Bucs Score at Regions

VHS Ski Coach Pete Toye (2-21-16) – Mother nature smiled fondly on Valdez this past weekend as both the weather and snow conditions were perfect for great Region III Championship skiing. Several Valdez skiers posted outstanding performances in the field of 10 schools and almost 200 skiers.
Friday’s 6.5K skate race successes were led by junior Rylee Norris who posted a hard fought 7th place finish in a very competitive field of 39 varsity girls. Her time placed her 1st among all 3A girls in the event. Senior Josie McNelly posted her best career time in just her 2nd year of skiing and continues to show consistent improvement and great heart. Junior Taylor Huston had an outstanding JV race finishing 1st in the field of 44 and just gets faster each week. Junior Angie Alfaro had an impressive showing finishing 24th in just her first year on skis. Senior Stuart Relay was the lone Buc varsity entry and also skied his best regional skate race of his career. The JV boys featured an excellent performance by sophomore Ben Swanson who placed 1st in the field of 34 by an impressive 53 seconds. Freshman Isaiah Amberg surprised many with a very strong 8th place finish in the event. Following Amberg with strong and competitive efforts in order of finish were juniors James Hancock, Colton Prevost, and Chris Cummins.
Saturday’s 6.5K girls classic race again found Norris leading the way for the Bucs with another very strong race which again earned her 7th place overall. Her time earned her 2nd place 3A finish by a mere 1.8 seconds. McNelly again skied a personal best against great competition. Huston skied another very intense race for the JVs earning her a well-deserved 2nd place finish. Alfaro placed a most respectable 27th. Both the boys varsity and JV skied 8K in the classic competition. Relay had another strong effort and personal best culminating his last regions as a four year Buc skier. Swanson again led all JV boys with another stellar performance finishing in 1st by 36 seconds. Two other Bucs place in the top 20 in this JV event. Amberg finished in 14th position and Hancock in 17th , both were very strong performances. Prevost improved 6 places to 24th and Cummins moved up 3 to 30th.
In overall standings, Rylee Norris ended up a very impressive 6th place which was 1st place overall among all 3A girls by 11 seconds. Taylor Huston won the girls JV overall title in a tight battle by 3.7 seconds. Joining Taylor on the boys JV side was Ben Swanson who also finished 1st place overall by a whopping 1 minute 43 seconds. Other top 20 finishers in boys JV were Isaiah Amberg (17th) and James Hancock (19th), both of whom in their first year. The Soldotna Stars were crowned the boys team champion and the Kenai Kardinals took home the girls title. The Colony Knights placed 2nd in both divisions. The Bucs see their final action of the season this weekend at state in Anchorage.