By: Ellie Moore
There were a lot of challenges standing in the way of Highland Park’s Nordic ski team as the girls team made another state meet appearance, along with the boys. Wind blowing around 30 MPH on Wednesday, combined with gusts up to 45 MPH made for tough racing conditions for Highland Park’s 2 relay teams.
The boys lost their number one skier, Davis Isom, because he made the US team for the Nordic National Cup. He would be in Finland during the state meet.
Relay teams made up of Delia Johnson and Ellie Moore for the girls and Tim Tzeutschler and Tad Foresman were the first racers for Highland’s historically successful nordic teams.
Johnson is one of only 2 senior girls on the Varsity squad, looking to help lead the very young team to yet another podium finish. “I’m so excited to represent our team in the relay at state!” Johnson said, “It’s different from the pursuit race and I’m looking forward to a challenge!”
The relay teams kicked off the meet with a strong start for Highland Park, with the girls finishing in 4th, and the boys finishing in 7th, both out of 24 teams.
“Tim and I didn’t end up with the result we were looking for due to some big falls on key parts of the course, but we always got back up and kept fighting,” relay skier Tad Foresman said, “Seventh place is not representative of the work we’ve put in this past couple of years, but we still put on our best possible performance with the obstacles we had been given.”
The pursuit races kicked off on Thursday, beginning with the classic ski 5k. Hanna Koch is ranked 3rd and Chloe Koch is within the top 10. For the boys, Ben Martin and Gavin Roberts are ranked in the top 25.
Sisters Hanna Koch and Chloe Koch were the top 2 finishers for Highland Park. Hanna finished the classic race in 5th place, with Chloe just 40 seconds back in 12th. Teammate Alex Pundsack finished the first race neck and neck with Chloe, just 0.3 seconds behind. Amelie Isom came in 41st and Grace Lewis Mosher in 62nd.
On the boys side, Ben Martin finished first on the Highland team in 15th overall. Gavin Roberts was only 18 seconds behind in 28th. Shaggy Reemtsma finished third for the Highland squad placing 52nd overall. Josh Thompson and Diego Bachman finished 81st and 106th.
Going into the skate race the girls were in second place behind Duluth East by 21 points. The boys were in second as well, 40 points behind Duluth East. This put both teams in a good position to podium but they would have to work for it.
The nordic state meet is a pursuit race meaning they would do two 5ks, one classic and one skate.
For the classic race everyone starts in 15 second intervals not knowing who is beating them or who they are beating. They then get a few hours to rest then ski a skate 5k. They start in the order that they finished the classic and whoever they pass, they beat.
In the skate race Hanna Koch finished first for the team in 5th overall. Chloe Koch and Alex Pundsack skied the entire race together. “It allowed us to push ourselves super hard and have fun out there,” Koch said. Amelie Isom and Grace Lewis-Mosher finished in 35th and 59th.
Ben Martin finished in 20th for the boys with Gavin Rovers close behind in 29th. Shaggy Reemtsma came in 46th as the last scorer for the boys. Josh Thompson and Diego Bachman were 88th and 105th.
In the end, both teams ended up placing 3rd.
The girls team is looking strong for next year only graduating 2 seniors, but the boys are graduating 5 of their 7 skiers. The girls team is hoping to podium again next year and hopefully the boys can too.