by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Led by Brittney Dorn and Reece Hickman, the Elk River-Rogers-Zimmerman girls Nordic Ski team earned a runner-up finish in the Northwest Suburban Conference on Wednesday.
“It’s been a good season so far,” said Dorn, a senior, who placed ninth among 90 entrants at Theodore Wirth Park, up from 22nd last year. “We’ve had a lot of races canceled due to the cold, unfortunately, but we have been racing our best whenever we can race.”
Hickman, a junior, placed 11th for the second straight year and was delighted with the team’s showing.
“We have been doing so good this year,” Hickman reflected, “and we are getting tighter as a team. We only lose two girls so we should be back strong next year.”
Robbinsdale Armstrong dominated the meet. Seven Falcons placed in the top 10, led by Hannah Ruud, the champion by 54 seconds in 36:05.
The Elks were best of the rest with 476. Andover with 465 was third in the 10-team competition.
Five Elks made all-conference by placing in the top 30, with senior Mallory Adams 21st, junior Shannon White 28th and junior Maggie Hohlen 30th. Tori Morgan, a junior, just missed, placing 31st. Adams, who placed 12th last year, has been battling the flu but made all-NWSC again.
Amid some brutally cold and windy weather the past month, the skiers got a break Wednesday with the temperature around 20 and little wind.
“This was a beautiful day to compete. It was perfect,” said Dorn.
The Elks placed third last year, and expected to move up, with five of their top six returning.
Dorn made sure she would move up, and did so by 13 places.
“There was definitely a lot of work over the summer, and during cross country running in the fall, she said, “and I think it all helped.”
Coach Kirstin Anderson lauded her team’s effort.
“The kids came on real strong in the second race,” said Anderson, meaning the 5K classic, which went better than the 5K skate. “We skied really well. The competition is tough. Armstrong is fantastic.”
Dorn was 11th after the skate and moved up two places in the classic, while Hickman was 16th and moved up five places in the classic.
“It’s mentally hard during the race, and have to stay tough but it’s all worth it in the end,” said Dorn. “You’ve got to get it all out, definitely, at the end. You can’t leave anything out there.”
The Wirth course has some killer hills, especially late.
“To me, the first race is usually harder,” said Hickman. “The second race, I try ignore the pain and keep going.”
The Elks will return to Theodore With for sectionals on Thursday, Feb. 6.
NORTHWEST SUBURBAN CONFERENCE NORDIC SKI
Girls team scoring
1. Armstrong 576
2. Elk River-Rogers-Zimmerman 476
3. Andover 465
4. Maple Grove 433
5. Coon Rapids 416
6. Anoka 411
7. Osseo 372
8. Champlin Park 312
9. Blaine 173
10. Park Center 131
Top 12 girls
1. Hannah Ruud, Armstrong, 36:05
2. Sarah Bezdicek, Osseo, 36:59
3. Anna Nachbor, Armstrong, 37:56
4. Maddie McKeefry, Andover, 38:15
5. Kelsey Sather, Armstrong, 39:34
6. Megan Stuart, Armstrong, 39:46
7. Dottie Anderson, Armstrong, 40:37
8. Leah Rudd, Armstrong, 40:49
9. Brittney Dorn, ERZ, 41:12
10. Maria Schoening, Armstrong, 41:41
11. Reece Hickman, ERZ, 41:48
12. Lindsey Gast, Anoka, 41:49
21. Mallory Adams 43:09
28. Shannon White 44:29
30. Maggie Hohlen 44:58
Other Elks top six
31. Tori Morgan 45:18