Another former Stillwater individual state champion is making waves on cross-country ski trails this winter.
Nora Gilbertson, a former Ponies teammate of Afton native and Olympic Nordic skier Jessie Diggins, earned All-American honors in four events at the Junior National Cross Country Ski Championships on March 1-8 in Stowe, Vt. The Lake Elmo resident represented the Midwest Team at nationals for the fifth year in a row. Skiers earn a spot on the elite team through a series of qualifying races held throughout the year.
Like Diggins before her, Gilbertson won an individual state championship for the Ponies while claiming the pursuit title in 2012.
Gilbertson, a sophomore who also competes for St. Olaf College under coach Tom Jorgenson, finished among the top eight in three individual events at junior nationals and joined Midwest teammates Sonja Hedblom and Kristen Bourne to place third in the 3 x 3-kilometer relay on the final day of competition on March 8.
Gilbertson placed eighth in the 5-kilometer classic race with a time of 16:44.9 on March 3, finishing less than 25 seconds behind winner Tara Humphries of Bates College. Gilbertson was the top finisher for the Midwest Team in the opening event.
She followed with seventh-place finishes in the classic sprint on March 5 and the 10-kilometer freestyle race on March 7. Gilbertson crossed the line in 31:18.7 to finish 31.4 seconds behind winner Maggie Williams of Sun Valley in the freestyle race.
After competing in the 18-19 age group, this marks Gilbertson’s final year competing at junior nationals. The 19-year-old is expected to compete for the Oles and at senior nationals next winter.
In addition to her state championship, Gilbertson was the prestigious Mesabi Invitational classic race as a senior in 2012 and is also a two-time winner of the American Birkebeiner 23-kilometer classic race (2011 and 2012).