The Prior Lake boys Nordic ski team picked a good time for its best race of the season.
The Lakers claimed the Section 1 title at Hyland Hills in Bloomington Feb. 6 with three skiers in the top seven in pursuit with Gus Schatzlein leading the way. He won the individual title with a time of 26.45.
Pursuit is a combination of times from both the 5,000-meter classical and freestyle races. Schatzlein had the fastest times in both races, 13:57 and 12:48, respectively.
Prior Lake finished with 374 points, which was six better than runner-up Burnsville. The top two teams make the state field, along the top six individuals not on the advancing squads.
Eagan was third in the team standings (353), followed by Winona (346), Eastview (322), Northfield (279), Hastings (249), Lakeville North (235), Lakeville South (234) and Rosemount (79).
On the girls side, junior Olivia Jacobson qualified for state for a second straight year for Prior Lake, finishing seventh overall in pursuit with a time of 33.40. The Lakers were fourth in the team standings with 314 points behind champion Winona and runner-up Eastview (350 each) and Northfield (324).
Lakeville South was fifth (310), followed by Hastings (299), Rosemount (292), Eagan (282), Burnsville (279) and Lakeville North (251).
The state Nordic meet is set for Feb. 15 at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
Meanwhile, the Prior Lake boys were runner-up to Burnsville in the SSC Championships back on Jan. 30 and finished behind the Blaze in most of the competitions this winter. Schatzlein did the win the individual SSC pursuit title.
At sections, ninth-graders Magnus O'Connor and Tom Beyer stepped up for the Lakers. Beyer finished sixth overall with a time of 29.16, while O'Connor was seventh (29:17).
Five skiers count in the team standings and the next two Lakers were sophomore Liam Schatzlein in 16th (30:21) and junior Ben Jansen in 24th (31:00). Junior Henry Trajano ended up 25th (31:01) for Prior Lake, while senior Alex Kampen was 44th (35:32).
In the girls race, Jacobson got off to a good start in the classical race and was fifth overall (17:43) heading into the freestyle competition, where she was eighth (15:57).
Junior Madisen Clemensen was the Lakers' next-best finisher in 22nd place (37:01). She was followed by junior Ingrid O'Connor (30th, 38:59), seventh-grader Sophia Jacobson (31st, 39:31), senior Jessie McElwain (32nd, 39:35), ninth-grader Katie Nollette (34th, 40:08) and ninth-grader Laura Murr (35th, 40:43).