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Alpine skiing: PWER teams heating up on slopes

East Ridge’s Oliver Kennedy earned fourth place with a two-race time of 1 minute, 00.59 seconds at a Suburban East Conference meet on Jan. 14 at Afton Alps. (Submitted photo)

Though temperatures keep dropping, the PWER (Park, Woodbury, East Ridge) alpine ski teams are heating up.

The PWER boys and girls teams recently competed in their third Suburban East Conference meet of the year – on Jan. 14 at Afton Alps.

Park, Woodbury and East Ridge practice together, compete in identical races and are administrated by the same staff, but race as individual high schools.

“The temps were hard on the athletes, coaches, volunteers and the timing,” PWER head coach Kevin Seipel said. “I don’t know why but this has been a difficult season weather-wise for Alpine.”

At the 10-team meet, the East Ridge boys earned third place, the Woodbury boys finished fourth and the Park boys took ninth place. On the girls side, East Ridge earned fourth place, Woodbury was seventh and Park placed ninth. Stillwater won the boys race with 713 points and the girls race with 672 points.

The East Ridge boys team, which qualified to the state meet last season - finishing in seventh in its first-ever state race, scored 567 points to take third place at Afton behind Stillwater and Forest Lake (634 points).

Oliver Kennedy and Holton Sailer led the way for the Raptors with a pair of top-10 finishes. Kennedy earned fourth place with a two-race time of 1 minute, 00.59 seconds and Sailer was eighth overall in 1:02.04. Coming in third for East Ridge and 21st overall was Mike Youngstrom (1:04.51). Also, Collin Mead took 28th (1:06.44) and Allesandro Amores placed 35th (1:08.31). 

Woodbury’s Jack Midtlien led the way for the Royals boys team, which finished with 499 points, coming in fifth place overall with a time of 1:01.02. Cole Bruesehoff earned 13th place (1:02.52), Adam Brandmire was 25th (1:05.76) and Hunter Holst placed 37th (1:08.65) to round out Woodbury’s top four finishers.

For Park, Dan Rogers led the Wolfpack with a 15th-place finish overall and a time of 1:02.97. In addition, Alex Bruss earned 39th place (1:09.20), Ryan Hennen took 62nd (1:18.80) and Will Rustad was 64th (1:19.51).

“Our boys teams and individuals did well although we were hurting with illness, injuries and middle school band and choir all making us change our lineups,” Seipel said. 

The East Ridge girls team, which has been to the state meet three times, totaled 545 points to finish just behind third-place Hastings (551 points). Second-place Mounds View (663 points) finished just nine points back of Stillwater.

“We definitely have some work to do to catch Stillwater and Hastings,” Seipel said. “The Hastings girls are skiing very well this season and I am glad they are moving out of the conference. Their team is tough and will be difficult to beat at sections.”

Abby Eggers and Becca Lepel led the East Ridge girls with top-10 finishes. Eggers placed fourth overall in 1:07.04 and Lepel was eighth with a time of 1:07.36. Katie Kelly wasn’t too far behind, taking 12th in a time of 1:09.72 and Stephanie Schmitz earned 17th (1:12.37). 

For Woodbury, which scored 412 points to beat Roseville, Park and Cretin-Derham Hall, Cheyenne Warren turned in the top time (1:11.13) to take 14th overall. Also, Sydney Johnson placed 30th (1:17.32), Claire Gustafson was 33rd and Melonie Peterson placed 51st (1:26.27) to round out the Royals’ top finishers. 

Emily Long led Park, which had 180 points, with a 41st place overall finish and a time of 1:21.98. Also, Julia Deshler took 46th (1:25.05), Hailey Crose was 68th (1:36.74) and Kailey Allen was 69th (1:37.58).

-Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson
Patrick Johnson has been the South Washington County Bulletin’s sports editor since 2008. He reports on and oversees coverage of high school and amateur sports in south Washington County and Woodbury. Prior to joining the Bulletin, Johnson worked for other Twin Cities suburban newspapers. He is a University of Minnesota graduate.
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