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Park's Westphal wins Section 1 Nordic ski title

It would have taken a lot to overcome that kind of an afternoon race.

After taking an eight-point lead following the classic morning race, Park High School's girls Nordic ski team missed a state berth by seven points after the afternoon freestyle race, falling shy of Lakeville South 377 to 370 at the Section 1 ski championship at Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley last Thursday.

"After the girls morning race, we were ahead of Winona by eight points and Lakeville South by 10 points," said Park coach James Kyes. "We were winning at that point; it was really close.

"The problem is, the Lakeville South girls just moved up. They had a fantastic afternoon. When you look at what happened, our girls did very well and they skied very hard. They put everything they could out on the line."

Though the Wolfpack girls team didn't earn a berth to Friday's Minnesota State High School League state meet, it was hardly a setback for the Wolfpack's Nicole Westphal, Kelsey Gleich, Sarah Meemken and Joe Snyder. Westphal took the girls individual championship with a combined time of 38 minutes, 13.8 seconds, while Gleich was second in 38:56.5.

But Westphal and Gleich, Park's only returning state qualifiers, will not be alone at the big show this year. Meemken emerged to take fifth place and to snatch a state berth after finishing for a combined time of 40:50.0. Kelly Miles followed in 45:22.1 for 22nd place, Alex Newell in 45:31.7 for 23rd place and Alyssa Black in 46:32.6 for 29th place.

Snyder will represent the boys team at the big show, advancing to state after earning an eighth-place individual finish of 34:32.7 to help the 'Pack take seventh place with 299 points. Apple Valley won the team title with 370 points.

"Joey went from being a second/third (skier) to being our No. 1 guy," Kyes said. "He just happens to know when to turn it on. He did a nice job of that at the section. I'm very excited for him. He had a good strong race after the morning race, then kept it going in the afternoon. He just fights for everything he can."

Jason House followed Snyder in 38:42.7 for 30th place, Brent Lichtenberg was 32nd in 39:23.5, Kyle Laabs was 35th in 39:44.9 and James Talisesky was 37th in 40:02.4.

The state meet will be this Friday, Feb. 15, at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. The boys freestyle race will begin at 10 a.m., followed by the girls freestyle at 11 a.m. The boys classical race will be at 1:30 p.m. and the girls classical will be at 2:30 p.m. The awards ceremony will follow the final race.

"I'm very pleased with having five athletes in the state meet," said Kyes, who also coaches Woodbury's Nordic team and will take one Royals' skier to the big meet.

Feb. 7

Section 1

Valleywood Golf Course, Apple Valley


Team results

1, Apple Valley* 370 points; 2, Lakeville South 366; 3, Winona/Winona Cotter 352; 4, Hastings 336; 5, Lakeville North 312; 6, Eastview 307; 7, Park 299; 8, Northfield 294; 9, Simley 207; 10, Eagan 159; 11, Rosemount 159

Park individual results

8, Joe Snyder* 34:32.7; 30, Jason House 38:42.7; 32, Brent Lichtenberg 39:23.5; 35, Kyle Laabs 39:44.9; 37, James Talisesky 40:02.4


Team results

1, Lakeville South* 377 points; 2, Park 370; 3, Winona/Winona Cotter 368; 4, Lakeville North 320; 5, Eastview 303; 6, Northfield 300; 7, Apple Valley 280; 8, Hastings 253; 9, Simley 192; 10, Eagan 54

Park individual results

1, Nicole Westphal* 38:13.8; 2, Kelsey Gleich* 38:56.5; Sarah Meemken* 40:50.0; 22, Kelly Miles 45:22.1; 23, Alex Newell 45:31.7; 29, Alyssa Black 46:32.6

* State qualifiers