Boys Alpine Skiing: Brainerd returns one state qualifier
As a freshman, Brainerd's Brandon Neifert qualified for the 2017-18 state Alpine meet but was unable to ski due to an injury. Warrior head coach Jim Ruttger hopes Neifert will receive another opportunity to ski at state in February 2019. Ruttger ...
As a freshman, Brainerd's Brandon Neifert qualified for the 2017-18 state Alpine meet but was unable to ski due to an injury.
Warrior head coach Jim Ruttger hopes Neifert will receive another opportunity to ski at state in February 2019. Ruttger said Neifert is fully invested this season and, in addition to Brainerd's team, will ski for a USSA team out of Powder Ridge in Kimball where he may get to ski some giant slalom and super G with his USSA team this winter. "I think that will all be good for his development," Ruttger said. "Brandon's a great skier. He can be kind of hard on himself if he doesn't do well because he's driven to do well. He skis an aggressive line. He takes some risks that sometimes can pay off really well. If we can keep him on his skis, he'll rack up a ton of points for us this year for sure."
Neifert, one of the team's captains, is one of four skiers returning from Brainerd's Section 5 team. He finished 17th in the section race.
Fellow captains Cal Madison and Max Darkow are back along with Anthony Elsenpeter. Madison, a state qualifier during the 2016-17 season, finished 25th at the section meet, Darkow 27th and Elsenpeter 28th.
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Alpine skiing 2018-19
- Head coach: Jim Ruttger, 30th season
- 2017-18 boys finish: Sixth in Section 5
- 2017-18 girls finish: Third in Section 5
- Boys state entrant: Brandon Neifert
- Boys captains: Cal Madison, Max Darkow, Brandon Neifert
- Girls captains: Emma Hiebert, Maddie Kalenberg
- Assistant coaches: Tom Burton, Deby Zarling
- Volunteer coaches: Jeff Aga, Larry Zarling, Courtney Neifert, Andy Rangen, David Ude
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"Cal is skiing really well," Ruttger said. "Max has always been a great skier for us. He's real consistent and technically solid. Anthony has also put on some height and weight that will transfer into faster times. We're working on those guys to get them to ski more aggressive lines and take bigger risks to shave some time off.
"We're trying to give all these guys a bunch of repetition on courses this year at practice so then they can run a few hundred gates every night and develop their skills."
Brainerd, which is scheduled to open Friday, Dec. 14, in the Cook County Invitational at Lutsen, won six meets last season and finished sixth in the section. The Warriors are the defending team champion at the Cook County meet.
Skiers in the race to secure the other varsity spots include junior Trevor Hutchison, freshmen Sean Baumann and Esten Hiebert and eighth-grader Gavin Hoelzel. Hutchison was one of the Warriors' alternates last season.
"A couple guys I've really been impressed with so far in practices include Gavin Hoelzel, an eighth-grader who's skiing really strong," Ruttger said. "He's a real athletic kid. He's been working hard at dryland training. He really seemed to start to develop a lot of strength and speed this year. We ran timing for the first time (Dec 8) and he was one of our fastest guys.
"Sean was probably our most improved new skier last year," Ruttger said. "He's really coming on strong. He's got a bunch of new gear. He's getting a feel for what that's like. He's a hard-worker. I see a lot of passion with him for ski racing."
Seniors: Kevin Chrisinger, Kameron Lee
Juniors: Max Darkow, Trevor Hutchison, Cal Madison
Sophomores: Briston Domino, Anthony Elsenpeter, Ethan Johnson, Brandon Neifert, Micah Wood
Freshmen: Sean Baumann, Matthew Erholtz, Esten Hiebert, Logan Omberg, Bryce Unger
Eighth-graders: Jack Anderson, Gavin Hoelzel, Emmet Johnson, Garrett Krantz, Max Krieger, Parker Linn
Seventh-graders: Peter Breitbach, Grant Johnson
Friday, Dec 14, Cook County Invitational at Lutsen 10 a.m.
Dec 21, Wild Mountain Invitational at Taylors Falls 9 a.m.
Jan 3, Hibbing Invitational at Giants Ridge 10 a.m.
Jan 7 Lakes Area Invitational at Detroit Mountain 5:30 p.m.
Jan 10, Moose Mountain Invitational at Lutsen 10 a.m.
Jan 17, Powder Ridge Invitational at Kimball 5:30 p.m.
Jan 19, MLK Invitational at Giants Ridge 9 a.m.
Jan 24, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton Invitational at Spirit Mountain 10 a.m.
Jan 25, at Afton Alps Invitational 12:30 p.m.
Jan 28, Brainerd Invitational at Mount Ski Gull 5 p.m.
Feb 7, Section 5 Meet at Afton Alps 10 a.m.
Feb 13, State meet at Giants Ridge