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WARRIORS ATHLETE OF WEEK Unwavering determination pays off for state Nordic skier

When Allison Kosobud didn’t qualify for the state track and field finals in June of 2012, it motivated her to qualify for state in her senior year of cross country running.

But that didn’t happen as she missed qualifying for state in cross country by one measly place.

When this winter rolled around, Kosobud was determined not be denied — again. Her cross country disappointment pushed her during the Nordic skiing season, all the way to Thursday’s state meet.

“I thought I was dedicated,” Kosobud said. “After (track), I thought I was more prepared to push myself (in cross country) after coming that close. Then, coming even closer in cross country, I sat there and thought, ‘You know what? You’re going to do it in skiing.’

“I’ve been staying late after practice, asking the coaches if I can do anything to improve, how to improve my technique, what I should do outside of skiing, what I should do on weekends. I was trying to dedicate all of my free time to skiing.”

Her dedication is backed by the fact she volunteers to teach youngsters how to ski on weekends at Northland Arboretum in Baxter.

“Amidst all the college applications, all the tests, all the other commitments she has, I’ve never seen her out of sorts, or complaining about a thing,” Warriors co-head coach Mary Claire Ryan said.

Kosobud wasn’t complaining about a third-place finish in the Section 8 race Feb. 5 at Camp Ripley. She kicked off her race with a second-place time of 21:03 in the classic. She finished with a 17:26 third-place skate for a total time of 38:29.

In the section pursuit, Kosobud finished behind only the Little Falls duo of Maria Hauer (38:09) and Mattia Hendrickson (38:22) and in front of Callie Smith of Mora (39:26).

“(Smith) and I go back and forth a lot,” Kosobud said. “I was excited to see that I had placed ahead of her during the classic race.

“During the afternoon skate, I just went out trying to hold my spot. Mattia won the skate race — she’s a strong skater. But I told myself if she passed me, I was going to stay right on her butt.”

Ryan thought Kosobud made a statement with her section finish.

“She has gone back and forth with the gal from Mora and Maria Hauer,” Ryan said. “It was impressive how Maria, Mattia and Ali just blew the field away. Those three were in a pack together. Maria gapped them a little bit. After those three came in, there was a big gap before the next kids came in.”

Warriors co-head coach Chris Hanson said Kosobud is an athlete who “works hard and works smart.”

“Combined with her competitiveness, we get a very tough athlete who gets outstanding results,” he added. “Ali knows that success is achieved long before race day, and that is one thing that sets her apart from her competitors, who more often than not are chasing her.”

Three days later, others were chasing Kosobud in the Central Lakes Conference meet at Fergus Falls where she won the classic title in 19:03.

Ryan said Kosobud didn’t have anything to prove at the conference meet.

“She had already qualified for state,” Ryan said. “That shows what a class act she is, as a competitor and a sportsperson.

“She got a good lead from the start. It was a smaller race — numbers-wise. She’s out there on her own, having to push herself and ski as well as she did. It was a longer course than normal. Considering the slow snow, her result was pretty impressive.”

Kosobud skis in her third state meet this week. As a junior she finished 83rd, as a sophomore she was 41st.

“All-state is a definite goal,” she said. “I’m going to skate my hardest, and see where I stand for classic. I’m hoping to be able to pick some people off and be satisfied for my Nordic skiing career to come to an end.”

Before her final race, Kosobud thanked her coaches for what they have done for her and for her teammates.

“I wouldn’t be anywhere without the coaches, especially without Mary Claire, who has coached me pretty much my whole career,” Kosobud said. “She was my junior high coach, and moved up to be a high school coach. Honestly, I don’t think any of us would be as good as we are without her and Hanson.”

Other notable efforts:

■ Ian Haug, boys basketball, scored 21 points against Moorhead.

■ Cole Smith, boys hockey, scored a goal and collected three assists against Sartell and Bemidji.

■ Savannah Stone and Alex Stone, girls Alpine skiing, qualified for state.

■ Gabriella Haire, Nordic skiing, won the conference girls skate race.

■ Katelyn Johnson, girls basketball, scored 20 points against Sauk Rapids.

■ Brock Saatzer and Devin Annable, floor hockey, each had a hat trick and three assists against Wayzata. Annable added a natural hat trick against Mounds View.

MIKE BIALKA, sports editor, may be reached at 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at