Alpine skiing: Koprucki reaches fourth state meet
Though the East Ridge girls alpine ski team was unable to reach a third-straight state meet, Raptors senior Elizabeth Koprucki is returning for one more run.
Koprucki, who has now reached the state alpine meet four times for East Ridge individually, took second place in the Section 4AA championship meet at Wild Mountain in Taylors Falls with a time of 1 minute, 3.97 seconds. Eagan's Sally Anderson won the section championship with a time of 1:03.47.
"I know she wasn't happy not winning," head coach Kevin Seipel said. "Finishing second is solid, but she wants to win every time. I think her mentality is she can't win state if she's not there."
Koprucki led the Raptors girls to state the past two years. Last winter, Koprucki had her best finish, taking second place and helping the Raptors girls earn fifth place as a team.
This year, however, East Ridge didn't reach state as a team. The Raptors placed third in the section meet behind first-place Minneapolis Southwest and second-place Stillwater. The Raptors scored 466 points as a team and were just 5.5 points back of Stillwater, which scored 471.5 points. Southwest scored 483.5 points to take first.
"Southwest looked great and the Stillwater girls skied really well," Seipel said. "We knew there was going to be about four or five really good teams there. Just 5.5 points is about one place better from each of the girls, so it was tough."
Fellow District 833 schools Woodbury and Park took 12th and 20th in the 22-team section, respectively, with 298 points and 209 points.
For East Ridge, in addition to Koprucki, Abigail Eggers took 18th place (1:09.92), Morgan Maxwell placed 20th (1:10.72), Becca Lepel took 26th place (1:11.84) and Daniella Del Toro took 33rd place (1:14.61).
Woodbury's Cheyenne Warren had the top time for the Royals' girls (1:18.46) to take 45th. Also, Madison Wall placed 47th (1:18.95) and Sydney Johnson took 50th (1:20.02).
"Morgan is disappointed," Seipel said. "She's an outgoing senior and has been to state three times. This year was just a little down for her. She was suffering some injuries."
The Minnetonka girls team is the highest returning qualifier to this year's state meet. The Skippers earned runner-up honors in 2012. The other four returning team qualifiers are: The Blake School of Minneapolis, Mounds View, Bloomington Jefferson and Minneapolis Southwest. The three other teams that qualified for this year's meet are: Stillwater, Mankato West and Duluth East.
Individually, senior Megan Danelski of Hermantown returns to defend her individual championship. She is joined by seven other top-10 finishers: Koprucki, who was runner-up; junior Erin Olejnik of Minnetonka, who took third; sophomore Madison Danelski of Hermantown, who was fifth; senior Mary Grace Arndt of Benilde-St. Margaret's of St. Louis Park and senior Savannah Stone of Brainerd/Pillager/Pequot Lakes, who tied for sixth; senior Madison Gartner of Minnetonka, who was eighth; and junior Hailey Bork of The Blake School, who was 10th.
The East Ridge boys alpine team reached its first state meet, taking second place at the Section 4AA championship after finishing third a year ago and missing state by just one point. East Ridge scored 477 points to cruise past third-place Minneapolis Southwest (451 points). Stillwater won the boys section meet with 513 points. The Woodbury boys took 17th (291.5) and Park was 22nd (183) in the 23-team section.
For East Ridge, junior Oliver Kennedy and freshmen Jack Midtlien and Holton Sailer led the way. Kennedy turned in the top time for the Raptors, taking 12th place overall (1:03.29). Midtlien was 14th overall (1:03.68) and Sailer was 18th (1:04.63). In addition senior Drew Del Toro took 35th (1:09.63), senior Evan Bilbrey was 43rd (1:10.83) and junior Mike Youngstrom came in 46th (1:11.16.)
Both Kennedy and Midtlien qualified for state as individuals as well.
Cole Bruesehoff led the way for Woodbury, taking 20th place overall (1:05.02). Also, Woodbury's Adam Brandmire earned 73rd (1:20.43) and Tyler DePaulis took 75th (1:21.02). The state meet will take place Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. The team and individual competitions are combined as a single event. The first runs are slated to begin at 10 a.m.