Nordic skiing: Stillwater boys first, girls second in opener


ST. PAUL — Taking advantage of this weekend’s snowfall, the Stillwater boys’ and girls’ Nordic ski teams opened their season on Wednesday with a 5.7-kilometer  Suburban East Conference freestyle race at Como Park.

“It’s always nice to get that first race of the season checked off,” Ponies co-coach Kris Hansen said. “After only a few days of snow, everyone still felt a little shaky and it took awhile to remember the routines and the emotions that go with racing.”

Competing under warm conditions, the Stillwater boys tied Roseville for the top spot with 451 points. Mounds View followed in third place at 445 while Forest Lake finished fourth at 388.

“Como is a fairly flat course with lots of turns,” Hansen said. “You can see much of the race from just about anywhere and that degree of visibility is unusual. It’s kind of nice to have during that first race as you are very aware of where all your competitors are relative to your own position. It’s nice from a coaching standpoint because, even though the athletes can’t always hear you, you have a good view of how they are riding their skis and working the race.”

The Stillwater girls placed five skiers in the top nine, but finished second behind rival Roseville 475-471. White Bear Lake was a distant third at 431 while Forest Lake followed at 381 in the seven-team field.

I’m satisfied with the race as the first performance of the year,” Hansen said. “We have a solid base but there are plenty of things we can focus on — No. 1 of which is just regaining the feel of being on snow, riding forward on the skis, sitting comfortably on the downhills and working the corners. Today’s race looked a little forced, understandable given we’ve been on snow for all of three days.”

Sean Bjork of Stillwater was the top individual finisher in the boys’ event with a time of 15:48 — about five seconds faster than Roseville’s Lucas Mason — while Kellen Wessels followed for the Ponies in fifth place with a time of 17:00. Paul Larson was next for the Ponies in 11th place with a time of 17:23 while Seth Cattanach (18:07) and Davis Gray (18:25) finished 17th and 21st to complete the top five.

Eighth-grader Shad Kraftson wasn’t far behind in 22nd place with a time of 18:29 and teammates Luke Richie (24th, 18:31), Sam Hanson (26th, 18:46) and Reis Jones (30th, 19:05) also finished among the top 30.

In the girls’ race, Roseville featured the top two finishers in Caroline Brisbas (17:00) and Anna Nelson (17:44), but the Ponies bunched up with Megan Weaver (18:42), Shelby Ahrendt (18:46), Cecelia Peterson (19:01), Haley Beech (19:01) and Vessa Pearsall (19:05) placing fifth through ninth. Sofie Wicklund placed 13th in a time of 19:33.

“The thing that excited me most about the race was seeing the potential this team has to work and grow,” Hansen said. “If you look carefully, you can see past the bobbles and stumbles and slips and see the raw athletic talent that just needs a little polishing. More importantly, the emerging spirit that this team has. They are hungry to improve and they are really coming together and think of themselves as a team. This isn’t the same team as last year, there are lots of changes, but the girls are doing a great job of defining who they are this year. This may be a bit of a rebuilding year for us, but we’ve got some excellent building materials on hand. I’m really looking forward to the season.”


Boys team standings

1, tie, Stillwater 451 and Roseville 451; 3. Mounds View 445; 4. Forest Lake 388; 5. White Bear Lake 383; 6. East Ridge/Park/Woodbury 269; 7. Hastings 287.

Top 5

1. Sean Bjork (St) 15:48; 2. Lucas Mason (Ros) 15:53; 3. Steve Hokanson (MV) 16:50; 4. Wilson Pietrozerski (Ros) 16:57; 5. Kellen Wessels (St) 17:00.

Stillwater results

1. Sean Bjork 15:48; 5. Kellen Wessels 17:00; 11. Paul Larson 17:23; 17. Seth Cattanach 18:07; 21. Davis Gray 18:25; 22. Shad Kraftson 18:29; 24. Luke Richie 18:31; 26. Sam Hanson 18:46; 30. Reis Jones 19:05; 33. Mike Gilleo 19:17; 34. Stefan Nelson 19:23; 36. David Ross 19:34; 38. Matt Trumper 19:45; 42. Matt Fronczak 20:33; 43. Graham Krumpelmann 20:37; 52. Carl Bohacek 24:38.


Girls team standings

1. Roseville 475; 2. Stillwater 471; 3. White Bear Lake 431; 4. Forest Lake 381; 5. Mounds View 308; 6. East Ridge/Park/Woodbury 294; 7. Hastings 173.

Top 5

1. Caroline Brisbas (Ros) 17:00; 2. Anna Nelson (Ros) 17:44; 3. Allison Ternes (WBL) 18:01; 4. Hanna Torui (Ros) 18:11; 5. Megan Weaver (St) 18:42.

Stillwater results

5. Megan Weaver 18:42; 6. Shelby Ahrendt 18:46; 7. Cecelia Peterson 19:01; 8. Haley Beech 19:01; 9. Vessa Pearsall 19:05; 13. Sofie Wicklund 19:33; 21. Siri Brochman 20:47; 24. Morgan McBride 21:22; 32. Anya Nelson 22:31; 33. Sammi Potts 22:36; 34. Clara Wicklund 22:41; 36. Maria Kalambokidis 22:45; 39. Kristen Diederichs 23:00; 40. Christine Corcoran 23:19; 43. Siri Bohacek 23:49; 44. Rana Kraftson 23:50; 46. Sierra Cammi 23:55; 49. Paige Aschenbrener 25:11; 58. Ellen Kneeskern 27:33; 59. Emma Rettner 28:18; 61. Emily Hughes 31:34.