Raptors' girls racers dominate Welch Invitational
The Raptors came maddeningly close to two first-place finishes last week in a Suburban East Conference race in both boys and girls alpine competition.
"We closed the gap on Stillwater this week and had our best finishes ever," said Kevin Seipel, head coach of the Park-Woodbury-East Ridge (PWER) alpine team.
Against other competition, however, PWER teams rose to the top of the field.
The Raptors girls took first at Friday's Welch Village Invitational race, comprised of 17 four-person teams.
Junior Morgan Maxwell finished second overall in the race, while senior Jessie Lepel finished sixth at the invite.
The Park girls finished fifth of 17 teams at the meet, edging Woodbury, who took sixth.
The Woodbury boys finished second at the meet, led by seniors Matt Stefely, who finished ninth and 10th overall.
East Ridge, led by fourth-place overall finisher Jack Midtlien, finished eighth at the Welch invitational.
The Park boys finished last of the 18 boys teams.
Led in the SEC race by standout racer Elizabeth Koprucki, the East Ridge girls finished in second place - just five points behind Mounds View and Stillwater, who finished in a tie with 774 points. Ten teams competed in the meet.
Koprucki, a junior, finished first overall with a combined time of 57.80 seconds. She was one of three Raptors girls who finished in the top 10 overall.
Fellow junior Morgan Maxwell finished third overall with a time of 1:00.41. Senior Jessie Lepel earned a seventh-place overall finish with her time of 1:01.74. Karla Brady and Becca Lepel both finished in the top 25 overall.
The Raptors boys also finished second - 18 points behind Stillwater - in their 10-team field.
They were again led by eighth grader Jack Midtlien, who finished sixth overall with a time of 57.76. East Ridge sophomore Oliver Kennedy was second among Raptors racers - and 10th overall - with his 59.61 time.
Holton Sailer (1:00.60), Mike Youngstrom (1:02.73) and Colton Simon (1:03.34) rounded out the Raptors' top five skiers.
Woodbury also had a strong showing among PWER teams, including a third-place finish on the boys side.
The Royals placed two skiers in the top 10 overall: seniors Matt Stefely and Davis Johnson, who finished eighth and ninth, respectively.
Woodbury's Cole Brusehoff finished 26th overall in the meet with a time of 1:03.65. He was followed on the team by seniors Dan Knutson and RJ Hafiz, who finished with times of 1:05.79 and 1:06.80, respectively.
Woodbury's girls skied to a sixth-place finish and were led by senior Sarah Niederhofer. She finished ninth overall with a time of 1:03.05.
Brittany Roth finished in 21st overall for the Royals with a time of 1:06.09. Melanie Loudas, Sydney Johnson and Alissa Voegler rounded out Woodbury's top-five racers.
Park struggled again on both the boys and girls sides.
Senior Andrea Kuzj was the top Wolfpack racer. She finished in 24th overall with a time of 1:06.62. Stephanie Iverson, Jennifer Brown, Julia Deshler also finished for the Wolfpack. Senior Kaitlyn Cornwell was in 23rd place after the first run, but a rough second run put her in 70th place overall.
Junior Lane Crose was Park's top racer for the boys. He finished in 31st place overall with a time of 1:04.28. The other top finishers for Park were Cole Connor, Alex Bruss and Dan Rogers.