The Prior Lake boys nordic ski team make bigger strides in its third straight appearance at the state meet.
Led by junior Magnus O'Connor, Prior Lake ended up seventh out of 16 schools in the team standings with 327 points. Forest Lake won the title with 401 points, beating Minneapolis Southwest on a tiebreaker.
St. Paul Highland Park was third (357) ahead of Ely (335), Maple Grove (330) and Sartell-St. Cloud Cathedral (328).
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton ended up eighth (296), followed by Robbinsdale Armstrong (286), Champlin Park (282), Stillwater (280), Little Falls (277), Minneapolis Washburn (274), Eagan (259), Wayzata (239) and Minnehaha Academy (224).
Prior Lake was 11th in the team standings last year and finished 13th in 2018.
O'Connor made a run at a top-10 finish in pursuit, which is a combination of times from both the 5,000-meter freestyle and classical races. He finished 12th overall with a combined time of 29:37.3.
The top-four skiers from each team count in the team standings. Junior Thomas Beyer was the Lakers' next-best finisher in 35th place (30:49.1) ahead of ninth-grader Evan O'Connor (52nd, 31:29.1) and senior Liam Schatzlein (74th, 32:11.7).
Others competing for the Lakers included Junior Leo Kampen (131st, 32:24.3), junior Gabe Smit (148th, 35:28.8) and junior Kyle Nordling (153rd, 37:09.2).
Henry Snider of Mounds Park Academy won the individual pursuit title (28:24.2).
Last year at state, Magnus O'Connor finished 30th in pursuit, while Beyer was 59th and Schatzlein took 120th. The three were making their third straight state appearance for the Lakers.