Junior Nationals Ski

Ari Endestad (1), Everett Cason (2) and Kai Meyers stand behind the Alaska state flag after the finish of Monday's Junior Nationals Ski Championships U20 10km Classic at the Auburn Ski Club Training Center in Soda Springs, California. 

Team Alaska swept the top four spots of the Junior National Cross Country Ski Championships men’s U20 10-kilometer classic, led by West Valley graduate Ari Endestad’s first place time of 26 minutes and 2.3 seconds.

Junior Nationals, which are taking place at the Auburn Ski Club Training Center in Soda Springs, California, brings together over 400 athletes from 10 regions, including Alaska, to compete for individual national championships in four events: individual classic, freestyle sprint, individual skate and classic relay.

At the conclusion of the event, the Alaska Cup is awarded to the top regional team.

His Alaska and APU teammates Everett Cason, Kai Meyers and Garrett Butts finished second, third and fourth, respectively, out of 51 finishers.

In the women’s U20 5k classic race, Alaska’s Maggie Whitaker, who trains and races for the Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks’ FXC program, finished 15th out of 27 racers with a time of 16:20.8.

Anna Parent’s 14:53.4 was the fastest of the day. Adrianna Proffitt, who trains with Alaska Nordic Racing, was the top Alaska finisher in fourth place.

In the men’s U18 division, Josh Baurick was the top skier from FXC. Baurick finished 22nd out of 100 finishers with a time of 27:27.9. 

FXC teammate Luke Buth finished 20 seconds behind in 32nd place. Dale Baurick placed 42nd with a time of 28:12.2 followed 4.4 seconds later by Jordan Laker-Morris in 43rd place. Eric DiFolco finished 45th with a time of 28:26.7.

Will Koch of team New England won Monday’s race with a time of 25:03.4. Team Alaska’s Alexander Maurer, of Alaska Winter Stars, finished just over 22 seconds later in second place.

In the women’s U18 race, FXC’s Maggie Druckenmiller, finished 20th out of 93 finishers with a time of 15:34.2.

New England’s Nina Seemann of Stratton Mountain School recorded the fastest time of 13:58.8. Garvie Tobin, who trains with APU, earned the fastest time for Alaska with a 14:56.1 for fifth place.

In the men’s U16 5k race, Caleb Petersen of FXC finished 11th overall out of 73 racers with a time of 14:31.6. Nicholas Buth (15:42.9) finished 48th. Ezra West (16:04.2) was 56th and Elias Engman was 60th (16:14.3). 

Team Alaska’s top finisher, Aaron Powers from Alaska Winter Stars, placed third with a time of 14:04.06, just over 28 seconds behind first place Wes Campbell of Team InterMountain.

Abigail Haas grabbed the top spot for Alaska in the women’s U16 5k race with a time of 15:38.3, good for ninth place. FXC Teammates Hjelle Personius (17:22.5) and Hannah Delamere (17:23.5) finished 41st and 42nd, respectively.

Racing continues at 9 a.m. Wednesday with the freestyle sprint qualification.

Contact News-Miner sports writer Laura Stickells at 459-7530. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMsports.