Ski Tigers do it again, win 7th straight state title

MARQUETTE — Three weeks ago, the Copper Country Ski Tigers did something normally seen in sports other than skiing as they earned their seventh straight state title on the Al Quaal trails in Ishpeming.

Heavy snow totals delayed the opening of the weekend as groomers could not get out on the course in time for Friday, pushing the 5K skate race to Saturday. This meant that all three disciplines were completed in the same day, but that did little to keep the Ski Tigers from their goal of earning the victory.

It also meant the skiers spent over eight hours on the course.

A combined 80 skiers participated from six teams, Marquette, Traverse City, Petoskey, Ishpeming, Ironwood and the Copper Country.

The women’s team finished first among the six teams and the men’s team came in third. With the two teams’ combined scores, the Ski Tigers won the overall title.

On the women’s side, Anabel Needham had a huge day, winning the Pursuit and the Classic Sprints both. Maria Velat followed in third in both races. Autumn Eles took fourth in both.

Kora Johnson and Ingrid Seagren finished in the Top 7 in Pursuit and Top 9 in Classic Sprints.

Sage Resh Chimner, an eighth grader, took 11th in the Pursuit and 15th in the Classic Sprints. Jaden Serafin took 18th in both Pursuit and Classic Sprints.

On the men’s side, Joe Wood paced the Ski Tigers, taking third in the Pursuit and 10th in the Classic Sprints.

Galen Resh Chimner took fifth in the Pursuit and 11th in the Classic Sprints. Mike Fraley was ninth in the Pursuit and 13th in the Classic Sprints.

Cyrus Hamlin, an eighth grader, was 13th in the Pursuit and 14th in the Classic Sprints.

Grant Fredrickson and Quentin Niemi both finished in the Top 38 in Pursuit and Top 37 in the Classic Sprints.

In the Middle School Race, which a 3.5K Classic Sprint, Robin Kisiel won the girls’ race. Illya Valet won the boys’ race. Birk Seagren, Rockwell Huotari and Augie Hamlin finished second, third and fourth, respectively.

The Ski Tigers are back in action March 11-16 when Needham, Galen Resh Chimner, Wood and Johnson are all at the Junior National Championship races in Anchorage, Alaska.

A younger set of racers, Maria Velat, Eles, Ingrid Seagren, Fraley, and Cyrus Hamlin will be competing in the New England Nordic Ski Association (NENSA) U16 Championships in Bethel, Maine, Wednesday through March 11.