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NORDIC SKIING

Nordic Skiing: Murphy Kimball is golden on a day when Alaska skiers claim six medals at Junior National championships

by | Mar 13, 2024 | Cover Story, Nordic Skiing

Murphy Kimball

Anchorage’s Murphy Kimball cruised to a gold medal and five other members of Team Alaska picked up medals — three silvers and two bronzes — Wednesday at the U.S. Junior Nationals in Lake Placid, New York.

Earlier this winter Kimball became the youngest American man to ski in a World Cup race when he competed in a pair of sprint races in Canmore, Alberta. Though he didn’t advance to the heats in either of those races, he showed why he’s one of the nation’s best young sprinters Wednesday at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg ski area.

Kimball, who trains with the Alaska Winter Stars, was the fourth-fastest U18 skier in the preliminaries and went on to win his quarterfinal and place second in his semifinal. In the six-man finals, he triumphed by more than four seconds with a time of 2 minutes, 51.59 seconds.

In two of Wednesday’s six age-group races, two of the podiums featured multiple Alaskans.

In the U20 men’s final, Cole Flowers of the Winter Stars and Derek Richardson of Alaska Pacific University took silver and bronze, respectively. Alaska’s Owen Young, a University of Vermont skier from South High, finished fourth, 1.07 seconds behind Richardson.

In the U20 women’s final, three APU skiers grabbed top-5 finishes — silver medalist Marit Flora, bronze medalist Lily Pannkuk and fifth-place Rose Whittington-Evans, who won Monday’s 7.5-kilometer freestyle race.

Also claiming a medal was Winter Stars skier Miya Kam-Magruder, who dominated the U16 girls competition until the finals.

Kam-Magruder was the fastest skier in preliminaries and won her quarterfinal and semifinal races before placing second in the finals. She trailed winner Isabella Waters of the Intermountain Division by six seconds in the day’s final race to settle for silver.

The six medals doubled the number won by Team Alaska in Monday’s freestyle races, where Whittington-Evans took gold and Vebjòrn Flagstad and Oskar Flora earned silver and bronze, respectively, in the U18 boys competition.

“It was quite a good day for Alaska,” coach Anson Moxness said by text. “We had some really great performances and as a coach I’m really proud of them all.”

Halfway through the championships, Alaska is in third place in the Alaska Cup team standings, which boast Alaska’s name because of the division’s dominance back when a team trophy was established.

There are nine divisions, and all include competitors from multiple states except for Alaska, which gets its own division due to geography.

New England leads the Alaska Cup standings with 640 points, followed by Intermountain with 541 and Alaska with 536.

“It’s very tight,” Moxness said. “But despite the divisional competition it’s very nice to see our skiers making friends with many other athletes.”

In all, Team Alaska advanced 25 skiers to the heats on Wednesday.

Six advanced in both the U16 and U18 divisions, although only Kimball made it to the finals.

In U16 boys, Jack Leveque of the Alaska Winters Stars was the only Alaskan to make it to the semifinals. He wound up finishing fourth in the B finals to place 10th overall. Making it to the quarterfinals but no farther were Ethan Styvar, Raven Spangler, Gabe Black, Owen Harth and Grayson Stanek-Alward.

In the U18 boys division won by Kimball, Elias Soule made it to the semifinals and wound up ninth overall after placing third in the B finals. For Flagstad, Hatcher Menkens, Noa Kam-Magruder and Peter-John Bragonier, the day ended in the quarterfinals.

In the U20 men’s race, Flowers, Richardson and Young made it to the final. Making it to the semifinals were Ethan Eski of UAA and Ethan Howe of UAF; they placed 10th and 11th overall by finishing fourth and fifth in the B final, respectively.

Also making it the U20 men’s quarterfinals were four skiers with Alaska ties — Aaron Power, a Service High graduate who skis for Dartmouth and is on the New England division team; Corbin Carpenter of UAA, who is on the Rocky Mountain division team; Ben Dohlby of UAF, who is on the Great Lakes team; and Davis Isom of APU, who is on the Midwest team. None of them made it past the quarterfinals.

Among U20 women, four Alaskans plus a UAF skier advanced to the heats, including Flora, Pannkuk and Whittington-Evans. Courtney Fussy of the Fairbanks FXC club made it to the quarterfinals and Elsie Weiss of UAF, skiing for the Rocky Mountain division, made it to the semifinals. Weiss placed 10th overall by finishing fourth in the B final.

Miya Kam-Magruder was one of four Alaskans to advance to the heats in the U16 girls division. Elliot Sensabaugh of Alaska Nordic Racing reached the semifinals and wound up 12th overall after placing sixth in the B final, while APU’s Mia Stiassny and Madelin Lowen reached the quarterfinals.

Only one skier qualified for the heats in the U18 girls competition — Piper Sears of APU, who finished fifth in her quarterfinal.

Two days of racing remain. There will be mass-start classic races on Friday and relay races on Saturday.

Story made possible by:

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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