Alpine teams hot riding into sectional

Girls place second at 15-team meet

Shown at an early-season meet, Kellie Welch navigates Wild Mountain. She finished the SEC season with the eighth-most points in the conference. (File photo by Clint Riese)

The Forest Lake alpine skiing teams appear to be peaking at the right time. Both Ranger squads closed out the Suburban East Conference season last Tuesday on good notes, and the fast racing carried through to Thursday’s Centennial Invite.

In the latter, Forest Lake’s girls placed second at the 15-team meet at Giant’s Ridge, and the boys placed fifth.

The girls scored 358 points, just 10 back of champion Cook County. Krista Kirchner led the Rangers by placing sixth with a combined time of 1:27.88.

Maddi Gemuenden stayed hot by placing 17th in 1:34.83. Melissa Mackey also continued to ski well and finished in 1:40.02, good for 29th place.

Kellie Welch hit rougher conditions as she skied later in the meet and placed 19th in 1:35.34. She beat each of the racers to hit the slopes after her.

The team’s runner-up finish boded well for this Tuesday’s Section 7 meet as most of the same teams were involved. SEC runner-up Mounds View, however, did not compete at the Centennial Invite but was part of the section field. Further, section contenders Duluth East and Hermantown were without several top competitors at the Centennial meet.

A ninth-place showing by Cody Eggers helped the Ranger boys finish fifth. Chisago Lakes won the meet by 25 points over Virginia.

Eggers has come on as the season has unfolded, and his time of 1:20.25 was less than nine seconds off the lead. Riley Schilling put together two good runs to place 15th in 1:21.84.

Marty Longsdorf (34th, 1:25.89) and David Herman (36th, 1:26.71) rounded out the scoring.

SEC Wrap-up

The five-meet SEC season wrapped up last Tuesday at Wild Mountain. For the second straight meet, the Forest Lake girls posted a season-high score. Their total of 658 points was also the program’s highest in the three seasons under the current scoring format. The effort was good for fourth place.

As in each SEC meet beforehand, Kirchner and Welch were the top two Ranger finishers. Kirchner, who took sixth with a time of 52.61, placed in the top 10 of each SEC meet. The senior finished third in the conference with 469 total points.

Welch recovered from a bobble on her first run and placed 13th in 54.99. The junior’s worst finish this season was better than her best from last winter. Welch’s 442 total SEC points were eighth-best in the conference.

Gemuenden placed 14th in 55.25. It marked the first time under the current format that three Forest Lake racers have finished in the top 15.

Maggie Longsdorf improved her finish for the third straight race, taking 25th in 58.04. Mackey had her best SEC performance, taking 29th 58.60.

Rounding out the lineup, Sydney Halley took 38th in 59.72, Elli Rodsjo took 46th in 1:02.08, Sydney Norcross took 48th in 1:04.55, Samantha Kramer took 61st in 1:10.70 and Katie Goulding took 71st in 1:19.67.

Mounds View won the meet, while East Ridge’s Elizabeth Koprucki finished first individually in 49.21.

The boys placed fifth despite two disqualifications. The top four Rangers each posted a season-best effort. Eggers, a senior, took sixth in his final SEC meet with a time of 1:05.55. Marty Longsdorf clocked out in 1:09.04 to place 24th. Jake Schwanz skied to 25th in 1:09.37 and Mark Herman took 27th in 1:10.20.

David Herman (31st, 1:12.36) and Joe Alberg (33rd, 1:13.01) were close behind.

Chris Wallner (46th, 1:17.24) and Max Stangler (67th, 1:27.74) also scored. Schilling and Jake Bush fell and did not finish.

Stillwater crushed the field as a team. Mounds View’s Nik Damberg won the meet with a time of 58.69.

The 19-team Section 7 meet took place this Tuesday at Giant’s Ridge in Biwabik. See for an update.