East Ridge started strong on the boys and girls side in the first meet of the season at Afton Alps Ski Area. The Raptors led all Park-Woodbury-East Ridge (PWER) teams at the Jan. 3 Suburban East Conference meet.
In girls action, East Ridge led the PWER contingent with its third-place finish in the 10-school field.
The Raptors, who scored 738 points in the meet, were paced by junior Elizabeth Koprucki, who took first overall in the 87-skier field with a combined time of 58.30. East Ridge's Morgan Maxwell turned in the fifth-fastest time in the first run and finished eighth overall. Jessie Lepel, Abby Eggers and Bethany Wozniac rounded out the Raptors' top finishers in the meet.
Stillwater took first in the 10-team meet, followed by Mounds View.
Woodbury (418 points) finished in the middle of the pack with its fifth-place position.
Senior Sarah Niederhofer led the way for Woodbury. Her combined time of 1:04.63 earned her a 16th-place finish individually.
Fellow Woodbury senior Brittany Roth placed second for the Royals with a combined time of 1:06.84. Melanie Loudas, Alisa Voegler and Rebecca Lewis represented Woodbury's remaining top-five finishers on the team, respectively.
Park struggled in the meet, finishing eighth of the 10 teams with 309 points. Seniors Andrea Kuzj and Kaitlyn Cornwell were the top two finishers for the Wolfpack and finished 28th and 29th individually.
In the boys competition, East Ridge earned a second-place finish in the 10-team meet, falling to Stillwater. The Raptors scored 667 points in the meet to Stillwater's 890.
Eighth-grader Jack Midtlien led the Raptors with a combined time of 1:00.52, good enough for sixth place overall in the 95-skier field. Rounding out the top five for East Ridge were Mike Youngstrom (1:04.51), Evan Bilbrey (1:05.86), Drew Del Toro (1:06.84) and Holton Sailer (1:07.69).
With 554 points, Woodbury skied to a fourth-place finish in the meet, led by senior Matt Stefely, whose combined time of 1:01.15 earned him seventh place overall. Senior Davis Johnson was second for the Royals, with a time of 1:03.35. Freshman Cole Brusehoff, senior Dan Knutson and senior Robert Hafiz represented Woodbury's remaining top-five finishers, respectively.
The Park boys finished ninth of the 10 teams and recorded 273 points in the meet. Junior Lane Crose was the top finisher for the Wolfpack, with a time of 1:07.61. Freshman Dan Rogers and senior Cole Connor both placed in the top 50.
PWER teams competed Tuesday in another conference meet - this one at Welch Village Ski Area - after the Bulletin went to press.