The Prior Lake Alpine ski teams faced a tough Section 6 field at Buck Hill in Burnsville Feb. 6.
But Ashley George was able to overcome the strong competition to earn her third straight state berth. The ninth-grader ended up sixth overall out of 115 racers, finishing with a combined time of 49.11 on her two runs (23. 68 and 25.43).
The Laker girls ended up seventh out of 19 schools in the team standings with 326 points. Lakeville North won (411), followed by Mankato West (410), Eden Prairie (399), Lakeville South (397), Edina (383) and Northfield (373).
On the boys side, Prior Lake ended up 15th with a team total of 255. Edina won the crown (443), followed by Lakeville South (440), Mankato West (409), Eagan (366) and Bloomington Jefferson (366).
Senior Jake Strait was a state qualifier for the Laker boys last year, but fell short in his final high school race. He ended up 20th overall with a combined time of 49.67 on his two runs.
The top two teams make the state field, along with the top 10 individuals not on the advancing squads. The state Alpine meet is set for Feb. 14 at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
George was 38th at state as a seventh-grader, but finished 80th last winter. She didn't complete her second run after a strong first run where she was in 20th place.
At sections, George was in fifth place after her first run. Six skiers per team compete at sections with four counting in the team standings.
The Laker girls' next-best finisher behind George was senior Michelle Iwen in 29th place (54.52), followed by sophomore Sophie Gannon (50th, 1:02.29), junior Alexis Jacobson (53rd, 1:02.59), senior Rachel Lee (77th, 1:11.51) and senior Carly Brosious (80th, 1:12.43).
For the Prior Lake boys, behind Strait, was ninth-grader Josh Carlson in 55th (55.84), junior Jordan Albright in 79th (1:02.79), eighth-grader Sam Foltz in 83rd (1:04.50), junior Jake Walter in 90th (1:13.43) and senior Will Schult (disqualified).