The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By LOG Staff 

Seahawks host Seward Invite, Part 1


Wolfgang Kurtz | The Seward Phoenix LOG

Dylan Gillespie skis under a bower of pines against the backdrop of Sheep Mountain and then out into the home stretch at the Seward Ski Invite. Facing a very competitive field Gillespie finished out at seventh overall for the JV contestants.

It may have been pouring rain in Seward, but the weather gods were kind to the skiers at the Seward Highway’s Mile 12 on Saturday. Though warm with a bit of a slight drizzle, fresh warm snow made for fine conditions for the Seward Invite Skate Ski competition. Eighty skiers from around the Kenai Peninsula converged on the Divide Ski Area for an excellent fun-filled day of competition including teams from Nikiski, Homer, Soldotna and Kenai. The race was well organized by local ski-guru Marylynn Barnwell and parent-food guru Erin Knotek and run by a half a bazillion volunteers.

Barnwell, a veteran ski racer and ski race organizer, made changes to this year’s race to include a mass start in the meadow. This created an entirely different race from previous years. It added a variety of terrains, and since it was a mass start, an exciting race for spectators. Conditions were warm but soft providing a good course with manageable turns, instead of sheer ice. Everyone – skiers, coaches, and spectators – seemed to enjoy the new course. Those on foot sporting cameras or just tracking the action appreciated the layout as they trudged from end to end snapping photos.

Regulars from the Seward Nordic Ski Club were observed around the ski complex enjoying the product of their endeavors as a crowd nearing 300 spilled through the surrounding hills and dales, meadows and vales. The club is largely responsible for the rejuvenation of the ski area and has spent untold hours spiffing up the runs.

The Bear Creek Volunteer Fire Department maintained a crew on location in case they were needed. However, despite some spills and thrills and the fact that some competitors were on fire in the metaphorical sense, there were no medical emergencies. Seward High School principal Trevan Walker held down the master of ceremonies gig during the closing awards ceremony.

Marc Swanson

Lindsey Kromrey slogs it out with Soistman Cassidy from Homer and Makaela Salzetti from Kenai.

Seward skiers did quite well. Lindsey Kromrey nearly broke the top three but was edged out to fourth (ahhh... but remember to stretch the boot out). Miles Knotek, an exceptional technique skier, had a fine race in a tough field ending up 16th overall. Jerry Swanson edged out Nick Zweifel (revenge is so sweet) as both were vying for supremacy in their first varsity race. Junior varsity female combatants Brooke Estes, Laura Dyer and Alice Pfeiffenberger finished third, fifth and seventh and the JV boys Dylan Gillespie and Rico Steibner battled to seventh and 13th, respectively.

Next week begins the final set of competitions. Borough finals will be held in Homer with regionals the following week. From these contests the state competitors will be chosen and be sent off to State Nordic Championship in Anchorage in late February.

Marc Swanson, SHS nordic ski coach, contributed to this article.


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