Alpine Skiing: Warriors ski to a pair of 3rds
HASTINGS--As a team, Brainerd was consistently good--just not good enough. Both the Warriors boys and girls teams placed third Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Section 5-1A meet at Afton Alps to just miss a state trip by one place. The Warriors will send...
HASTINGS-As a team, Brainerd was consistently good-just not good enough.
Both the Warriors boys and girls teams placed third Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Section 5-1A meet at Afton Alps to just miss a state trip by one place.
The Warriors will send five individuals to state as Brandon Neifert and Cal Madison made it for the boys. Emma Hiebert, Maddie Kalenberg and Erin Hoelzel will represent the Warrior girls, who collected 279 points to finish behind section champion Orono and section runner-up finisher Minnetonka.
"We're really proud of both teams," Warriors head coach Jim Ruttger said. "We needed our top four guys and girls to ski clean and everybody did on both sides.
"We did have of a glitch (Wednesday), Ali Krantz, who has been one of our top four skiers all year had a fall that resulted in a concussion so we had to slide an alternate into her sport so Calia Chaney filled that spot and she did really well."
The Warriors boys secured 278 points to finish behind Minnetonka and St. Cloud. The Warriors were sitting second after the first run, but St. Cloud leap-frogged Brainerd by only four points
"That was probably the most disappointing part of the day because we haven't had a boys team advance for years," Ruttger said. "To be within four points, a lot of things happened today that could have changed that. We knew we were knocking on the door.
"We've been up against St. Cloud several times this year and they've gotten the best of us most of those times and they had the better team today again. It was really close."
Neifert led the Warrior boys with his fifth-placed combined time of 1:04.53. Neifert skied the third-fastest opening run and recorded the sixth-fastest second run.
"I was pretty excited after that first run," Neifert said. "That's probably the best place I've been in for any run.
"I gave it a full sender on that second run, too. Conditions were more even on that run and so I didn't end up third, but I was pretty happy with fifth place."
Madison moved up three spots to finish 14th and advance to state for the second time in his career.
"On the second run, I knew I had to kick it into gear if I wanted to make it," Madison said. "I just let it go and let my skis do the work.
"My ninth-grade year I made it to state and I wanted to be able to do that again this year. Last year, I didn't make it so I wanted to push myself even harder this year to make it. I was just really happy to hear that I made it."
Max Darkow placed 21st overall after he compiled the 22nd fastest first run and the 22nd fastest second run. Gavin Hoelzel rounded out Brainerd's scoring with his 22nd-place overall finish.
Hiebert improved three places after her opening run to finish 13th overall. The 12th fastest second run helped her to a combined time of 1:09.79.
"I knew that I needed to get my time a little bit faster to get to be able to go to state," Hiebert said. "I had a talk with my coach and he told me that I just needed to let it rip and let everything go and I just really needed to have fun."
Kalenberg improved one stop to advance to state as she finished 16th overall in 1:10.72. Right behind her was Erin Hoelzel who finished 17th in 1:10.84.
"I was really excited to go out on the hill," Hoelzel said. "We had skied there before earlier in the season and I was just going to go out and do my best. That really was my only expectation.
"I definitely wanted to make sure I stood my whole second run because I wanted to go to state. That was mainly my goal and then I got halfway down and I decided it was go time. I told myself 'we have to make it to the bottom of this hill as fast as we can.'"
Cassidy Chaney placed 27th with a combined time of 1:13.07 for Brainerd's 279 points.
Calia Chaney was 29th and Maddie Pederson placed 31st for the Warriors.
"We were looking at that and there's quite a gap between second and third," Ruttger said. "I don't know if there is any way we would have been able to catch Orono or Minnetonka. We knew going in that was going to be the case. Those teams are consistently at the top of our section. It's really tough to catch them.
"I don't think third was an unreasonable result."
Boys team scores: 1-Minnetonka 316, 2-St. Cloud 282, 3-Brainerd 278, 4-Hopkins 243, 5-Orono 227, 6-Wayzata 226, 7-Blake 223, 8-Westonka 210, 9-Northwest Alpine 199, 10-Breck 196, 11-Benilde-St. Margaret 176, 12-Annandale 125, 13-Lakes Area 115, 14-Robbinsdale-Armstrong 107,
Individual winner: Eli Quist (Minnetonka) 1:02.23,
Brainerd results: 5-Brandon Neifert 1:04.53, 14-Cal Madison 1:05.89, 21-Max Darkow 1:08.07, 22-Gavin Hoelzel 1:08.32, 29-Anthony Elsenpeter 1:10.19, 54-Trevor Hutchison 1:16.62.
Girls team scores: 1-Orono 331, 2-Minnetonka 323, 3-Brainerd 279, 4-Breck 255, 5-Wayzata 228, 6-Blake 219, 7-St. Cloud 214, 8-Hopkins 201, 9-Benilde-St. Margaret 196, 10-Westonka 189, 11-Annandale 162, 12-Northwest Alpine 160, 13-Robbinsdale-Armstrong 114, 15-Lakes Area 66,
Individual winner: Cordelia Sherwood (Orono) 1:03.91,
Brainerd results: 13-Emma Hiebert 1:09.79, 16-Maddie Kalenberg 1:10.72, 17-Erin Hoelzel 1:10.84, 27-Cassidy Chaney 1:13.07, 29-Calia Chaney 1:13.23, 31-Maddie Pederson 1:13.65.
Next: State Alpine ski meet at Giants Ridge in Biwabik Wednesday, Feb. 13.