Coach Pete Toye (11-23-15) – The Buccaneer ski team ventured north this past weekend for their annual season opener in Fairbanks at the Fort Knox Town Race Series #1. This traditional event is always much more of an intense two day practice opportunity for the team rather than the more traditional high school races coming very soon. Valdez joined state power West Valley and Lathrop as the only three high schools represented in the race. Additionally, there was a mix of very competitive local and former UAF skiers so the team had the opportunity to get a feel for actual racing even though the number of entrants in each race was relatively small. The most important aspect of the weekend is that we got in two days of skiing on actual snow, hills, and classic tracks for the first time. All skiers performed to their ability level at this point in the early season relative to aerobic fitness, strength, and classic technique. It was a very profitable weekend for all involved including the coaches. It is always fun to compare individual performances with other athletes at similar stages of conditioning and development, but all must be kept in perspective because the Fairbanks skiers have been skiing this course for almost month. We will definitely continue to improve in all aspects of the sport as we spend more time actually skiing!
Junior Rylee Norris was the top Buc performer with a very strong 8th place finish in the 5K girls high school division classic race with strong efforts also demonstrated by Junior Taylor Huston and Senior Josie McNelly. Senior Stuart Relay was the lone Buc entry in the boys 7.5K race and skied a very acceptable pace for such a distance this early in the season. Junior Colton Prevost had a great JV race, in a limited field, finishing 1st in the 2.5K classic event closely followed by first year skiers Sophomore Josten Carlson and Junior Christopher Cummins. Junior Angie Alfaro showed great promise, in her first year ever skiing, by finishing 1st in a small field of JV girls.
The Bucs next see their next action on December 4 & 5 at the Matsu Invite in Palmer/Government Peak.