At this weekend’s Western Interior Ski and Biathlon Championships, Nome walked away with 7 of 8 individual gold medals and athletes with a spot at the Arctic Winter Games.
To win those gold medals, Nome’s Nanooks started the weekend tackling White Mountain’s hilly outdoor tracks. High schoolers skied the 7.9 km Sweetheart Mountain Loop, while the junior high tackled a 3.9 km outside loop.
Out-racing skiers from all around the region, Nome sophomore Ben Cross and NBHS freshman Mallory Conger were the first two of Nome’s gold medals. Eighth-grader Tobin Hobbs and seventh-grader Clara Hansen also placed first for ski racing, increasing Nome’s gold medal count to 4.
Nanook racers Hobbs, Cross, and Conger repeated their performance to take home gold medals 5, 6, and 7 during the biathlon portion of the weekend.
Clara Hansen’s biathlon silver medal for second place in junior high girls bumped Nome’s overall medal count to 8. That made eighth-grader Shelby Williams of Galena the only non-Nome gold medal recipient of the weekend.
And as the championship weekend went on, Nome’s momentum only increased. Nome senior Emelyne Hobbs won double bronze, while the Nanooks went on to win the high school boys relay gold, high school girls relay silver, and junior high boys relay silver as well, rounding out the weekend’s medal total to 13.
Freshman Carlee Merriner of Galena took silver each day. Senior Walter Lord of Galena was a double silver medalist, and senior Sikulik Johnson was a double-bronze medalist. Seventh-grader Margo Daniels of Unalakleet earned a silver medal in the junior high ski race and a bronze in the biathlon.
Nome’s Cross, Conger, Hobbs, and Hansen were also crowned “skimeister,” or the MVP in each of their divisions.
For their hard efforts during the season, the skimeisters and Nome athlete Aaron Rose will compete on Team Alaska for the 2018 Arctic Winter Games in the Northwest Territories, Canada, next March.