Alpine Skiing: Warrior girls dominate
LAKE SHORE — Mount Ski Gull was no match for the Brainerd Warriors girls team.
Nor was Lakes Area Alpine as the Warriors nabbed the top seven spots during Friday’s Warriors Invite.
Savannah Stone won the event in 49.61 or almost six seconds faster than the rest of the field.
The Brainerd boys team finished second, but needed a fifth-skier tiebreaker before falling by four points to Lakes Area Alpine. Brainerd’s Garrett Lee, a freshman, finished second in 59.65.
Stone skied a first run of 25.12 and a second run of 24.49. Those were the two fastest runs by anyone.
“She’s been looking better and better all year,” said Warriors head coach Jim Ruttger. “Even today, when she wins, she usually wins by a large margin.
“We’ve had some pretty big tests this year and she’s won most of them. Thursday (Section 5 meet) is the one that matters.”
Brainerd looks to be ready. Ashely Fitterer skied to a second-place 55.49. Alex Stone placed third in 57.04 and Grace McGuire, a seventh-grader, was fourth in 62.35.
“Our girls team has excellent depth this year,” Ruttger said. “We have the gal who can get on the podium and then we have a bunch of girls who can finish fifth through 10th and that’s how you rack up the points.
“Alex Stone is right in there, but the one who we’ve seen the most improvement from is Ashley. She was second today and was second at the Ridges. She’s been a real solid performer all year. Rarely does she ski out or have difficulties on the course.”
Brainerd’s Maddy Olson placed fifth, Molly Aga sixth and Emily Aga seventh.
“We lost Jaden Lindner to a knee injury so that’s going to hurt,” said Ruttger. “But Hannah Moen has been solid all year. She had one bad run today, though. Emily Aga is right in there. Then you look at Grace (McGurie) and MacKenzie Dondelinger. Both are in their first year of high school racing. Both have done remarkably well with their lack of racing experience.
“But all we need is four strong finishes next week.”
Ruttger said Thursday’s top competition will likely come from Minnetonka and Blake School.
On the boys side, Lee skied runs of 29.94 and 29.71 for his 59.65, which trailed only Andrew Backman of Lakes Area, who skied a 59.58.
“It was a big confidence boost for Garrett,” said Ruttger “He was 7/100ths from winning it today. He again is one of those kids, who through the course of the season, got more consistent in his ability to put two runs together. He’s actually a really fast skiier.”
Ben Thoele was sick and couldn’t ski today. Gabe Gibson missed a gate and was disqualified.
Tristan Elsenpeter finished third behind Lee with a time of 62.66. Cal Johnson finished sixth in 66.33 and Grant Madison placed seventh in 71.36.
“Elsenpeter is just a seventh grader,” Ruttger said. “He’s going to be a real fun guy to watch for the next several years as he gets bigger and stronger. He’ll be a force.”
Lakes Area, which consists of Alexandria, Fegus Falls, Wheaton, West Central, Chokio-Alberta and Herman-Norcross, beat Brainerd by four points.
Ruttger said despite the cold, the conditions at Ski Gull were perfect.
“They did an awesome job grooming the hill for us,” he said. “It was good, hard, firm snow. The cold didn’t hurt with that. But the cold kept the racing surface exactly how we like it.”
Boys team scores: 1-Lakes Area Alpine 88, 2-Brainerd 84
Individual winner: Andrew Backman (Lakes Area) 59.58
Brainerd results: 2-Garrett Lee 59.65, 3-Tristan Elsenpeter 62.66, 6-Cal Johnson 66.33, 7-Grant Madison 71.36, 13-Zach Strong 90.19, 14-Grant Kosobud 90.39, 15-Logan Waidelich 92.32, 16-Grant Anderson 99.63, 17-Connor Marachalar 117.52
Individual winner: Savannah Stone (Brd) 49.61
Brainerd results: 2-Ashley Fitterer 55.49, 3-Alex Stone 57.04, 4-Grace McGuire 62.35, 5-Maddy Olson 64.66, 6-Molly Aga 70.14, 7-Emily Aga 70.81, 9-Payge Fitterer 79.04, 10-Sidney Darkow 80.77, 11-Hannah Moen 82.36, 12-Rachel McKibben 87.29, 13-MacKenzie Dondelinger 115.60
Next: Brainerd in Section 5 meet at Afton Alps in Hastings 1 p.m. Thursday.