Three Juneau teens made the podium of the Government Peak Cross-Country Ski Invitational on Saturday.
The Juneau Nordic Ski Team sent just under 20 high school and middle schoolers to the two-day race series held on the Government Peak Recreation Area winter trails near Hatcher Pass outside of Palmer.
Arne Ellefson-Carnes, Clem Taylor-Roth and Finn Morley posted the top-10 fastest cumulative times in a pair of 5-kilometer races: an interval-start freestyle on Friday and mass-start classic on Saturday.
In the freestyle race, Ellefson-Carnes placed second with a time of 14 minutes, 46 seconds. Taylor-Roth finished in eighth in 15:21 and Morley was 10th in 16:13.
In the classic race, Taylor-Roth finished in fifth place with a time of 16:08, edging sixth-place Ellefson-Carnes (16:16) and 10th-place Morley (17:25).
“It’s just been pretty fun to race just in general, to race with more people of similar ability,” Ellefson-Carnes said.
Taylor-Roth said he struggled with his pacing more in Friday’s race.
“We weren’t ranked in a certain order, so I was just in the middle of a group of slower skiers,” he said. “It’s a lot tougher to push yourself to the max when you aren’t skiing with other fast skiers. In the mass start today, I just stuck with the lead pack from the start and even as they started to pull away from me, I could keep my eyes on them, and have that be my goal to stick as close as possible.”
Morley said he thought Saturday’s race was more of an adjustment.
“I think the classic race was hard to pace today because it was a mass start so everyone was going at it and we were all hyped up,” Morley said.
For the girls freestyle, Anna Iverson placed 24th in 24:15. Katie McKenna was the first on her team in the classic race, coming in 21st in 24:19.
Palmer, Kenai, Grace Christian, Soldotna and Seward also competed in the meet.
The Juneau Nordic Ski Team is in its ninth season together and includes almost 30 youth. Mo Michels heads up the team as the head coach and coordinator.