NORDIC SKIING: Nick Youso, Bemidji hit historic benchmarks at state meet
Youso landed Bemidji's best individual finish since 1999, while the Lumberjacks as a team pulled off their best finish since 2007.
BIWABIK -- Nick Youso is partying like it’s 1999.
The Bemidji High School senior posted the best state finish for the boys Nordic skiing team in 22 years, finishing 14th at the state meet in Biwabik on Friday and leading the Lumberjacks to eighth place as a team.
“Oh boy, what an accomplishment,” BHS head coach Mark Walters said of Youso. “It says a lot about his dedication and his ability, for sure.”
Youso clocked in at 11:08.7 in the classic race and 10:00.8 in the skate race for a combined total of 21:09.5. He landed in 14th overall, which is the highest any Bemidji boy skier has finished at state since Justin Hayes was 10th in 1999.
As a team, the Jacks tallied 303 points to finish in the top half of the field. Their eighth-place showing is the best since the team was fourth in an eight-team field in 2007.
“That met our expectations very well,” Walters said. “We’re representing Section 8, and (we thought) it’d be really great if we could be part of the top eight of the entire state meet. If we were the best in our section, it should only go that we should get into that top eight. It’s been a long time since one of our teams has done this well, either. We were eighth overall and really happy with it.”
Alongside Youso, senior Logan Jensen placed 24th overall with a combined time of 21:37.3 to earn all-state honors as a top-25 placewinner. He finished the classic race in 11:20.7 and the skate race in 10:16.6.
This year marks the first time that Bemidji has landed two all-state honorees in the state meet since that 1999 race, when Chris Hayes joined Justin Hayes with his 24th-place showing.
“They were really good,” Walters said of Youso and Jensen. “Just an incredible performance by two individuals on the team.”
Louis Morrissey placed 79th with a total time of 23:23.3 (12:28.6 classic; 10:54.7 skate), and Cameron Carlton rounded out the team’s score with a 116th-place time of 24:11.6 (12:43.8 classic; 11:27.8 skate).
Jack Mueller (118th, 24:11.9), Seth Lindgren (126th, 24:29.0) and Sam Schulze (142nd, 25:24.4) also raced for BHS.
“I tell you what, it’s either Cameron or Louis or Jack or somebody that kind of rounds out that top four,” Walters said. “Those guys gave a superb performance. I was happy.”
The classic and skate races were each four kilometers long instead of five kilometers like in past years.
Roger Anderson of Robbinsdale Armstrong won the individual title with a time of 20:11.1, while Minneapolis Southwest was crowned the team champion with 416 points, edging Forest Lake’s 413. Section 8 runner-up Little Falls placed 11th with 288 points.
Boys Nordic Skiing State Team Results
1-Minneapolis Southwest 416; 2-Forest Lake 413; 3-Wayzata 369; 4-Eden Prairie 359; 5-Robbinsdale Armstrong 352; 6-Duluth East 343; 7-Prior Lakes 337; 8-Bemidji 303; T9-St. Paul Highland Park 293; T9-Maple Grove 293; 11-Little Falls 288; 12-Eagan 259; 13-Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 257; 14-St. Paul Central 250; 15-Rogers 230; 16-Irondale 134.