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

By Marc Swanson
For The LOG 

Seward skiers wax to the max at state meet


The Seahawk Nordic ski team pitted themselves against some of the best skiers in the nation the weekend before last. The stakes were huge. In the end cookies were exchanged and facial hair was sacrificed.

On the weekend of Feb. 21-24, over 200 skiers from around the state converged upon Kinkaid Park in Anchorage in a flurry of color and flashing ski poles. Seven Seahawk skiers qualified for state including seniors Miles Knotek, Lindsey Kromrey and Laura Dyer along with teammates Jerry Swanson, Brooke Estes, Dylan Gillespie and Nick Zweifel. Rico Steibner also accompanied the team as their very own German cheerleader.

Considering the high level of competition, the team chose to throw the gauntlet to a comparable team (Wasilla) coached by former Seahawk Aubrey Smith. Cookies and pride were the collateral. Little did they realize that the Seahawks were primed. And stoked.

Thursday’s race was classic where correct grip wax is critical. Correct grip wax can mean all the difference between, well, eating cookies and dining on crow. Boys were first out. It’s a guess that Nick was spurred on by a side bet with teammate Swanson beating him at both races. Winning the bet meant he’d get to design Jerry’s new look. Zweifel posted perhaps his best race of the year coming in a mere 17 seconds and two positions behind Miles Knotek who had an excellent race finishing in 84th position. Swanson came in a full three minutes later. Ouch. Strike one.

Conditions just prior to the girl’s race changed enough that it required a quick reconfiguring of wax right next to the chute. It was a Hail Mary but as Kromrey put it later, “It was the best.” Lindsey pulled in 43rd position – an incredible finish in a extremely competitive field. Wasilla? Let’s say they had some serious time to make up.

The next morning was the skate race where glide is everything. There were other issues as well including catapulting canopies, forgotten boots at the hotel, and a scurry to find the right wax combo but in the end the Seahawks again settled into serious race mode. Although our cookie war with Wasilla was, barring any catastrophe, pretty well wrapped up, Swanson’s beard lay at the crux of fortune and destiny of this race.

Again, the wax dart board was spot on. Kromrey again had a strong race posting a 53rd finish with teammates Dyer and Estes coming in respectively 84th and 85th. In regards to the boy’s 10-kilometer skate race, Miles posted an excellent time of 33:17. Jerry’s beard? Well, seems that Zweifel had been toying with him all year for he came in 17 slots ahead of the now clean shaven Swanson.

And Wasilla? Coach Smith and team gave it their all, but when all was said and done cookies were exchanged (both ways as a sign of sportsmanship and the fact we sure didn’t need two batches of cookies) with promises of retribution for next year.

But the real story is behind the figures. Seward Seahawks skiers results are placed in the full field of skiers. When broken into 3A and Regional Schools kudos must be delivered to Kromrey and Knotek. Miles who most often skis in the 30s place value in the Region posted 11th in 3A schools. Kromrey ended up with All State Recognition having a combined time that put her in ninth place for 3A schools. Quite the race to end two great high school skiing careers.

Boys 7.5K Classic

84, Miles Knotek, 27:44, 86, Nick Zwiefel, 28:01, 108, Jerry Swanson, 30:43, 111, Dylan Gillespie, 31:04

Girls 5K Classic

43, Lindsey Kromrey, 20:45, 89, Laura Dyer, 23:55, 95, Brooke Estes, 24:41

Boys 10K FreeStyle

79, Miles Knotek, 33:17, 83, Nick Zweifel, 33:37, 100, Jerry Swanson, 35:29, 112, Dylan Gillespie, 40:09

Girls 7.5 Freestyle

53, Lindsey Kromrey, 27:32, 84, Laura Dyer, 30:44, 88, Brooke Estes, 31:22


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