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Nordic skiers compete in USA's largest prep ski meet

The largest Nordic ski meet for high school students was not without Wolfpack and Royals' high school skiers Jan. 5 in Biwabik.

Park and Woodbury's boys teams combined forces at the Mesabi East XC Invitational, taking 21st place with 213 points in the 65-team field.

The girls' teams went solo, as Woodbury took 18th place with 200 points and Park finished 24th with 231 points in the 59-team field.

"There were obviously a lot of teams there," said Park and Woodbury coach James Kyes. "I think each of the varsity races had 180 skiers approximately and each team could only have two or three racers in each race."

Park veteran Joey Snyder skated in the freestyle, coming in 17 minutes, 18.8 seconds for 61st place.

Nicole Westphal led the Wolfpack in the Classic race, finishing in 20:53.3 for 24th place. Teammate Alyssa Black followed in 23:00.7 for 77th place.

Kelsey Gleich led the 'Pack's girls in the freestyle, finishing in 19:53.9 for 36th place. Sarah Meemken followed in 22:14.6 for 106th place.

"I am excited about how we did," Kyes said. "I'm happy with the team scores. The Woodbury/Park boys placed 21st overall, which was cool for us to place that high. Probably more importantly, in girls scores, Park placed 24th, which is a strong showing for Park.

"But Lakeville South was 27 points in front of us and is in our section," Kyes added. "We took a full team up there and Meemken and Black skied well for us, but we're still a little bit behind where we need to be. I think we can do that; we're in the right spot to do those things."

The race came after a big finish from both Woodbury teams Jan. 3. The Royals' boys team won the Pre-Mesabi Invitational at Cottage Grove Ravine, taking the championship with 482 points ahead of second-place finishing Park (452) in the five-team field. The Woodbury girls won with 462 points, while Park was fourth with 438 points.

Woodbury's Will Novotny and Park's Snyder were first and second, respectively, as Novotny won in 14:47 and Snyder followed at 15:33.

Park's Jason House finished in 17:05 for ninth place, Brent Lichtenberg was 12th in 18:14, Kyle Laabs was 14th in 19:18 and James Talisesky was 16th in 19:18.

The Wolfpack's girls team was without its top talent, as Westphal and Gleich were absent because of illness and other engagements, respectively.

Alyssa Black led the Wolfpack in 19:11 for sixth place and Meemken followed in seventh in 19:45. Alex Newell was 12th in 20:28, Kelly Miles was 19th in 22:25 and Anna Swanson took 23rd in 22:48.

"For Alex Newell, it was one of her best races," Kyes said. "Alex was 12th overall in a pretty strong field, so we're very excited about how she did in that race and hopefully she will continue skiing at that level for us."

Both Wolfpack and Royals' squads competed at Trollhaugen in Dresser, Wis., Jan. 10, but full results were not available when the Bulletin went to press. Both sets of skiers are back in action this week, competing in a conference meet tomorrow, Jan. 17, on the road.

Jan. 3

Pre-Mesabi Invitational

Cottage Grove Ravine




Team results

1, Woodbury 482 points; 2, Park 452; 3, Northfield 449; 4, North St. Paul 391; 5, Tartan 385

Park results

2, Joe Snyder 15 minutes, 33 seconds; 9, Jason House 17:05; 12, Brent Lichtenberg 18:14; 14, Kyle Laabs 19:18; 16, James Talisesky 19:18

Junior varsity

Park results

5, Nikolas Filipovich 21:01; 11, Jon Fuller 22:04; 14, Andrew Lisson 22:19


Team results

1, Woodbury 462 points; 2, Northfield 458; 3, Tartan 445; 4, Park 438; 5, North St. Paul 301

Park results

6, Alyssa Black 19:11; 7, Sarah Meemken 19:45; 12, Alex Newell 20:28; 19, Kelly Miles 22:15; 23, Anna Swanson 22:48

Junior varsity results

Park results

2, Sara Manship 23:36; 10, Amanda Snyder 26:09; 16, Madeline Sockness 30:12; 18, Brittany Ventrella 31:35; 19, Sarah Plank 43:51

Jan. 5

Mesabi East XC Invitational

Giants Ridge



Team results

1, Minneapolis Southwest 64 points; ... 21, Park/ Woodbury 213 (out of 65 teams)

Park/Woodbury Classical

28, Cullen Bergh 17:58.3; 52, Will Novotny 18:35.1; 88, Trevor Dobbs 19:21.2;

Park/Woodbury Freestyle

61, Joey Snyder 17:18.8; 75, James Buchen 17:39.1


Team results

1, Minneapolis Southwest 38 points ... 24, Park 231 (out of 59 teams)

Park Classic results

24, Nicole Westphal 20:53.3

77, Alyssa Black 23:00.7

Park Freestyle results

36, Kelsey Gleich 19:53.9

106, Sarah Meemken 22:14.6