State Nordic ski berths on the line this week

Irondale junior Joey Jankowski finished ninth in the Northwest Suburban Conference Nordic ski championships on Feb. 28.
Irondale junior Joey Jankowski finished ninth in the Northwest Suburban Conference Nordic ski championships on Feb. 28. (submitted photo)
Irondale sophomore Liz Axberg competed in the Northwest Suburban Conference Nordic ski championships for the Knights' girls team.
Irondale sophomore Liz Axberg competed in the Northwest Suburban Conference Nordic ski championships for the Knights' girls team. (submitted photo)

For residents of the northern states, the turning of the calendar to February usually means the worst of winter is behind them. For prep Nordic skiers in Minnesota, it means the biggest competition of the season is only days away.

The Minnesota State High School League section meets are this week and competitors from all three Bulletin-area high schools go after state berths on Wednesday in Minneapolis. The Section 5 meet is held at Theodore Wirth Park.

This is the first year where the top two teams in the section advance to state. It has been that way for years in cross country running, and the Nordic ski coaches had been pushing for the change for a number of years.

Both teams from Irondale have state aspirations heading into the section meet. 

On the boys' side in Section 5, Andover is the only ranked team in the section and Irondale is the only team mentioned as being on the cusp. With the top two teams advancing to state, the Knights appear to have a strong shot at advancing out of sections.

The girls race in Section 5 could be a three-team affair with eighth-ranked Roseville as the narrow favorite. Andover and Irondale aren't ranked in the top 10, but were two of seven teams lurking just outside the top 10.

The Knights are coming off runner-up finishes in last week's Northwest Suburban Conference championships.

Irondale's boys team finished second to Andover in the conference meet held Jan. 28 at Theodore Wirth. Andover, fifth in last week's state rankings, accumulated 623 points while the Knights finished with an even 600.

Five Irondale skiers earned all-conference honors, including junior Tim Axberg, who finished fifth overall. Junior Joey Jankowski finished ninth, sophomore McEwan Rodefeld was 17th, senior Corey Momsen ended up in 25th and sophomore Josh Tillman was 31st. Junior Marcus Schultz finished in 39th place and earned honorable mention all-conference honors.

Irondale's girls team also took second behind Andover at the conference meet, but the margin of victory for the Huskies was a bit higher. Andover piled up 699 points to 607 for Irondale.

Six Irondale skiers finished high enough to earn all-conference honors. Freshman Claire DuBois set the pace for the Knights with a ninth-place finish. She was joined in the top 35 by sophomore Liz Axberg (14th), senior Mary Heinks (17th), sophomore Lili Tapper (22nd), senior Hanna Boleman (23rd) and sophomore Michelle Meyer (34th). Honorable mention all-conference accolades went to senior Becky Glader, who finished 38th.

Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village

The Panthers also competed in last week's Northwest Suburban Conference meet. The boys team finished eighth and the girls wound up in 10th place.

St. Anthony Village senior Nick Lawson was one of three SLP/SAV male skiers to earn all-conference honors. He finished eighth overall and was joined by senior Cole Grotting, who finished 19th, and junior Nate Dropik Landwehr, who was 36th.

Sophomore Erin Guse was the Panthers' lone female all-conference honoree. She finished 31st overall.

Mounds View

The Mustangs are also in Section 5 and will compete in Wednesday's meet. Last week, Mounds View took part in the Suburban East Conference championships.

The boys team finished fifth while second-ranked Forest Lake claimed the conference title. Third-ranked Stillwater won the girls'crown while Mounds View wound up seventh.

Sophomore Mark Ousdigian was the boys team's lone all-conference honoree. He finished eighth overall.

On the girls' side, Mounds View had a pair of skiers earn all-conference honorable mention accolades. Both juniors, Grace Ebert finished 31st and right behind her was Caroline Palen in 32nd place.

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.


Northwest Suburban Conference Nordic ski racing championships

Jan. 28 at Theodore Wirth Park

Team scores
 
Boys
1 – Andover 623
2 – Irondale 600
3 – Robbinsdale Armstrong 587
4 – Elk River 572
5 – Champlin Park 522
6 – Osseo 518
7 – Coon Rapids 514
8 – Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village 502
9 – Park Center 349
10 – Maple Grove 311
11 – Blaine 295
12 – Anoka 240
 
Girls
1 – Robbinsdale Armstrong 699
2 – Irondale 607
3 – Andover 572
4 – Elk River 561
5 – Osseo 487
6 – Champlin Park 429
7 – Coon Rapids 419
8 – Maple Grove 387
9 – Anoka 370
10 – Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village 317
11 – Park Center 281
12 – Blaine 264

Suburban East Conference Nordic ski racing championships

Jan. 29 at Elm Creek Park Reserve

Team scores
 
Boys
1 – Forest Lake 478
2 – Stillwater 471
3 – Roseville 388
4 – Woodbury 357
5 – Mounds View 322
6 – White Bear Lake 314
7 – East Ridge 296
8 – Park-Cottage Grove 185
 
Girls
1 – Stillwater 480
2 – Forest Lake 454
3 – Roseville 435
4 – East Ridge 355
5 – White Bear Lake 327
6 – Woodbury 309
7 – Mounds View 313
8 – Park-Cottage Grove 149

 

 

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