BEMIDJI – Finishing in the top 25 at today’s state high school boys Nordic ski meet at Giant’s Ridge is the goal of Tony and Kyle Sagedahl who will represent the Bemidji Lumberjacks in the combined 5-km skate and 5-km classic races.
BHS also will be represented in the girls state meet, as Morgan Sagedahl and Jenna Truedson qualified and will begin their day at 10 a.m. in the skate portion of the competition.
Truedson and Morgan Sagedahl are making their first appearances at state but, the twin brothers are veterans of the state experience.
Tony Sagedahl will be competing for the fourth time at state while Kyle Sagedahl participated in the meet last year as a junior.
“The top 25 skiers earn all state honors and I think that is an attainable goal for both Kyle and Tony,” said BHS coach Mark Walters. “They both are experienced at the state level and know how to manage a race.”
Tony Sagedahl admits to being a better classic skier than skate skier, but he also knows the value of getting off to a positive start in the morning’s skate race.
“I want to be in the top 25 after the morning race because that will put me in a position to move up in the classic race,” Tony said. “This is my fourth time at state and I have learned that you must race your hardest and give it your all in both races.
“I would like to make all state and this is my last shot at it. And I’m not going to hold anything back,” he added.
Kyle Sagedahl will adopt a similar philosophy today.
“I’m going to go all out, especially in the morning skate race,” he said. “I’m better in the skate race than the classic and, hopefully, a good skate race will set me up for a higher finish in the classic race.”
Earning a favorable position for the afternoon race is vital for a skier who wants to finish among the leaders.
“The morning race holds an incredible amount of value,” Walters said. “If you can be in the top 30 heading into the classic race you can get a clean start instead of being packed with everybody skiing in the middle of the trail.”
Morgan Sagedahl will join her brothers at the state meet. A year ago as an eighth grader she missed qualifying for state by one spot and coming so close spurred her to make another run at a state berth.
“This year making it to state was one of my goals and I made it,” she said. “My plan is to just ski as hard as I can and see how I do. I don’t know where I will finish because I have nothing to compare it to.”
Truedson is a veteran of the state meet experience in cross country and track but the sophomore is making her first appearance at the state ski meet.
“I was surprised and excited when I qualified for state,” Truedson said. “I don’t think I am as good a skier as I am a runner so getting to state in skiing is harder for me.
“My goal is to finish as high as I can and I am excited to see how high that can be.”
Walters said Truedson and Morgan Sagedahl, as first-timers, don’t have anything to lose so they’ll be better able to go all-out.
“Morgan and Jenna don’t have a state track record so they can throw caution to the wind and see what happens,” Walters said. “The strategy for them will be to go hard and put up a number.”