Alpine Skiing: Chaney, Hiebert ski to 1sts for Warriors
The Brainerd Warriors hosted a five-team event Monday, Jan. 31.
LAKE SHORE — Calia Chaney and Esten Hiebert defended their home turf as both captured individual titles at the Brainerd Invite Monday, Jan. 31, at Mount Ski Gull.
Chaney put down the two fastest runs leading to a first-place time of 44.76 which led the Warrior girls to second place. It’s Chaney’s first varsity victory.
“I had two pretty good runs and it was really close with the second-place girl and a lot of other girls,” Chaney said. “I’ve never won our home meet before or even come close. I wasn’t really expecting it, to be honest. Lauren Kalenberg fell on her first run and she’s one of my top competitors and friends so that kind of gave me an advantage. I was sad for the team and I wanted her to stand because she is my friend.”
Chaney led after the first run with a 21.95. Hannah Taylor was seventh followed by Piper Grillo in 10th and then Aubrey Wiczek landed in 14th followed by Morgan Krieger 15th and Amanda Trusty 16th.
“One thing that has helped me this year is I’ve made the nerves go away,” Chaney said. “I just race and have fun with it. My confidence is pretty high. I’m very confident with my skiing. I just think this year, I’ve skied a lot better because of my mindset going into things. Skiing is a very mental sport about how you flip the course and how you look at it and what you decide you’re going to do for your run. It’s really helped me, like I said, getting the nerves to go away and having fun with it as opposed to stressing out about it.”
After both runs, Taylor finished in seventh with her 47.55 followed by Grillo in 10th and Wiczek in 14th for the Warriors' second-place 160 team score.
The St. Cloud Breakaways won the event with 174 points.
“I think this is the third meet in a row that Calia has been our top finisher,” Ruttger said. “I believe this is her first varsity win. She is such a competitor. She’s a terrific athlete and starting to get a little more size and strength and that’s transferring over to faster times. She’s really consistent. You rarely see her ski-out or have issues.”
Gavin Hoelzel opened with the fastest first run on the boys' side at 20.58. Hiebert was his closest competition with a 20.82. Parker Linn was fourth with Emmett Johnson rounding out the top four skiers in seventh.
“After the first run, I wasn’t as confident as I’d like to be,” Hiebert said. “I still stuck in there and I did it to the best of my ability.”
Brainerd’s depth was showing, too, as Max Krieger and Garrett Krantz were both knocking on the top-10 door.
“It was definitely a fight for the gold medal tonight and Gavin and Esten have been dueling it out all season,” Ruttger said. “Gavin, overall, has had the edge so for Esten to sneak was big. He’s contributed so much to this team over the years. To finish strong like that the week before sections is encouraging.”
On the second run, Hiebert clipped Hoelzel 21.43 to 21.75 to top his teammate 42.25 to 42.33. It’s Hiebert’s second varsity win this season. Linn finished fourth with a 43.42 followed by Johnson in 44.66. Krieger dipped into ninth place with a 46.34. Krantz placed 11th and Derek Halbur scored a top-20 finish with his 16th-place time of 50.40.
“I definitely changed my game plan a little bit,” Hiebert said. “On that second run, I usually go harder on it. That’s really about it. I just went a little harder on it.
“I’m pretty confident right now. Going into the section meet as a team, I’m thinking we can make it to state as a team. We’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves. We’re kind of just skiing right now, but when sections hit, it’ll probably be a little bit different.”
Sean Baumann skied the third-fastest second run, but was disqualified following the first run.
“The unsung hero the last couple of meets is Emmett Johnson,” Ruttger said. “We’ve got this pack of four guys that are really strong and if any one of our top four seeds goes down we need somebody to pick it up. Tonight it was Sean. He went down on his first run, but he’s got blazing speed. So your fifth skier has to pick up those points and the last few meets that’s been Emmett so kudos to him for skiing solid and being consistent.”