The West High nordic ski teams made an all-around impression at the Skiathlon at Anchorage’s Kincaid Park on Saturday.

Classic and skate, girls and boys: The Eagles crushed it.

The event, hosted by the Nordic Ski Association of Anchorage and West High, rewards skiers who can hold their own in both nordic skiing disciplines – classic and skate. Racers complete a 5.2 kilometer classic loop, change out classic for skate skies in the transition zone, then finish with a 4.9 kilometer skate course.

West High’s Samantha Legate leads East High’s Marley Ireland off the starting line on her way to winning the Skiathlon.

West High’s Samatha Legate and Blake Hanley each took individual titles. The Eagles also took the girls and boys teams titles.

With the season ramping up for Regions, State, and then Junior Nationals for some, both West squads appear to be peaking at the right time.

Legate powered out to a lead right off the starting line of the girls race and never looked back. The West senior came into the transition zone alone – where racers must click out their classic skis and into their skate skis as quickly as possible – and was already in her skate skis and away before the chase pack arrived at the midway point.

West’s Samantha Legate leaves the transition zone.

The11th place finisher at State last year finished the slightly more than 10 kilometer course in 33 minutes, 41.6 seconds. East High’s Marley Ireland (34:15.8) and Service High’s Olivia Soderstrom (34:57.8) followed Legate for 2nd and 3rd. Ireland passed Soderstrom during the transition and slowly pulled away from her during the skate portion.

Legate will have plenty of competition at the Region IV championships on Feb 10th-11th. Three different girls won each of the last three big races in the Cook Inlet Conference and in all of them Ireland was runner-up. And the CIC is loaded with with underclassmen who keep getting better. Four 9th graders in Soderstrom, Rosie Conway, Mia Stiassny, and Maya Tirpack finished among the top 11 at Saturday’s skiathlon.

Fourth place finisher, East High’s Rosie Conway.

Legate got help from teammates Merridy Littell (5th), Lauren Dorris (9th), Parker Stevens (13th), Piper Sears (14th), and Scarlett Parr (17th) to earn the team crown.

The East High girls team finished solidly in second place. The Thunderbird program, which has been on the rise lately, placed five girls (Ireland, Conway, Svea Thomas, Abigail Howe, Beatrix Brogan) in the top-twenty overall.

“The season is exciting as we head towards Regions,” said East High head ski coach Gary Snyder.


  1. Samantha Legate, West, 33:41.6
  2. Marley Ireland, East, 34:15.8
  3. Olivia Soderstrom, Service, 34:57.8
  4. Rosie Conway, East, 35:21.6
  5. Merridy Littell, West, 35:26.0
  6. Mia Stiassny, South, 35:28.7
  7. Meredith Schwartz, Service 35:38.4
  8. Amaeli Kam-Magruder, Dimond, 36:12.5
  9. Lauren Dorris, West, 36:28.7
  10. Kiley Dennis, Chugiak, 37:27.7

Complete results here.

The boys race was tight-knit throughout. The lead changed hands several times and ultimately the first five skiers finished within seven seconds of each other.

South senior Owen Young led coming into the transition zone, but Hanley prevailed. The West junior finished in 27 minutes, 31.8 seconds to edge out South freshman Vebjorn Flagstad (27:32.9).  Another freshman, Service’s Elias Oswalt, finished in a rare tie with West’s  Murphy Kimball (27:34.4), followed by Young (27:38.9).

South High’s Owen Young leaves the transition zone with the lead while teammate Vebjorn Flagstad changes skis.

The West boys squad placed four skiers (Hanley, Kimball, Hatcher Menkens, and Cole Flowers) in the top-ten.


  1. Blake Hanley, West, 27:31:08
  2. Vebjorn Flagstad, South, 27:32.9
  3. Murphy Kimball, West/Elias Oswald, Service (tie), 27:34.4
  4. Owen Young, South 27:38.9
  5. Ethan Howe, East 27:46.1
  6. Hatcher Menkens, West 27:59.0
  7. Elias Soule, Service 28:13.3
  8. Liam Chisholm, West
  9. Cole Flowers, West

Complete results here.

The Service boys, who return everyone from last year’s state championship team including 2022 Skimeister Aaron Power, finished second in the team standings despite suffering equipment setbacks Saturday. The Cougars will surely be in the mix for the big races on the horizon.

Saturday’s Skiathlon served as a nice statement race for the West squads, but individual and team titles at Regions in two weeks are wide open.

“In both the boy’s and girl’s races different kids have won,” said Snyder. “It looks like there are a handful from each gender that might come up with a win.”


Additional Article Sponsors:
Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing, Don Clary & Judy Besh, RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor
School Boosters:
Zareena and Allen Clendaniel, Rick Mystrom, Mark Silverman, Burgerfi, Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing, Midas Alaska, BOSCO's, Replacement Glass,Kathleen Navarre, Jim Hajdukovich, Residential Mortgage, Aspen Endodontics, RE/MAX Dynamic Properties, Kevin Taylor, Harlow Robinson, Team Heat, Todd Whited, Mark and Jamie Johnson, Firetap, Coho Financial Group, R&M Consultants, Inc., Invisalign-Ben Ward, Advanced Diagnostics, INC, Alice & Gunnar Knapp, The Conway Family, Don Clary & Judy Besh, Dan Rufner, On the Border, Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC., Korndrop Family Foundation, Advanced Diagnostics, INC,