Like waiting for that first snowfall, we can hardly wait for the racing action to get underway. So with the first week of high school races, along with the first JNQ in the books, we take our first stab at the rankings.
The opening Junior National Qualifier up in Houghton, MI, last weekend didn't provide the best data to work with -- the events were classical sprints and a long 15K freestyle race (10K for the gals) for all but the youngest juniors. Still, we gotta start somewhere..
Stillwater's Shad Kraftson is back! Kraftson strung together an impressive week, winning his conference race on Wednesday, raced to 11th in the top division classic sprint qualifiers, then on Sunday he skied 15K placing 8th overall, 2nd junior. Xavier Mansfield, Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony, has also started off the season strong, posting the top junior time in the 15K. Wayzata's Luc Golin joins the top ten as well, skiing all the way to the sprint finals on Saturday and coming back Sunday to place as one of the top 5 U18 Minnesota juniors. A few other movers and shakers include Torsten Brinkema, Mpls Southwest, and James Schneider, Wayzata.
Erin Moening, Highland Park, won her first conference race of the season, but skipped the Houghton JNQ to log some extra training days at Maplelag. Moening has been recovering from a tough shoulder injury, but has been making steady process. Kelly Koch skied very well in the cold conditions, posting a top ten finish in the 10K JNQ skate race. Stillwater's Rana Kraftson, sister to Shad, also had a strong week, taking second in her conference race then posting strong results the JNQ classical sprints and a top 15 in the womens 10K freestyle. Joining Kraftson in the top 10 rankings in rising Robbinsdale-Armstrong star, Lucy Anderson. who skied in the top 25 sprint qualifiers and top 20 for the 10K skate. Forest Lake's Jenna Parent is also showing strong improvement over last season.
No changes in the team rankings, just not enough data to really take a run at them.
Xavier Mansfield, Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony, 12
Anders Sonnesyn, Wayzata, 11
Patrick Acton, Eagan, 12
Shad Kraftson, Stillwater, 12
William Kerker, Mpls Southwest, 12
Luc Golin, Wayzata, 11
Ryan Steger, Eagan, 12
Nate Blichfeldt, Burnsville, 12
Ryan Mead, Forest Lake, 11
Hunter Zupko, Little Falls, 11
Cusp: Torsten Brinkema, Mpls Southwest, 11;Josh Albrecht, Stillwater, 12; Harrison Pretel, St. Paul Highland Park, 12; Mark Ousdigian, Mounds View, 12; Ian Ivens, Champlin Park, 12; Adlai Sinker, Mpls Southwest, 12; James Schneider, Wayzata, 9; George Jarvinen, Edina, 12; Luke Crandall, Champlin Park, 12; Nathan Bich, Proctor-Hermantown, 12; Declan Dahlberg, Mounds Park Academy, 11
Erin Moening, St. Paul Highland Park, 12
Kelly Koch, Burnsville, 11
Renae Anderson, Hopkins, 12
Anja Maijala, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, 12
Rana Kraftson, Stillwater, 11
Anna Johnson, Mesabi East, 12
Erika Fox, Cloquet-Esko-Carlton, 12
Hannah Bettendorf, Proctor-Hermantown, 11
Lucy Anderson, Robbinsdale-Armstrong, 10
Dorothy Anderson, Robbinsdale-Armstrong, 12
Cusp: Erin Bianco, Ely, 12; Siri Bohacek, Stillwater, 11; Mara McCollor, Wayzata, 10; Regan Duffy, Forest Lake, 10; Kasia Bednarski, Mpls Southwest, 10; Libby Tuttle, Stillwater, 9; Triana Willmert, Edina, 11; Jenna Parent, Forest Lake, 11; Nora Vos, Duluth East, 11; Samantha Kurkowski, Roseville, 11; Mae Barnes, Robbinsdale-Armstrong, 10