Sonot Kkaazoot

Bridget Doran approaches the finish line on the Chena River downtown after competing in the 50-kilometer classic-technique Nordic ski race of the 31st annual Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot on Saturday.

FAIRBANKS — Alasdair Tutt said he looks forward to the Denali State Bank Sonot Kkaazoot Nordic ski event.

“I like it because it’s the only race I do each year. Being a ski coach, I typically watch races and wax skis for racers”,” said Tutt, who is the assistant coach of the FXC junior training and racing program of the Fairbanks Nordic Ski Club.

“Getting out there and participating is always fun,” he added.

Spectators and race officials at the Sonot Kkaazoot’s finish line under the Centennial Bridge on the Chena River downtown watched Tutt cross the finish line in first place in the 50-kilometer classic-technique race.

Tutt, amid clear skies andtemperatures in the high 20s, won in 3 hours, 24 minutes, 53.3 seconds. He finished nearly 36 minutes ahead of his nearest competitors in the only classic race of the 31st editiion of the Sonot Kkaazoot.

Tutt entered the Sonot Kkaazoot for the first time last year and competed in its 50K free-technique race.

Tutt started the 50K classical on Saturday morning with a conservative pace for the out-and-back course that headed down the Chena River, went up to trails at Fairbanks’ Birch Hill Recreation Area and connected to Fort Wainwright’s Birch Hill Snowboard and Ski Area.

“I kind of went trying to conserve some energy. Last year, I went out a little too hard,” he said. “So my goal was to ski the whole race well — not to collapse halfway through and drag myself around.”

Patrick Johnson placed second in 4:00:01.2 and Bill Husby was third among 50K classic entries in 4:00:35.3. Ray Halderman came in fourth (4:25:15.7) and Benjamin Bartos took fifth (4:29:03.1).

Anna Rix earned the women’s 50K classic title in 3:49:57.2, while Wendy Boger took second in 4:11:51.9 and Corrine Leistkow was third in 4:37:15.7.

Complete results of the race were not avaible at press time. They’re scheduled to be published later this week.

About 310 people registered for the four races — also 20K, 40K and 50K free-technique divisions — of Sonot Kkaazoot, which gets it title from two Athabaskan words.

Sonot (pronounced “saw not”) means springtime and the translation of kkaazoot is to slide your feet across the snow.

Four of the top five in the 50K free-technique race were University of Alaska Fairbanks skiers.

Ti Donaldson, a West Valley High School senior, won in 2:19:15.0, while UAF senior Seiji Takagi and redshirt freshman Lukash Platil placed second and third, respectively, in 2:19:51.3 and 2:21:43.0. Max Donaldson, Ti’s brother and a UAF junior, was fourth in 2:26:40.8, and freshman teammate Logan Mowry came in fifth in 2:28:51.1.

Sarah Freistone emerged with the women’s 50K free victory in 2:54:42.3. Krista Heeringa skied to a runner-up effort of 2:58:50.0 and Melissa Lewis finished third in 3:03:40.3. Hillary Saucy took fourth in 3:07:33.7 and Donna DiFolco rounded out the women’s top five in 3:07:34.6.

Zanden McMullen worked his way to the 40K free title in 1:54:12.6, the race’s only finisher in less than two hours.

Jonathan Burrell placed second in 2:00:36, and he was respectively followed by Dale Baurick (2:09:53.2), Jim Shine (2:16:39.1) and Colin Campbell (2:19:21.9.).

Alyeska Daniels paced the women’s 40K entries in 2:23.18.0, exactly two-tenths of a second ahead of Maggie Whitaker. Laura Grage was third in 2:48:11.7; Cynthia Decker took fourth in 2:51:58.9; and Hjelle Personius placed fifth in 2:52:13.5.

The 20K race, which mostly ran along the Chena River, won was overall by West Valley junior Ari Endestad in 51:59.4. Brian Kirchner was runner-up in 53:48.3 and Andre Stringfellow came in three-tenths of a second later for third place.

Joe Riddle finished fourth in 54:59.0 and Josh Baurick capped the top five in 59:02.8.

West Valley sophomore Kendall Kramer, the girls Skimeister (individual champion) in the state high school meet at the Birch Hill Recreation Area in February, won the women’s 20K in 56:04.7.

Peyton Presler came in second in 1:05:34.2 and Mallory Presler took third in 1:05:48.0. Brit Rozier placed fourth in 1:07:54.2 and Kristan Kelly finished fifth in 1:09:12.2.

Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.