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Minnesota Sections Preview

February 5, 2017

Sections are here, and once again poor snow conditions have forced all of the metro area meets to snowmaking venues.   New this year, the sections are currently scheduled for Tuesday thru Thursday, meaning there are two or three sections meets every day (years past have had some section meets on Monday).   Also be aware there is cold weather forecast on Wednesday and Thursday mornings, possibly generating a delay in start times.   (We'll post all updates we receive in our Racing Outlook)

A couple of notes for coaches and skiers:

Here's our spectating guide for sections ...

  • Section 1 Tue Feb 7 at Hyland Lake (Bloomington)
    Eagan's Patrick Acton will face the closest competition from his own teammate, Ryan Steger, but expect Acton to be at the top of the leaderboard at the end of the day.  Kelly Koch, Burnsville, is in a similar position with teammate Krista Holmstrom being the closest competitor, but Koch should come out on top handily.  Teams advancing to state most likely include Burnsville and Eastview for the girls, and Eagan and Burnsville for the boys.  With very little data on Winona, they could surprise the girls field with their young squad.

  • Section 2 Thu Feb 9 at Theodore Wirth (Minneapolis)
    Minneapolis Southwest's William (Foss) Kerker is the clear favorite for the boys, as his teammates fight for a possible sweep of the top three places.  With another year of under her belt, Kasia Bednarski, Minneapolis Southwest, may be ready to take over the section title from Edina's Triana Willmert.  Minneapolis Southwest boys are the top ranked team and should easily take the section crown, but expected a tight battle for the remaining spot between Edina and Eden Prairie.  The girls team titles should go to Eden Prairie, the favored, with Minneapolis Southwest hoping to bump off Edina.

  • Section 3 Tue Feb 7 at Theodore Wirth (Minneapolis)
    St. Paul Highland Park should easily sweep the team titles in this section, with perhaps the girls from Henry-Sibley providing the only obstacle for them.   Minnehaha Academy is the likely second qualifying team for the boys.  Rising star Peter Moore, SPA, is favored to be the section champ, with Gabriel Pfeiffer, St Paul Highland Park, the closest challenger.  The girls race could be very interesting.  And Erin Moening, St. Paul Highland Park, firing on all cylinders should be out front, but Megan Schifer, East Ridge, pulled off the upset last season, and SPA's Val Hart may have a shot as well.  

  • Section 4 Thu Feb 9 at Hyland Lake (Bloomington)
    This section seems to come down to Forest Lake versus Stillwater every year, and this season is no different.  On paper, Stillwater appears to be the clear favorite to sweep the section titles but Forest Lake feeds on the underdog role and won't give up the title without a fight.  Luckily both teams should advance their squads to state, but the Irondale girls are hoping to earn some wider respect by pulling off an upset over Forest Lake.  Stillwater's Shad Kraftson is the favorite for the individual title but teammate Josh Albrecht could be the one on top.  Keep an eye on Mounds View's Mark Ousdigian and Irondale's McEwan Rodefeld as party crashers.  The girls race is shaping up to be one of the most exciting this week, as Jenna Parent and Regan Duffy of Forest Lake take on Rana Kraftson and Siri Bohacek of Stillwater.

  • Section 5 Wed Feb 8 at Theodore Wirth (Minneapolis)
    Top ranked Xavier Mansfield, St.Anthony/SLP, should repeat as the boys section champ, but the battle for second will be tight.  Ian Ivens, Champlin Park, John Schwinghamer, Mora, and Ben Olson, Blaine will be shooting for that second best role.  Sarah Olson, Blaine, is expected to take the girls title.  The Champlin Park boys undoubtedly have been looking forward to a rematch with Mora and it will come down to a very close score, Mora the slight favorite to repeat.  The girls teams advancing to state is a murkier picture, with Andover and Champlin Park most likely repeating their 1-2 finish last season.

  • Section 6 Wed Feb 8 at Hyland Lake (Bloomington)
    Luc Golin and Anders Sonnesyn, Wayzata, have been pushing each other this season, and the section title will be decided between these two, perhaps in a final sprint.  Mara McCollor, Wayzata, and Luci Anderson, Robbinsdale-Armstrong, are the prime favorites for the individual title but don't discount Hopkins' Renae Anderson.  Wayzata and probably Robbinsdale-Armstrong as the advancing boys teams, with Robbinsdale-Armstrong and Hopkins for the girls.

  • Section 7 Thu Feb 9 at Giants Ridge (Biwabik)
    A season of competing against each other comes to a head with the section 7 championships.  The Ely girls hope to hold their high ranking with a victory over Mesabi East, both teams getting another shot when they advance to state.  Grand Rapids, Ely, Duluth East, and Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys could all have a shot at moving their teams to state.  A healthy Hannah Bettendorf, Proctor-Hermantown, and a recovering Anja Maijala, C-E-C, could challenge the two leaders, Anna Johnson, Mesabi East and Erin Bianco, Ely for the individual title.  Based on recent performance, Garrett Beckrich, Grand Rapids and Alex Kelling, are the frontrunners for the boys.

  • Section 8 Tue Feb 7 at Maplelag Resort (Callaway)
    Kendal Hendricks and Hunter Zupko of Little Falls are the section individual favorites, but St. Cloud Cathedral-Sartell's Alex Nemeth will ensure Zupko has to work for it.  Brainerd boys and Little Falls girls should repeat as section champions, with runners up most likely being earned by St. Cloud Cathedral boys and Brainerd girls.

Notes: 

* Team tie-breakers use the total time of the top four skiers.  If a tie remains, they go to the fifth, etc. up to seventh.
* View the full High School Racing Calendar for more event details, plus access race updates, trail reports, and eventually results.

Watch for same day results and hopefully coverage from all the sectionals!


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