by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
The Elk River-Rogers-Zimmerman boys placed a solid fourth among 10 teams and had four all-conference skiers Wednesday in the Northwest Suburban Conference meet Wednesday.
Joey Martin, who missed the cross country season with a leg injury, continued his strong senior skiing season with a fifth-place finish to lead the Elks.
The Elks also had senior Breck Hickman in 12th place, junior Karl Gorecki 24th and junior Dan Janasz 29th. The top 30 among 90 entrants make all-conference.
Martin had a fractured femur this fall.
“I was on crutches four weeks. I just did upper body stuff and swimming. I didn’t run at all,” said Martin. “Once my leg got better, I roller skated, but I didn’t run until mid-November. So my training the first quarter of this year was a little different. But it has all worked out.”
Martin’s ledger also includes a fourth-place at the huge Mesabi Invitational on Jan. 11.
The Andover Huskies won the title edging Armstrong 521 to 519. The Huskies had six of the top 26, led by third-place Lucas Hieb, while Armstrong had the top two, John Delaney and Tom Norman.
The Elks were conference champions last year, but graduated their best two skiers plus two other all-conference athletes so they were not expected to repeat.
Hickman and Martin placed fifth and sixth, respectively, last year and are the team leaders now.
“Joey was very strong today,” said coach Kirsten Anderson. “Breck has been fighting a back injury and he came back really good in the classic race.”
Hickman struggled to 16th place in the skate but moved up four places in the classic.
Martin was asked about how challenging this event is.
“The second race is especially tough. You do a 5K and rest a couple hours and then do another 5K. But everybody is in the same boat,” said Martin. “When you get to those last couple steep hills, you just want to get over as fast as you can and get it over with.”
Amid some brutally cold and windy weather the past month, the skiers got a break Wednesday with the temperature around 20 and little wind.
The Elks will return to Theodore Wirth for sectionals on Thursday, Feb. 6.
NORTHWEST SUBURBAN CONFERENCE NORDIC SKI
Boys team scoring
1. Andover 521
2. Armstrong 519
3. Osseo 506
4. Elk River-Rogers-Zimmerman 435
5. Maple Grove 429
6. Coon Rapids 391
7. Champlin Park 332
8. Anoka 280
9. Park Center 275
10. Blaine 136
Top 10 boys
1. John Delaney, Armstrong, 31:37
2. Tom Norman, Armstrong, 32:48
3. Lucas Hieb, Andover, 33:00
4. Sean Heaton, Maple Grove, 33:01
5. Joey Martin, ERZ, 33:02
6. Ian Mead, Andover, 34:01
7. Adam Berkowitz, Osseo, 34:09
8. Ryan Peterson, Maple Grove, 34:27
9. Mitchell Dehmer, Osseo, 34:47
10. Sam Anderson, Andover, 35:10
11. Nathaniel Johnson, Park Center, 35:11
12. Breck Hickman, ERZ, 35:17
24. Karl Gorecki 37:33
29. Dan Janasz 37:42
Other Elks top six
48. Collin Webster 40:05
53. Aaron Ley 40:50