Holmes leads Lady M's to cross-country title
Katia Holmes didn't just walk away with the top individual honors at the Kenai Peninsula Borough Cross-Country Ski Championships on Saturday in Seward, she walked away with something even better.
The Homer standout helped power the Lady Mariners to the borough's team championship by turning in a stellar effort on the flat course at the Trail River Campground, skiing her way to a career-best outing and a second-place mark.
Holmes took advantage of the flatter course to keep pressure on Kenai's Riana Boonstra throughout the combined 10-kilometer course. The first 4.8 kilometers of the race was held as a classic race. After a brief transition zone in which skiers could change equipment, they finished the final 4.2 kilometers under the skate format.
The course suited Holmes perfectly. She finished with a personal-best time of 29 minutes, 25.88 seconds - a mere 1.61 seconds off the winning place set by Boonstra, who won her second borough championship.
"It was great to see her have a fantastic comeback," said HHS coach Alison O'Hara.
The second-pace finish helps erase the memories of her struggles two weeks ago when she was disqualified for taking two wrong turns in two races.
Autumn Daigle also turned in a solid outing for the Lady Mariners. She finished fourth overall at 30:13.31 - just over 15 seconds behind Seward's Ruby Lindquist.
Zoe Stonorov and Brita Restad capped the Lady Mariners' title effort by placing 12th and 13th, respectively. Stonorov checked in at 33:10.91, while Restad skied across the finish line at 33:12.63.
As a team, Homer combined for an elapsed mark of 2 hours, 6 minutes, 2.63 seconds — a mark that was more than 40 seconds faster than borough runner-up Kenai. Soldotna placed third.
The Homer boys finished second in the team standings, despite solid showings from Jacob Davis and Denver Waclawski.
Davis finished fourth at 26:04.6. Waclawski was sixth at 26:08.1. Teammates Caleb Rauch, Josh Wisner and Ben Kettle skiied their way to seventh, 13th and 16th, respectively. Rauch finished with a mark of 26:40.3. Wisner completed the course in 30:28.1, while Kettle checked in at 30:44.8.
The Mariners' sixth entrant was forced to scratch.
As a team, the Mariners compiled a time of 1 hour, 49 minutes, 21.07 seconds. Soldotna took the borough title with a mark of 1 hour, 44 minutes, 26.62 seconds.
In JV action, Kate Baring claimed the top spot in the girls' race. She led a strong contingent of HHS racers across the finish line by posting a mark of 32:25.13.
Ellie Syth and Libby Fabich finished sixth and 11th, respectively. Kara Super was 15th.