Nordic skiing: Stillwater girls top conference field


LAKE ELMO — The Stillwater girls’ Nordic ski team placed three skiers in the top five to outlast rival Roseville 479.5-466.5 in Wednesday’s Suburban East Conference classic race at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve.

Megan Weaver completed the 5.5-kilometer course in 19:04 to claim top honors while teammates Vessa Pearsall (19:36) and Haley Beech (20:39) followed in third and fifth to set the pace.

“It was great to be racing on real snow out in the woods today,” Ponies co-coach Kris Hansen said. “It seems really old school, skiing on imperfect tracks through the trees with natural snow falling from the ski, but today’s course is so much more interesting than golf courses or downhill venues.”

“It’s great to see Megan continue to race well as the season progresses. Last year I always felt she was a little startled to find herself skiing varsity and she’s taken another step up this year, providing some good leadership for our team. Her technique and fitness and confidence are all coming along. She’s got a lot of fire. Vessa also skied very well. She’s an exceptional double-poler and she used that strength very effectively today to stay fast throughout this long course. She’s a powerful athlete.”

The Stillwater boys, meanwhile, scored 448.5 points to finish third on Wednesday behind Forest Lake (470.5) and Roseville (453.5). Paul Larson was the top finisher for the Ponies in fourth place with a time of 16:55.

“I was pleased with our racing today,” Stillwater co-coach Torry Kraftson said. “Some of the boys may have been feeling the effects of our intense four-day training camp at Giants Ridge. Paul led us out with a strong race.

“Forest Lake showed us why they will be tough to beat this year. We had another really close result with Roseville that came out their way this time.”

The time spent up north paid more immediate dividends for the girls.

“We could really see the payoff from our holiday training camp during the race today,” Hansen said. “The girls looked determined and fit — you could just see them thinking about their technique and their race strategy as they stormed through the woods. There’s no replacement for spending five hours a day on your skis like we did at camp and overall, the team just looked more confident and aggressive.”

Cecelia Peterson finished sixth for the Stillwater girls in 21:05 and Shelby Ahrendt followed in ninth place with a time of 21:45. Sammi Potts (21:48) and Sofie Wicklund (22:04) finished 11th and 14th.

“We’ve got five or six girls that have formed a very solid core for us, after that, things become less clear about how we’ll stack up,” Hansen said. “There’s lots of moving around in the order as younger athletes develop and as the more experienced athletes refine their fitness and technique. I already know it’s going to be a challenge naming a conference team in one month.”

Sean Bjork was the second finisher for the Stillwater boys in seventh place overall with a time of 17:06. Kellen Wessels (18:02) and Luke Richie (18:15) followed in 12th and 14th while Davis Gray (18:40) and Sam Hanson (18:44) placed 19th and 20th.

“Davis bounced back from sickness over the winter break with a good performance today,” Kraftson said. “I was also pleased with Sam Hanson’s performance.”

n The Ponies are scheduled to compete in a pursuit race on Saturday at Green Acres.


Girls team standings

1. Stillwater 479.5; 2. Roseville 466.5; 3. Forest Lake 422; 4. East Ridge 379; 5. Woodbury 346; 6. Hastings 343; 7. Park 342.

Top 5

1. Megan Weaver (St) 19:04; 2. Caroline Brisbois (Ros) 19:17; 3. Vessa Pearsall (St) 19:36; 4. Kate Schaaf (FL) 20:33; 5. Haley Beech (St) 20:39.

Stillwater results

1. Megan Weaver 19:04; 3. Vessa Pearsall 19:36; 5. Haley Beech (St) 20:39; 6. Cecelia Peterson 21:05; 9. Shelby Ahrendt 21:45; 11. Sammi Potts 21:48; 14. Sofie Wicklund 22:04; 17. Morgan McBride 22:52; 18. Clara Wicklund 22:53; 19. Anya Nelson 22:53; 23. Maria Kalambokidis 23:52; 24. Christine Corcoran 24:00; 25, tie, Kristen Diederichs 24:01 and Hannah Beech 24:01; 27. Emma Rettner 24:09; 28. Siri Bohacek 24:22; 31. Siri Brochman 24:37; 35. Sierra Lammi 25:03; 38. Paige Ascehenbrener 25:52; 46. Sintra Nichols 27:40; 49. Abbey Johnson 28:02; 51. Sofie Solheim 28:45; 52. Hannah Brown 28:48; 55. Rana Kraftson 29:31; 56. Julia Kobilka 31:06; 58. Emma Lundgren 31:27; 60. Carly Johnson 32:58; 63. Megan Brandt 39:08.


Boys team standings

1. Forest Lake 470.5; 2. Roseville 453.5; 3. Stillwater 448.5; 4. White Bear Lake 392.5; 5. East Ridge 342; 6. Hastings 355.5; 7. Park 307; 8. Woodbury 294.

Top 5

1. Lucas Mason (Ros) 16:10; 2. Wilson Pietruzewski (Ros) 16:34; 3. Leo Hipp (FL) 16:53; 4. Paul Larson (St) 16:55; 5. Jacob Jankowski (FL) 16:55.

Stillwater results

4. Paul Larson 16:55; 7. Sean Bjork 17:06; 12. Kellen Wessels 18:02; 14. Luke Richie 18:15; 19. Davis Gray 18:40; 20. Sam Hanson 18:44; 26. Linder Wendt 19:18; 27. Seth Cattanach 19:23; 28. Matt Trumper 19:24; 29. Mike Gilleo 19:35; 30. David Ross 19:47; 31. Ries Jones 20:00; 33. Stefan Nelson 20:11; 39. Matt Fronczak 20:55; 42. Shad Kraftson 21:06; 49. David Holmes 22:09; 50. Andrew Peterson 22:16; 51. Josh Daum 22:42; 52. Nolan Noer 22:53; 54. Erik Jones 23:23; 60. Jack Gilleo 24:41; 61. Quayd Korman 24:55; 62. Aiden Hybertson 25:03; 63. Ben Wicklund 25:08; 64. Erik Nelson 25:16; 66. Mitch Carlson 25:30; 71. Carl Bohacek 26:22.