Four skiers qualify for nordic state meet


photo by Mindy Benton

From left to right: state qualifiers Kaelin Jackson, freshman, Renae Anderson, junior, Claire Benton, senior, and Ellie Munger, eighth grader.

Starting off a week of section meets across the state, the temperatures for Section 6 were looking surprisingly high. After a weekend of snow melt, forecasts for Theodore Wirth Park showed highs around 31 degrees Fahrenheit, making for slushy, hard-to-wax conditions.

Ranked sixth-best team in the state by Skinnyski, the Royals entered the state-qualifying meet against 11 other schools, most notably first-ranked in state Robbinsdale Armstrong and third-ranked Wayzata. However, qualification only allows for the top two teams from each section to qualify, along with the next six fastest individuals.

The skiers’ first race of the day was a five kilometer classic race.

Coming in first with a 42 second margin after the classic race was Armstrong’s Hannah Rudd, followed by Wayzata’s Michaela Keller-Miller. Hopkins took third and fourth with Claire Benton, senior, and Renae Anderson, junior. Although Armstrong and Wayzata held the top two team positions from the start, Hopkins had two more skiers in individual-qualifying position: Kaelin Jackson, freshman, in 13th and Ellie Munger, eighth grader, in 17th.

Next came a five kilometer skate pursuit race. In the pursuit style used only at Conference Championships, Sections, and State, racers start based off their position in the first race – giving Rudd a 42 second head start.

16 girls from Section 6 received awards after a day of racing. They will compete in the state meet on Feb. 11.
Mindy Benton
16 girls from Section 6 received awards after a day of racing. They will compete in the state meet on Feb. 11.

Rudd increased her lead to 59 seconds with the fastest skate time over the next five kilometers, with Keller-Miller and Benton maintaining their second and third places. Anderson was upset to fifth place by Breck’s Ingrid Thyr, who posted the second fastest skate time of the day. Jackson moved back one place to finish in 14th, and Munger up two places to 15th, allowing both to move on to the state meet.

Anderson, Benton, Jackson, and Munger will leave with their coach, Mr. Rob Fuhr, Tech. Ed, on Wednesday, Feb. 10 to drive up to the Giants Ridge ski trails in Biwabik. They will compete in their tw0-race pursuit championship on Thursday, Feb. 11.