The snow that the Eden Prairie High School Nordic teams had been waiting for all season fell on Thursday, blanketing the Section 2 championship meet.
It no doubt made for some challenging/changing conditions.
“The kids actually liked it,” said Eden Prairie coach Doug Boonstra, of the snow. “It wasn’t much of a problem. We tested six kick waxes and would have raced with five of them.”
As expected, Minneapolis Southwest won both boys and girls races.
“Not only did they have the most skiers returning from last year’s state meet, but they did they did well there,” said Boonstra.
That made the two second place finishes, and the state-qualifying prizes that went with them, the carrots everyone else was chasing.
As hoped and planned, the Eden Prairie boys team won second.
The Eagles’ Zach Spears finished third overall. Peter Oviguian finished eighth, Aidan St. George ninth and Sam Marble 21st. The four combined to count 363 points (only the top four skiers on each team factor into the final score). First-place Minneapolis Southwest finished with 380 points, third-place Minnetonka with 349. The boys’ field included nine teams.
“Very satisfying,” said Boonstra. “We’ve seen Minnetonka and Edina all season, and haven’t always beaten them when we count four scores.”
Bryce Whitley (28th), Jack Marble (29th) and Liam Penn (34th) rounded out Eden Prairie’s section team.
Southwest won the girls race with 382 points. Edina finished second (373 points), Eden Prairie third (362) and Minneapolis Washburn fourth (359 points).
Liesl Paulsen (fifth place), Kareena Bovitz (eighth), Ella Bakken (ninth) and Rachel Boelke (20th) counted Eden Prairie’s points.
Note: Boelke was racing through an injury.
Silje Busklein, Elise Welder and Allie Gross finished at 21, 28 and 37.
The top two teams and the top six individuals not on one of the top two teams advance to the state meet.
Paulsen, Bovitz and Bakken qualified for the state meet.
“Before the last race, I was talking to Ella in the waxing tent,” said Boonstra. “I asked her, “Do you like pressure?”
“She said she was OK with it,” he added. “She responded by having the race of her life.”
With 16 teams in the boys field, including eight section champions, Boonstra said the goal for his boys team would be to push the top-10.
Individually, he said it’s realistic to think that both boys and girls teams have skiers capable of placing in the top 25 (All-State).
The state meet is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 14, at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.