonders of APU finished in that order Saturday and Sunday. Last season, they were teammates on a U.S. relay team that won a historic silver medal at last season’s World Junior Championships; until then, no American boy had ever won a medal at the prestigious race series.

Schumacher was untouchable. He won Sunday’s 10-kilometer freestyle race in 26:17.07, about by 15 seconds over Jager, who was more than 25 seconds ahead of Wonders. No other skier finished in less than 27 minutes.

Those three finished in the same order in Saturday’s 15K classic. Schumacher clocked 43:23.11, Jager 43:35.47 and Wonders 43:49.64, with no one else breaking 44 minutes.

In the women’s 10K classic race on Saturday, Frankowski finished in 32:28.01 for a 22-second win over Hailey Swirbul (32:50.40). Swirbul, who skied for UAA last season before joining the APU program this season, is coming off an impressive 2017-18 season during which she garnered two individual medals at the World Junior Championships and All-America honors at the NCAA Ski Championship.

In Sunday’s 5K freestyle, Yeaton skied to a comfortable win over Emma Tarbath. Yeaton’s time of 14:47.25 gave her a 45-second win over Tarbath, an NCAA All-American last season for Montana State.

In both women’s races, third place went to a high school skier from Fairbanks — West Valley’s Kendall Kramer of the FXC training team. On Sunday she joined Yeaton and Tarbath as the only women to finish in less than 35 minutes, and on Saturday she joined Frankowski and Swirbul to finish in less than 15 minutes.

The weekend races were the first of the season in Southcentral Alaska, which made it all the way until last week without a significant, lasting snowfall.

Sunday’s freestyle races

Senior men (10K) — 1) Hunter Wonders, APU, 26:59.81; 2) Thomas O’Harra, APU, 27:06.30; 3) Forrest Mahlen, APU, 27:08.33.

U20 men (10K) — 1) Gus Schumacher, AWS, 26:17.07; 2) Luke Jäger, APU, 26:32.63; 3) Ti Donaldson, UAF, 27:04.56.

U18 men (10K) — 1) Zanden McMullen, APU, 27:32.22 77; 2) Everett Cason, APU, 28:19.00; 3) Maxime Germain, APU, 29:15.93.

U16 boys (5K) — 1) Konrad Renner, ANR, 15:21.27; 2) Josh Baurock, FXC, 15:30.44; 3) Aaron Maves, APU, 15:38.47.

U14 boys (3.75K) — 1) Skyler Amy, AWS, 13:29.76; 2) Murphy Kimball, AWS, 13:31.18; 3) Aven Elsberg, APU, 3:36.95.

Senior women (5K) — 1) Jessica Yeaton, APU, 14:47.25; 2) Emma Tarbath, Montana State, 15:33.57.

U20 women (5k) — 1) Jenna Difolco, UAA, 16:04.48; 2) Molly Gellert, Dartmouth, 16:11.14; 3) Emma Jerome, FXC, 17:26.55.

U18 women (5K) — 1) Kendall Kramer, FXC, 15:13.40; 2) Ivy Eski, APU, 16:15.28; 3) Annika Hanestad, APU, 16:16.51.

U16 girls (3.75K) — 1) Marit Flora, APU, 12:13.98; 2) Katey Houser, ANR, 12:44.57; 3) Victoria Bassette, FXC, 12:46.62.

U14 girls (3.75K) 1) Sammy Legate, APU, 13:54.10; 2) Heidi Schumacher, AWS, 14:44.88; 3) Nora Hulse, AWS, 15:56.51.

Saturday’s classic races

Senior men (15K) — 1) Hunter Wonders, APU, 43:49.64; 2) Logan Hanneman, APU, 44:14.18; 3) Tyler Kornfield, APU, 44:54.18.

U20 men (15K) — 1) Gus Schumacher, AWS, 43:23.11; 2) Luke Jager, APU, 43:35.47; 3) Ti Donaldson, UAF, 45:34.57.

U18 men (15K) — 1) Zanden McMullen, APU, 47:09.11; 2) Everett Cason, APU, 48:08.22; 3) Maxime Germain, APU, 48:25.28.

U16 boys (5K) — 1) Aaron Maves, APU, 16:35.99; 2) Konrad Renner, ANR, 16:54.98; 3) Eli Merrill, FXC, 17:12.82.

U14 boys (5K) — 1) Skyler Amy, AWS, 19:54.46; 2)Murphy Kimball, AWS, 20:25.71; 3) Aven Elsberg, APU, 20:37.10.

Senior women (10K) — 1) Rosie Frankowski, APU, 32:28.01; 2) Hailey Swirbul, APU, 32:50.40; 3) Lydia Blanchet, Dartmouth, 35:30.38.

U20 women (10K) — 1) Jenna Difolco, UAA, 36:20.46; 2) Molly Gellert, Dartmouth, 37:56.04; 3) Emma Jerome, FXC, 39:08.60.

U18 women (10K) — 1) Kendall Kramer, FXC, 34:10.16; 2) Ariana Proffitt, ANR, 37:15.60; 3) Ivy Eski, APU, 37:42.01.

U16 girls (5K) — 1) Marit Flora, APU, 18:23.47; 2) Quincy Donley, AWS, 18:46.25; 3) Meredith Schwartz, AWS, 19:12.06.

U14 girls (5K) — 1) Heidi Schumacher, AWS, 21:17.07; 2) Sammy Legate, APU, 21:39.86; 3) Zarah Laker-Morris, FXC, 23:49.87.