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PL Nordic Has Plenty of Talent Back To Contend On The Trails

By Tom Schardin, 01/14/24, 1:15PM CST


The Prior Lake Nordic ski teams have plenty of talent back to once again be contenders in Section 1.

The Laker boys, led by senior Tommy Simmonds, will be seeking an eighth straight trip to state. The team finished ninth last winter, while Simmonds ended up fourth overall in individual pursuit, which is a combination of times from the 5,000-meter freestyle and classical races.

On the girls side, juniors Sophia Basile and Brooke Marquardt and senior Hannah Cole competed at state as individuals last year, taking 70th, 93rd and 85th in pursuit, respectively.

Both Prior Lake teams opened the season Dec. 22 in a 4.8-kilometer South Suburban Conference freestyle competition at Elk Creek Park Reserve.

Winona won the boys title with 268 points, 15 better than Prior Lake. Northfield was third (208), followed by Burnsville-Shakopee (207.5), Eagan (206), Independent School District 196 (199.5) and Lakeville (173).

In the girls team standings, Winona also took the top spot (262), followed by Eastview-Rosemount (257), Prior Lake (235), Lakeville (221), Eagan (190), Northfield (165) and Burnsville-Shakopee (122).

Individually, Simmonds won the boys race, finishing with a time of 14:31.1. That was well ahead of the runner-up finisher, Tanner Benson of Winona (16:05.3).

Sophomore Zachary Fisher and senior Aidan Rosenmeier was next-best finishers for the Laker boys, taking 10th (17:21.0) and 11th (17:40.5), respectively.

Junior Teagan Moore ended up 14th (18:17.1), followed by senior Alex Krawza in 16th (18:27.0), sophomore Bjorn Olson in 17th (18:43.2), junior Ledger Sears in 23rd (19:36.0) and junior Joshua Cole in 36th (21:46.6).

For the Prior Lake girls, Marquardt led the way taking fifth overall with a time of 19:12.8. Cole ended up 11th (19:48.5), while junior Eliana Reckmeyer was 13th (20:38.8) and junior Sarah Rich finished 25th (22:47.1).

Other finishes for the girls included junior Samantha Rich in 27th (22:51.0), junior Morgan Richardson in 32nd (23:49.1) and eighth-grader Kate Haus in 43rd (26:34.5).

This year’s SSC Championships are set for Jan. 30 at Hyland Park Reserve in Bloomington. The Section 1 meet will also be at that venue and will be held Feb. 6.

The top two teams from each section make the state field in both the boys and girls competitions, along with the top four individuals in pursuit and the highest finishing sprint relay team not on the advancing squads.

Other teams in the Section 1 field include Eagan, Winona, Simley, Visitation, Scott West, Park, Northfield, Eagan, Lakeville, Hastings and Eastview-Rosemount.

The state competition is scheduled for Feb. 14-15 at its annual site, Giants Ridge in Biwabik.

This season will be the third where sprint relay teams are part of the overall team score. In past seasons for sections and state, each team would have seven skiers in pursuit. The top four finishers from each team would determine the team score.

The new format still has seven skiers from each team competing, but two are part of the relay and the other five are in pursuit. The top three in pursuit are part of the team score, along with each team’s relay finish.