Seawolf skiing takes on UAF rivals at Alaska Nordic Cup

The UAA and UAF nordic ski teams kicked off the start of their 2018-19 season over the weekend with the 15th annual Nordic Cup, an in-state dual meet. The Seawolves traveled from Anchorage to Fairbanks to take part in the two-day meet on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

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UAA Nordic skii team. Photo credit: UAA Media

After Friday, the first day of the meet, both UAA men’s and women’s teams had a slight lead over UAF.

The first day of the meet consisted of the men’s 11.25-kilometer classic race and the women’s 7.5-kilometer classic race. The scoring of the day was determined by combining the top 3 finishers from the men’s and women’s side of each respective team.

For the Seawolves, Michaela Keller-Miller was the top finisher on the UAA women’s side. The junior finished first overall with a time of 21 minutes and 23 seconds. Following only 0.4 seconds behind her was junior teammate Natalie Hynes, and trailing at fifth and less than two seconds later was junior teammate Anna Darnell.

Together, the times for the three of them were combined to get an overall time of 1 hour, 4 minutes and 3 seconds. In comparison, UAF’s top women finished in third, fourth and eighth to get a combined time of 1 hour, 5 minutes and 36 seconds.

As for the men, UAA also beat out the UAF by just less than a minute. While the Seawolves had a combined time of 1 hour, 21 minutes and 53 seconds, the Nanooks finished with a time of 1 hour, 22 minutes and 13 seconds.

The combined score came from UAA’s top three finishers: Toomas Kollo, Sigurd Roenning and JC Schoonmaker.

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Senior Kollo finished the race at No. 2 overall with a time of 27:01. Following him in fourth place was freshman Roenning with a time of 27:22 and Schoonmaker just behind at fifth with a time of 27:30.

Both teams returned on Dec. 1 to compete in the men’s and women’s individual-start and classic spring races.

Roenning and Kollo went No. 3 and No. 4 in the “A” bracket finals to be the top men UAA finishers, followed by Schoonmaker and Brandon Herhusky at sixth and seventh in “A” bracket.

For the women, Hannah Rudd was the top Seawolf to place in the “A” bracket to finish in third, followed by Hynes in seventh.

In addition, Keller-Miller and Jenna DiFolco went first and second in the “B” bracket finals, followed by Anna Darnell at fourth.

Head coach Andrew Kastning was pleased with the way the meet turned out.

“I saw the starting point for a strong season. The team is coming together, and it was great to see our skiers moving in a tight pack,” he said. “‘Game ball’ goes to Michaela and JC for two strong days and showing a lot of hard work turned into solid ski racing. We leave winners, but they’re hungry for more.”

Overall, this is the second year in a row that the Seawolves took the title for the Nordic Cup.

The UAA skiers will be back in action on Jan. 3 for the U.S. National Championships in Craftsbury, Vermont.