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At the Section 1 Nordic skiing championships at Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley Park seniors Nicole Westphal, front, and Sarah Meemken qualified for the Nordic skiing state meet, as did Joe Snyder.
At the Section 1 Nordic skiing championships at Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley Park seniors Nicole Westphal, front, and Sarah Meemken qualified for the Nordic skiing state meet, as did Joe Snyder.

Park senior trio going to state Nordic meet

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Cottage Grove, 55016

Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

Everything went pretty much as expected on Tuesday, Feb. 3 at the Section 1 Nordic championships at Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley as Park seniors Nicole Westphal, Sarah Meemken and Joe Snyder qualified for the Nordic skiing state meet, which well be held Friday, Feb. 13 at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.

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At the Section 1 meet, Westphal finished in fifth place and Meemken earned seventh in the girls race, while Snyder finished eighth in the boys race.

At sections, the top team's best seven finishers qualify for state. Along with those seven skiers, the next best eight individual finishers also qualify for state.

In the pursuit-style race, the meet is actually broken into two races -- a "classic" race in the morning and a "skate" race in the afternoon. Starting points for the second race are based on each individual skier's finish from the morning race. The person who finishes with the best time in the first race is the first one on the course in the second race, getting literally, a "head start" equivalent to the amount of time they won the first race by, leaving everyone else to try and physically catch up to them.

As a team, although only having five skiers out of a possible seven finish, the Park boys came in sixth place with 309 points. Lakeville South was the boys Section 1 champion with 362 points. Andy Dodds, a sophomore from Apple Valley High School, finished as the Section 1 individual champion with a time of 31:13.7.

"We looked pretty good in the section, even if we weren't one of the top teams," Park head coach James Kyes said.

The Park girls also didn't have seven skiers finish, but came in fourth place with 339 points, with its six skiers. Lakeville South was the girls section champion with 373 total points. Lakeville North senior Megan Smith won the individual title with a time of 35:25.3.

Last season, the Park girls team was the section runner up, however this year, Lakeville North and Winona each jumped

in front of the Wolfpack.

"We had skied against Winona earlier in the year and knew we were competitive with them, the dark horse was Lakeville North," Kyes said. "They just had a lot of their skiers ski very well."

Westphal finishes strong to solidify state spot

In the girls section race, Westphal finished in seventh place in the morning, classic race while Meemken came in sixth place. However, Westphal -- who was recovering from illness that caused her to miss the conference meet -- turned in the fourth-best time in the skate race with a 17:01 finish on the 5K course and jumped up to fifth place in the overall standings with a 37:36.5 combined time. Meemken wasn't far behind, however, coming in seventh place overall with a 37:43.9 time.

Last year, Westphal was the Section 1 champion, but was unable to defend her title. However, what was most important was earning the chance to ski one more time.

"I know she was hoping to defend that title and it's kind of too bad she wasn't able to do that," Kyes said. "But what we're hoping for is a strong result at the state meet. I'm sure she'll ski very well there."

Both Westphal and Meemken also qualified for state last year, with Westphal earning All-State honors.

Other top finishers for the girls team were juniors Amanda Snyder and Alex Newell, who came in 26th and 27th overall, respectively. Junior skier Kelly Miles and freshman Sarah Manship rounded out Park's finishers with finishes of 36th and 41st places, respectively.

Kyes was impressed with Amanda Snyder's performance, considering her goal in the beginning of the year was just to make the section team.

"She's finished up the season strong and has done a very good job for us," Kyes said. "I'm very happy for what she put together. Her, Alex and Kelly Miles will be a nice crew of seniors next season."

Joe Snyder staves off competition to make state meet

In the boys section race, Park senior Joe Snyder finished in seventh place in the 5K classic race with a 17:26 time and held onto his state spot with a sixth-best finish of 15:01.74 in the skate race to qualify for the state meet for the second straight year with an eighth place overall finish and a time of 32:27.8.

"He finished right about where we expected him to," Kyes said. "I didn't think he'd be much higher or any lower. He skied well. He was super consistent this year and super hard-working."

Other finishers for the boys team were senior Kyle Laabs, junior Andrew Lisson and senior Nikolas Filipovich. Laabs finished in 25th place, while Lisson came in 33rd and Filipovich earned 48th place.

Notables:

Section 1 Nordic meet, Tuesday, Feb. 3 at Valleywood Golf Course

-- Nicole Westphal, sr., 5th place, 37:36.5 time.

-- Sarah Meemken, sr., 7th place, 37:43.9 time.

-- Amanda Snyder, jr., 26th place, 43:07.6 time.

-- Alex Newell, jr., 27th place, 43:31.7 time.

-- Kelly Miles, jr., 36th place, 45:14.3 time.

-- Sara Manship, fr., 41st place, 47:24.9 time.

-- Joe Snyder, sr., 8th place, 32:27.8 time.

-- Kyle Laabs, sr., 25th place, 37:20.2 time.

-- James Talisesky, sr., 29th place. 37:51.1 time.

-- Andrew Lisson, jr., 33rd place, 38:41.2 time.

-- Nikolas Filipovich, sr., 48th place, 42:27.9 time.

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