Panthers keep it under control on steep Giants Ridge hill
Jane Steel took a ski pole to a cast fitting – that’s how badly she wanted to compete in the state Alpine meet.
The Lakeville North seventh-grader broke her thumb in a training accident before last week’s state meet. To ensure she still would be able to ski for the Panthers, she brought a pole to the doctor’s office so a cast could be formed in a way that would allow her to hold it. At state, Steel placed 60th overall and 30th among skiers in the team competition, and helped North to second place.
Senior Bailey Servais was North’s top skier, placing third in the individual competition. She was one of three skiers from Lakeville in the top 11.
“We came into the season with pretty high expectations, and I’d have to say we exceeded them,” North coach Doug Nordmeyer said. “The teams that beat us during the regular season and at sections, like Mankato West, Stillwater and Minnetonka, we finished ahead of them at state.”
The only team North didn’t beat was Chisago Lakes, which came in nine points ahead of the Panthers at the state meet. North was seven points ahead of third-place Mankato West.
The Panthers tried to ski with controlled aggression on a steep, challenging Giants Ridge course at the Feb. 15 state meet.
“On the first run it’s easy to go 100 percent throttle, which some competitors did,” Nordmeyer said. “But many of them didn’t make it down. Our tactic was to ski maybe 90-95 percent, try to ski smart. On the second run we had four skiers well positioned to score team points.”
Servais had the third-fastest time on the Red Course and the fifth-fastest time on the Blue. Her combined time was 1 minute, 16.77 seconds. Blake’s Nellie Ide was first in 1:13.63 – a time that also would have been fast enough to win the boys meet, held on the same Giants Ridge courses. Orono’s Rosie Hust placed second at state for the third year in a row.
Servais, 13th at state last year, “can be hard on herself,” Nordmeyer said. “She expects a lot of herself. I think she had an excellent meet. To finish on the podium is a very good result for her.”
North sophomore Kathryn Kossack was 11th in 1:19.64, missing a spot in the top 10 by half a second. Peyton Servais (28th) and Steel also scored team points for the Panthers. “That was a good meet for Jane, particularly with her injury,” Nordmeyer said.
Andrea Ray (70th) and Isabelle Urban (74th) also skied for Lakeville North at state.
Bailey Servais, who will attend college at Montana State, is the only skier in the Panthers’ top six who will graduate this spring. Peyton Servais, Urban and Ray are eighth-graders.
“Our seventh, eighth and ninth skiers are right there behind our sixth skier,” Nordmeyer said. “There was good competition for spots in the varsity lineup at the end of this year, and there should be next year, too.”
Lakeville South sophomore Lauren Geary finished in the top 10 at state for the second consecutive year, taking sixth in last week’s meet in 1:17.64. Geary had the fourth-fastest time in the second run on the Blue course.
Rosemount’s Renee Boldus and Eastview’s Kate Young finished 40th and 41st at the state meet.
Burnsville senior Jack Lindsay was going for his second consecutive podium finish at the state meet, but a missed gate on his first run ended those hopes.
Lindsay, who was second at state in 2016, was 70th after the first run of last week’s state meet. He sped down the hill in his second run on the Blue course in 36.87 seconds, more than four-tenths of a second faster than anybody else. But that moved him up only 13 spots, and he placed 57th overall.
Elliot Boman, a Cannon Falls High School student who competes for Northfield, won the state individual championship for the second time in three years.
Eagan’s Izak Hofstad was sixth overall in 1:17.17. He ranked sixth on the Red course and seventh on the Blue. Jake Abbott of Lakeville South was in seventh place after the first run and finished 11th in 1:18.35. South’s Brandon Wentworth was 16th in 1:20.21.
Camden Palmquist of Eagan finished 26th at state. Mark Biechler of Rosemount had his second run disqualified and placed 79th overall.
Minnetonka won the boys team championship with 166 points, 15 more than second-place Edina.