Jacks ski trio compete at state meet
Bemidji's skiers at Thursday's state Nordic meet hosted by Giant's Ridge near Biwabik all finished within the upper two-thirds of the field as Bailey Drewes was 80th among the girls skiers, Adam Holter was 80th in the boys division and Tony Sagedahl finished 83rd.
Thursday's races featured 120 boys and 120 girls who each skied a 5-kilometer skating run in the morning and a 5-kilometer classical run in the afternoon.
"Sending three kids to state is an accomplishment," said BHS coach Mark Walters. "Against other teams in our section, the Bemidji skiers held their own and Adam and Tony each moved up 10 or 12 places from their finishes at state last year.
"All three of our skiers were happy to be representing Bemidji at the state meet and they gave it their all. That's all anyone can ask," the coach added.
The course held up surprisingly well considering that the temperature was above freezing throughout Wednesday night and all day Thursday.
"It was miraculous how the course held its own but we needed to do a few special tricks with the waxing," Walters said.
Drewes considers the skating portion of a pursuit race as her strong suit and Thursday the Lumberjack senior was 66th in that portion of the competition with a time of 16:45. In the classical stage, however, Drewes lost some ground and was clocked in 20:44. Collectively her time was 37:29 which gave the senior 80th place.
Sharmila Ahmed of Burnsville won the girls division in a time of 32:01 and enjoyed a 20-second lead over her nearest challenger.
"Bailey wanted to improve upon last year's 74th-place finish but she gassed out three kilometers into the afternoon race after dealing with all of the hills," Walters said. "But advancing to the state meet is a great way to cap a career."
Holter was 75th after posting a time of 15:37 in the morning skate race and he completed the classical leg in 17:47. His collective time of 33:23 earned the junior 80th place.
Sagedahl's times were 15:48 in the skate and 17:44 in the classical for a total of 33:32 and 83rd place.
Ben Saxton of Lakeville North was the boys champion as he was clocked in 29:05.
"The boys are already talking about next year and how they will be training this summer," Walters said. "Their goal is to send the entire team next winter."
Bemidji also was awarded two spots on the state All-Academic team as Drewes and Trent Buckanaga were honored after being among the top 25 student skiers in Section 8AA as determined by grade point average.
On Wednesday the state ski coaches held the Charlie Banks Relays for skiers who did not qualify for the state meet. The competition attracted 37 girls teams and 35 boys teams.
The Bemidji unit of Laura Yourd, Summer Johnson, Alicia Papke-Larson and Kim Truedson placed 23rd in the girls division with a time of 38:49.
Stillwater won the race in 34:04.
In the boys competition Bemidji's quartet of Sam Dwyer, Eli Rassler, John Buckanaga and Kyle Sagedahl placed 16th in 32:41. Ely finished in 30:00 and captured the boys crown.