Nordic skiing: Bonneson, Boardman and Schiferl qualify for state meet
Evan Bonneson is headed back to state and will bring a couple of District 833 teammates with him this time.
Bonneson, a senior at Park, finished fifth in the Section 1 Nordic skiing championship last week to qualify for a return trip to the state meet Thursday, Feb. 13.
East Ridge’s Sam Boardman and Megan Schiferl also qualified for state after finishing third and eighth in their respective races at the Section 4 championship last week. It will be their first time competing in state, held at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
Bonneson made it to state as a junior in 2013, finishing 68th overall in the 119-skier field. He was the only representative from Park, Woodbury and East Ridge at state last year.
Joe Wacker, coach of the combined PWER Nordic team, said Bonneson skied in a harder section this year.
“It was a much more competitive section and despite that he finished several spots above last year,” Wacker said. “It really shows that he grew as a skier.”
Wacker said the team looks forward to sending multiple skiers to state. PWER trains together and skis in the same meets until sections, but competes as individual high schools.
Bonneson said he has more confidence heading into his second state appearance.
“I’m going to be a lot less freaked out,” he admitted, adding that he can take turns along the course easier now and doesn’t have a fear of falling that kept him from faster times last year. “A little bit more confidence, a little bit more comfy on my boards and just a lot more time skiing,” Bonneson said of his change from 2013 to this year.
This is a redemption of sorts for Boardman, a senior who missed going to state last year as he fought a nagging illness. He finished 16th at the section championship in 2013.
“Considering that I had kind of a disappointing end to last season, I feel really happy that I was able to qualify this year,” Boardman said.
Boardman led the way for the East Ridge boys team last week, finishing the classic race in 14 minutes 31 seconds and the skate race in 13:46 for a pursuit total of 28:17.
Schiferl locked up the final state individual qualifying spot in the girls’ Section 4 championship. Schiferl, a freshman, skied an 18:31 in the classic race and then clocked an 18:27 skate race to finish with a combined 36:58.
Woodbury sophomore Kathleen Danielson narrowly missed a trip to state after finishing one second behind Schiferl at 36:59. Wacker said Danielson broke a ski pole during the skate race and wasn’t provided a replacement until late in the race. She finished the classic race in 18:28 and posted an 18:31 in the skate portion.
Park’s skiers — seven boys and five girls — competed in the Section 1 championships Feb. 4 at Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley. Bonneson finished the classic race in 16:53, putting him in sixth place before the skate portion of the pursuit race. He clocked a 14:47 in the skate portion for a combined pursuit time of 31:40, good for his fifth place finish and nearly 35 seconds ahead of the next skier.
“My first race wasn’t as fast as I would have liked it to have been, but I ended up doing pretty well in the skate race,” he said. “I was hoping for podium but didn’t quite get there. Now I’m just focused on state.”
Connor Gabbert finished 45th for Park with a combined time of 38:24. He was followed by Josh Williamson at 54th (41:51), Matt Moran at 62nd (45:06), Kevin Bergsbakken at 70th (55:08), Jacob Weir at 72nd (57:24) and Sam Verdick at 73rd (1:07:22).
Molly Haus was Park’s top finisher in the girls race. Haus, a junior, finished in 22nd place overall with a time of 42:06. Cameron Anderson had the next best score for Park — a 46:08, good for 39th place. Also finishing for Park was Bekah Schulte at 48th (49:42), Nikki Hiber at 67th (1:01:15) and Kayla Brinkoetter at 68th (1:16:30).
Woodbury’s Paul Henning narrowly missed a trip to state, after posting an total time of 31:25, 15 seconds behind the eighth and final Section 4 individual state qualifier. He was 13th overall.
Woodbury’s Grant Davis finished 16th with a combined time of 32:12. Nathan Orf was 21st (33:43), Jeremy Storvik finished 27th (34:49), Bennett Strang was 34th (36:12), Peter Buttery was 35th (36:20) and Beau Buckeye was 38th (36:38).
Danielson led the Woodbury girls, followed by Pauline Aamodt at 25th (40:02), Cat Henning at 29th (40:41), Julianna Kolb at 43rd (44:46), and Erin Chase at 50th (48:18).
Trailing Boardman for the East Ridge boys were Jake Fabro at 24th (34:14), Nathan Strom at 31st (35:27), Sam Phipps at 39th (37:16), Peter Betz at 40th (38:05), Jeff Clinton at 46th (39:58) and Blake Slette at 56th (42:58).
Besides Schiferl, the East Ridge girls were rounded out by Keri McKenzie at 27th (40:34), Olivia Hummel at 32nd (41:07), Emily Betz at 48th (45:45), Eleasha McKenzie at 49th (46:00), Erin Kenney at 51st (48:42) and Jennifer Wickman at 57th (51:40)
The top Math and Science Academy boys and girls finishers at the Section 4 championship were Peter Irvine at 22nd (34:06) and Greta Siekmeier at 24th (39:54).
Both the Park boys and girls teams finished ninth in the Section 1 team scores. Eagan boys won the Section 1 team title, and Eastview took the girls team championship.
In Section 4, Forest Lake boys took first, and Stillwater won the girls team championship.
The state meet begins with the 5K skate race in the morning, followed by a 5K classic race in the afternoon. Skiers pursue those who finished with a faster time in the first race.
“It’s a fantastic race,” Bonneson said of the classic portion at Giants Ridge. “It’s pure guts because you’re just going to the top.”
It ends with a descent and a mad dash for a strong finish, including a fight for the top 25 spots that guarantee all-state recognition.
“It’s honestly the best race I’ve ever done in my life,” Bonneson said.