The nordic ski boys dominated the hills once again in last Thursday’s final Suburban East Conference race at Trollhaugen Ski Center with a first-place finish with 471 points. The Rangers recorded 471 points, defeating Stillwater (441) and Roseville (436).
Sophomore Leo Hipp continued his breakout season by leading the Rangers in third place with a time of 24:54 in the 9.6K pursuit, followed one second later by senior Jacob Jankowski in fourth.
Hipp tied for a career-high finish in conference racing in just his second season.
“I was really surprised at first,” Hipp said. “I was more happy with how the team did and how well they raced because I want to go to state as a team. But for myself, I was just surprised and really happy with it. It just kind of happened.”
Head coach Deno Johnson said his top finishers are performing exceptionally well.
“Jake had a fabulous day,” Johnson said. “He’s racing well and will be hitting top form soon. Leo has hit on a rich vein of form—every training session sees him improve.”
Ninth-grader Tommy Babcock clinched eighth in 25:47 while sophomore Quinn Duffy (25:50) and ninth-grader Davis Long (26:20) followed in ninth and tenth place.
Senior Jack Ebel (13th) and sophomore Alex Richert (16th) also finished in the top 20.
Earning all-conference honors for the nordic boys are Hipp, Jankoswki, Babcock, Duffy, Long, Ebel and Richert. Sophomore Ramsey Taylor and ninth-grader Ben Mahonen received all-conference honorable mention for the Rangers.
The Forest Lake girls finished in fourth place with 414 points behind Roseville (469), Stillwater (460) and White Bear Lake (436).
Sophomore Rocci Wohlk showcased her elite skiing skills with another individual SEC win by a margin of 30 seconds with a time of 27:04.
Ninth-grader Kate Schaaf finished 10th in 30:44 while eighth-grader Miranda Overland earned 22nd in 33:52.
Sophomore Molly Mead contributed points in 33rd place, followed by junior Jess Greeley (36th) and ninth-grader Kate Mahonen (38th).
Johnson said the young girls’ squad is in good shape for a strong future. Wohlk, a routine top finisher, said she is excited for sections this year and seasons to come.
“As a team, we are getting a lot better,” Wohlk said. “It’s really exciting, because I know we’ll get better each year and keep building a strong relationship as a team.”
Wohlk also mentioned the upcoming talent of Overland, a newcomer to the sport who earned all-conference after just two months on skiis. Overland said the honors were exciting.
“It’s quite the honor, and really fun and flattering too,” Overland said. “I still have a lot to learn. Deno helps a lot and Rocci, of course. I really look to Rocci for her experience and skills.”
Wohlk earned all-conference on the girls’ side along with Schaaf and Overland. Mead claimed all-conference honorable mention honors.
The nordic squads competed at the section championship on Wednesday.