State’s standout skiers sprint to finish at Service’s Snowball Skate

The first Anchorage high school ski race of the year
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 10:28 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - While the first Alaska high school cross-country ski action took place in Fairbanks in November, student-athletes in Southcentral Alaska had their first taste of snow, speed and competition at the Snowball Skate at Service High School on Saturday.

After a 2.8-kilometer freestyle event, where the Service Cougars swept the team times, it was on to a 1K sprint where the top skiers were narrowed down to 30 individuals and competed in five quarterfinal sprints before seeing the six-person finals.

In the girls race, Dimond’s Amaeli Kam-Magruder surprised many, even herself, after sprinting to the victory, edging out some of the top skiers in the state in the process.

“It’s insane, I can’t stop, like, laughing,” Kam-Magruder said, one year after the senior finished sixth in the same race. “Like, I have never been ‘fast’ fast before, I screamed across the finish line, I actually couldn’t believe it. The talent that I beat, I train with them all summer, they are some of the most amazing girls I know, they’re the people who are pushing me to be the best I can be. A skier is made in the summer, like my coach always says, and I am training with them all summer and they’re like my best friends.”

Kam-Magruder placed ahead of Service’s top skier, Meredith Schwartz, and the duo was followed by West’s Samantha Legate, Service’s Madeleine Reckmeyer and Olivia Soderstrom and West’s Piper Sears respectively.

Service was well-represented in the boys races as well and a green and gold ski suit crossed the finish line first as Aaron Power, the reigning Alaska state Skimeister, took gold.

“I had a little bit of a shaky start coming around that first corner, I was slipping a little bit,” Power, who placed second last year, said after the victory. “... But I got up to the front pretty quick with my teammate Justin and we kind of led the whole time, the two of us, which is always really fun.”

As the reigning state boys champion, skiing for the reigning state team champions, Power set his ambitions high when asked what his season goals are.

“I would really like to keep both of those titles this year, keep our streak — especially for the team title — going,” he said. “We are on a three-year streak right now and it would be awesome to make it four, for all four years here.”

Power was followed across the line by Service teammate Justin Lucas, South’s Owen Young, West’s Liam Chisholm, Service’s Paul Hlasny and West’s Ethan Eski.

The next high school skiing event is a 7.5-kilometer classic race featuring the eight Cook Inlet Conference schools this Saturday at Kincaid Park.