Alpine Skiing: Stone, Warrior girls, boys ski to victories

EAST GULL LAKE--Savannah Stone was the most accomplished skier in the history of the Brainerd Warriors' Alpine program. In 2013, she skied to a runner-up finish in the state meet at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, the highest finish by a Warrior girl or...


EAST GULL LAKE-Savannah Stone was the most accomplished skier in the history of the Brainerd Warriors' Alpine program.

In 2013, she skied to a runner-up finish in the state meet at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, the highest finish by a Warrior girl or boy at state. Savannah was sixth the year before and skied at state on three other occasions.

But, according to Warriors coach Jim Ruttger, Savannah never achieved in the regular season what her sister, Alex, has this winter. In Monday's Warrior Invitational at Ski Gull, Alex won her fifth race of the season with a time of 47.94 in the final race of the regular season.

"Alex actually made a little bit of history with her fifth win this season," Ruttger said. "In looking back at some of our records, Savannah had an outstanding career with us and won four events in a year. This is the first year we've had a skier outright win five events.

"The races where Alex didn't finish first it was because one of her two runs she didn't execute well or she fell or skied off the course. Of those races, she was usually in first or second position-most of the time first. Alex is having an outstanding year."


Alex said she's not trying to compare herself to or outdo her sister.

"I'm just trying to do my best, but it's kind of cool," Alex said of winning her fifth race.

Monday, Alex helped the Warrior girls to first place. Tristan Elsenpeter's third-place finish in the boys race paced the Brainerd boys to the title in the 5-team meet.

A senior, in her sixth varsity season, Stone said her first run was solid and fast.

"My second run, I don't think I went all out but it was enough to still win," Stone said. "It was really fun, in the last race of (the regular season), to spend it at the home hill and get the win for the last time there."

Rounding out the Warrior girls' top four were Grace McGuire in second place, Payge Fitterer fifth and Madison Kalenberg 10th. McGuire was clocked at 51.70, Fitterer 54.50 and Kalenberg 59.6.

"We like this hill," Ruttger said. "We don't lose on this hill most years. We had a little scare earlier at Powder Ridge when both Annandale and St. Cloud came out on top of our girls team with basically the same skiers (as Monday). We knew we had to put it together tonight and all of our girls skied two clean runs. I think there was no way they were going to get beat on their home hill tonight and they came through."

"Grace McGuire has been very consistent in our second slot behind Alex. On the rare occasion when Alex has gone down, Grace is usually right there to pick up the slack. Grace had two great runs tonight. We're looking for big results from her."


In Monday's boys meet, Elsenpeter, Cal Madison, Grant Kosobud and Nick Krantz finished 3-4-5-6. Elsenpeter finished in 49.48, Madison 49.79, Kosobud 50.27 and Krantz 50.84.

"That's the third or fourth time this year he's been our top finisher," Ruttger said of Elsenpeter. "Those same four will be leading off our section team Thursday.

"You can see how tight their times were tonight. In any given race, one or the other will be ahead of any of the rest of them. If they're all on top of their game, it could be one of the best boys teams we've had down at sections in a while."

Elsenpeter said he had a good first run "and didn't mess up much. My second run didn't feel as good. It was a little tough but it was still a clean finish. I put two good runs down so I felt pretty good."

Brainerd competes in the Section 5 meet Thursday at Afton Alps. The girls team finished third last year and the boys were seventh.

"I think tonight for both teams it was a good confidence builder going into Thursday with our section challenge," Ruttger said. "If we don't go (to state) as a team, we certainly have some (boys and girls) who have the potential to advance as individuals."

Stone said she's going to go to sections with a positive attitude, make it through the competition and qualify for her fifth state meet.

"I'm probably not going all-out on my runs there," she said. "I'm going to try and get two good, solid runs and that should be good enough to get me to state. I have a lot of experience on that hill so I'm pretty comfortable there."


Elsenpeter said anything's possible at sections.

"Our top four skiers-Grant, Nick, Cal and I-if we all can ski to our best ability, which is possible, we could possibly make it as team but anything can happen out there," he said.

Boys team scores: 1-Brainerd 82, 2-St. Cloud Breakaways 71. 3-Annandale 23, Lakes Area Alpine and Herman-Norcross inc.

Individual winner: Nathan Hilbert (St. Cloud)

Brainerd results: 3-Tristan Elsenepter 49.48, 4-Cal Madison 49.79, 5-Grant Kosobud 50.27, 6-Nick Krantz 50.84, 9-Max Darkow 52.99, 10-Grant Madison 53.43, 14-Grant Anderson 56.72

Girls team scores: 1-Brainerd 94, 2-St. Cloud 77, 3-Annandale 71, 4-Lakes Area and Herman-Norcross inc.

Individual winner: Alex Stone 47:94

Brainerd results: 2-Grace McGuire 51.70, 5-Payge Fitterer 54.50, 10-Madison Kalenberg 59:61, 11-Anna Krieger 1:00.27, 12-Linsey Proctor 1:00.35, 15-Madelyn Sherman 1:02.94, 25-Emma Heibert 1:35.68


Next: Brainerd in Section 5 Meet at Afton Alps, Hastings: First run 10 a.m., second run 1 p.m. Thursday.


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