Nordic Ski: Elks had two veterans, one fast learner at state

Elk River's state qualifiers were, from left, Jane Kallemeyn, Mitch Nordahl and Nicole Thorndal.

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Elk River’s senior trio at the state Nordic Ski meet Thursday at Biwabik included two longtime skiers and one late starter.

Mitch Nordahl, who started in eighth grade, placed 77th among 118 boys in his second state trip. He was 86th last year and hoped to move up more but after a good freestyle race (15:31) he became ill and struggled (17:44) in skate for 33:17 total.

Jane Kallemeyn, who started in sixth grade, made her second state appearance and placed 99th among 117 girls with 17:19 in freestyle, 21:29 in skate for 38:48 total. She was 90th last year.

Nicole Thorndahl, a varsity shot/discus thrower since ninth grade, started skiing last year when friends on the team invited her and made  state in just her second season. She placed 87th with 17:04 freestyle, 20:59 in skate,  for 38:03 total.

“I didn’t think I’d like it, at first, but it turned out I like skiing a lot,” said Thorndahl. “It was not as hard as I thought.”

Coach Kirsten Anderson said the kids “raced really hard,” adding that a drizzle during the classic race made things interesting.

Duluth East was team champion for both boys and girls. Individual champions were Lakeville North junior Ben Saxton in 29:05 and Burnsville freshman Sharmila Ahmed in 32:01.

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