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

By Marc Swanson
Seahawks Ski Coach 

Seahawks ski Soldotna Regionals


Marc Swanson | Seahawks Ski Coach

Seward High School Seahawks ski team dudes Dylan Gillespie, Logan Smith, Jerry Swanson and Nick Zweifel were confident that they would ski on snow or something similar at the Borough competition in Soldotna last weekend.

At first it seemed to be a rewrite from Boroughs the week prior. The mighty Seahawk skiers left Seward in the biggest snow storm of the year, which is not really saying much, to arrive in Soldotna to bare roads, a light dusting of new snow and potentially marginal ski conditions. That said, never underestimate the powers and tenacity of the groomers. The Soldotna groomers must've been working and reworking the ice and trucking snow in from Georgia to create a course that was, considering everything, excellent and fast.

Five Seahawks competed at Regions: Brooke Estes, Logan Smith, Hunter Kratz, Nick Zweifel and Jerry Swanson. Unlike other competitive sports, the vetting for this week's State competition relies on individual coach parameters. This coach takes into account the Borough and Region finishing times (varsity and junior varsity) to determine who will be able to ski within the field of big dogs in Anchorage. The pressure was on and the skiers didn't disappoint.

Fridays race was freestyle (skate) sent off at 15 second intervals. It makes it tough because the skiers don't have any way to gauge how they are doing compared to the competition. Brooke headed out first and managed to secure her berth at State with a seventh place JV 5-kilometer finish with a time of 19:36. Not bad Brookey. Not bad at all. She made it to the podium, team jacket and all.

Zweifel had already secured his bus seat to Anchorage, he skied a decent 16:28.8 in the varsity race. It was Swanson who seemed especially hungry though. Skating by, the kid looked focused and ready for the course. Guess he was. He ended up with a 11th place finish (just off the podium) but with a personally satisfying and redeeming 16:23.2 time, highly notable for being 5.6 seconds faster than Zweifel. An elusive goal up to this point.

Not to be overshadowed was the Smith-Kratz contingent who skated to the finish in 19:16 and 19:48 respectively – and respectably. Both Logan and Hunter are newbies to the team and their times have been decreasing markedly with each sporadic meet. You'll be seeing a lot more of these two in coming years.

The next day dawned cold, in the single digits, with a skiff of fresh rarified snow. That made waxing for the classic race low on stress, however the mighty Seahawks must've used up their energy from the day prior. Certainly it couldn't been the massive Mexican food and desert from the night prior. It certainly could not have any connection to the fact that we've had but a couple opportunities to ski on classic, for the team's times were not quite as spectacular but still ink worthy.

I would like to post a warning that the State Ski competition, and thus the end of the 2013-14 ski season, is this weekend. Why the warning? I expect some massive dumps of snow next week that should last clean into June. Whadda year!


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