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Year in Review 2011: Koprucki's section championship helps Raptors alpine team reach state

It was a day to remember on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2011, at Wild Mountain.

The PWER (Park, Woodbury, East Ridge) alpine skiing program had a historic day at last year's Section 4 Championships. Led by sophomore Elizabeth Koprucki's individual Section 4 championship finish, the East Ridge girls alpine ski team qualified for its first-ever state meet and helped end Stillwater's run of at least 20-striaght state qualifying seasons. Not to be undone, Woodbury's Karl Lund and Matt Stefeley also qualified for the state meet.

"Everybody is very excited," PWER head coach Kevin Seipel said after the meet. "The girls are just going crazy."

At the Section 4 Championships, the East Ridge girls team took second place with 401 points. Minnehaha Academy was the section champion with 441 points. The Stillwater girls team, which had qualified for the state race 25-straight years, took third place with 393 points. Out of sections, the top two teams reach the state meet along with the top 10 individual skiers not on a state-qualifying team.

Just over a week before the section race, East Ridge beat out Stillwater for the Suburban East Conference championship by two points.

Seipel said his team's depth is what enabled the Raptors to reach state. Koprucki led the way for the Raptors girls at the race with a first-place time of 58:08. It was the sixth straight race Koprucki won. After Koprucki, East Ridge's Jessie Lepel took 13th place overall with a time of 1:03.55, Morgan Maxwell was 16th overall with a 1:04.00 time, Meghan Tomai finished 29th with a time of 1:06.36, Bethany Wozniak was 30th with a time of 1:06.55 and Jessica Schrimp rounded out the Raptors top-six finishers.

Koprucki went on to earn All-State honors, taking sixth at the state meet, and the Raptors girls team took seventh place overall.

In the boys section race, Lund, a senior at the time, and Stefely, a junior last year, advanced to the state meet with finishes of 18th and 19th, respectively, at the Section 4 Championships. Lund had a Woodbury-best time of 1:00.02, just ahead of Stefely, whose time was 1:00.17.

At state, Lund and junior Matt Stefely took 52nd and 58th places, respectively.