FAIRBANKS — The Flint Hills Town Race Nordic ski series got off to a roaring start Saturday as the Fairbanks Youth Sports Season opener served multiple purposes depending on what level you ski.
The race served as the second day in the Goldstream Sports Tour de Ski Fairbanks and the Alaska Nordic Cup for collegiate skiers and marked the first official day of racing for high school skiers.
The Alaska Nanooks made the most of the day to increase their lead in the three-day Alaska Nordic Cup by defeating the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves for the second straight day.
The Nanooks women scored their second straight perfect women’s win, 15-6, and the Alaska men edged the Seawolves 11-10, giving the Nanooks a 26-17 victory.
Alaska now takes a 54-30 win into today’s 10K pursuit race at Birch Hill Recreation Area. The women’s race is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m., and the men’s race is slated for 11:10 a.m.
Led by junior Raphaela Sieber, the Nanooks took the top five spots in the women’s race on a cool and windy Saturday afternoon with the temperature just above 0 degrees.
Sieber covered the 5-kilometer course in 18 minutes, 5.2 seconds, with senior teammate Rebecca Konieczny second in 17:12.5. Marit Rjabov rounded out the top five in 17:28.
“The women had another great day,” Nanooks coach Scott Jerome stated in a press release. “I’m really pleased to see Raphaela get up in there; when she skis with confidence, she skis really well so it was fun to see that from her today.”
Jerome also was pleased with Konieczny’s performance.
“Rebecca just had another heck of a day, too,” Jerome said. “I know she can go fast at the sprint distances but she did it again today in the 5K and it was great to see her on the podium two times.”
The men’s race was closer than Friday, but the Nanooks still managed to pull out the win.
Sophomore Logan Hanneman, a Lathrop High graduate, won for the second straight day, covering the 7.5K course in 22:15.2.
“He loves racing at Birch Hill; he’s been doing it since he was probably five years old so he knows the course well,” Jerome said. “It was a really tight race, with the top seven guys under 16 seconds apart, until the last kilometer when Logan was able to open it up a little bit.”
UAA’s Viktor Braennmark (22:19.6) and Lasse Moelgaard (22:22.0) finished second and third, respectively, followed by a pair of Nanooks — senior Tyler Kornfield in 22:23.2 and sophomore Jonas Löffler in 22:24.6.
Loffler edged UAA’s third racer, Lukas Ebner, by 1.3 seconds to help the Nanooks edge the Seawolves by one point.
In the high school races Lathrop’s Jade Hajdukovich and West Valley’s Tristan Sayre won their respective boys and girls races.
Hajdukovich posted a winning time of 20:05.1 in the 5-kilometer race, finishing a little more than a minute ahead of West Valley’s Sarah Jackson in 21:05.3. Rounding out the top five finishers were West Valley’s Jewell Heidiger in 21:52.8, Lathrop’s Kiana Hamlin in 22:43.3 and Colony’s Tracie Haan in 23:16.8.
Sayre captured the boys 7.5K race in 26:04.8, more than a minute ahead of teammate Sam Hiltenbrand, who finished in 27:19.8. Lathrop’s Sam King was third in 27:30.3, while John Snelders of Valdez was fourth in 27:36.5 and David Swenson of West Valley rounded out the top five in 27:50.
Complete race results are in today’s Sports Scoreboard on Pages C2-3.