FAIRBANKS—The Alaska Nanooks opened the Alaska Nordic Cup against the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves with a dominating performance on a chilly Friday Night at Birch Hill Recreation Area.
The Nanooks took the top seven spots in the women’s race and four of the top five positions in the men’s en route to a 28-14 lead over the Seawolves after the first day of the three-day competition, which is part of the Goldstream Sports Tour de Ski Fairbanks.
“Though one race in the big picture of the entire season means very little, we are quite pleased with the way things went today,” Nanooks coach Scott Jerome said in an email to the News-Miner. “Our skiers prepared well and executed when it counted.”
Senior Rebecca Konieczny of Anchorage and sophomore Logan Hanneman of Fairbanks captured individual victories in a field of 61 women and 74 men.
The Tour de Ski Fairbanks continues today with a the first race in the Flint Hills Town Race Series — the Fairbanks Youth Sports Season Opener.
It is a mass start event with the women racing 5 kilometers and the men going 10K.
The Tour de Ski Fairbanks concludes Sunday with a 10K pursuit race.
“We still have two races to go in the Nordic Cup and UAA is a good team. They are not going to roll over,” Jerome said. “We must take each race seriously and respect our opponent.”
Friday’s sprint prologue featured the women racing 2 kilometers and the men going 3K.
Konieczny captured her first collegiate victory by posting in 6 minutes 26.1 seconds. Senior teammate Marit Rjabov was second in 6:27.6 and sophomore Alyson McPhetres was third in 6:33.9.
“Rebecca showed she has excellent speed,” Jerome said. “She trained well this summer and it showed tonight. I am very happy that first individual college win came at Birch Hill. That’s a special moment for a senior.”
In the men’s 3K prologue, sophomore Hanneman, a Lathrop High School graduate, notched a winning time of 8 minutes 32.8 seconds. The Seawolves’ Lass Moelegard took the runner-up spot in 8:47.7, followed by Nanooks Tyler Kornfield (8:49.3) Jonas Loeffler (8:49.7) and Max Olex (8:50.4).
“Logan was clearly the class of the field today,” Jerome said. “He was head and shoulders above the rest of the men.”
Jerome said Hanneman, 19, skis much older than his age.
“It’s quite interesting that he is still not 20 years old and yet races like a 22- or 23-year-old,” Jerome said. “He has his eyes on World Junior Championships., U.S. Junior Nationals, and NCAA Championships. I think he has the ability to be on the podium at all of these events.”
The top non-collegiate women’s skier in Friday night’s race was Hanna Gillis of West Valley in 7:15.6, good for 16th place in the standings.
On the men’s side, the top non-collegiate finisher was NSCF-FXC skier Riley Troyer in 9:20.2 for 17th place.
Contact the News-Miner sports department at 459-7581.