The Forest Lake boys’ nordic squad placed first of eight conference teams during the Suburban East Conference meet at Lake Elmo Park Reserve last Wednesday.
Sophomore Leo Hipp led the way for the Rangers with a third-place finish in 16:53 in the classical race, earning 98 points for the team.
“This was Leo’s best conference finish ever,” head coach Deno Johnson said. “For someone who’s in just his second year of skiing in argueably the toughest conference in the state? That’s really, really good. He’s a strong skiier.”
Senior Jacob Jankowski and ninth-grader Tommy Babcock finished two seconds and one spot later in a tie for fourth.
Senior Jack Ebel and sophomore Quinn Duffy rounded out the scoring for Forest Lake in 10th (17:36) and 11th (17:50), respectively.
Sophomore Alex Richert followed close behind with a 15th-place finish in 18:18. Teammate Davis Long came in four seconds later in 16th.
The Rangers took first with 470.5 points over Roseville with 453.5 points and Stillwater at 448.5. Johnson said he’s pleased with how his boys continue to prove their prowess.
“The guys are asserting themselves nicely,” Johnson said. “They are definitely returning to the prominence of the good ol’ days, and when they climb off the bus, the other teams know they mean business.”
The Forest Lake girls debuted their first conference meet after the holiday break with 422 points and a third-place finish behind SEC powerhouses Stillwater (479.5) and Roseville (466.5).
Ninth-grader Kate Schaaf took the reins for the Rangers in fourth place in 20:33, earning 97 team points. Sophomore Molly Mead took 20th in 22:57, followed by junior Jess Greeley one spot later at 23:19.
Seventh-grader Kate Mahonen and eighth-grader Miranda Overland ended the team’s scoring by placing 32nd (24:38) and 34th (24:59), respectively.
The Ranger girls struggled with illness over the holiday break, keeping sophomore force Rocci Wohlk off the trail and from competing at the Lake Elmo meet.
Johnson said the girls performed well, but really want to hit the slopes to make up practice time..
“Sometimes I’m calling them two or three times to get to the bus at the end of practice,” Johnson said. “That’s always a good sign when they don’t want to leave or get off the slopes.”
The Rangers competed on Tuesday evening in an SEC meet at Como Park, and next travel to the Lake Elmo on Tuesday, Jan. 15.