by Dennis Dalman
Three of five top skiers from the Cathedral/Sartell Nordic Ski Team placed in the top 100 finishers in the State Nordic Ski Racing Meet held Feb. 17 at Giants Ridge Resort near Bibwabik in northern Minnesota.
There were three events at the meet: a pursuit race, a freestyle race and a classic race. Greta Danielson of Cathedral High School finished in 70th place, Anna Lindstrom of Sartell High School placed 84th, Andrea Franz, also of Sartell High School, finished 95th and Kyle Sovada of Cathedral High School finished 92nd.
There were 118 Nordic skiers from throughout Minnesota who competed in the meet in what was a nearly perfect-weather day for excellent skiing.
The other skier from the Cathedral/Sartell team who qualified for the state meet is Josh Hill of Sartell. Unfortunately, Hill could not compete because of a serious knee injury. During the Section 8 meet at Callaway Feb. 7, Hill injured his knee early in the day, although he persisted, despite intense pain. Not only did he finish the races, but he was one of the five members of the Cathedral/Sartell team to qualify for the state meet.
“While I would have loved to have been able to ski (at the state meet),” Hill said, “it was fun to watch and encourage my teammates and other great skiers throughout the state.”
The event near Biwabik involved 118 skiers competing in 5k races. The competition was fierce, partly because with only two tracks, the skiers were extremely close together at times, making it difficult to go around other skiers.
“Being boxed in made it really hard to pass,” Lindstrom said. “There were kids right in front of me and right next to me and no place to go to move around them.”
Having five members from the Cathedral/Sartell team compete at state was historic because in previous years there had never been that many skiers on the team advance to state competition.
Nordic skiing competition involves a 10k pursuit race. It is divided into two parts. For the first part, skiers race a 5k route and ski in what is known as the “skating” or “freestyle” form. The skiers then take a 2.5-hour break and each skier returns to the exact place he or she stopped after the first stretch. Then they ski the rest of the course (5k) to the finish line. The second form of skiing must be “classical,” similar to the cross-country skiing technique.
The big winners of the state meet were the Roseville boys’ team, the Duluth East girls’ team; and individual skiers Ben Saxton of Lakeville North and Nora Gilbertson of Stillwater.