After two days of competition on the Telemark trails at Cable, Erin Bolger was crowned the state champion following a dominating performance on the snow.
Bolger won the 5k skate race Saturday morning by more than a minute, finishing in 15:34, 1:06 faster than her closest competitor.
In the pursuit race format, Bolger took off on the day two classic race 1:06 before anyone, and hung on to the lead to earn the overall championship.
Bolger skied the classic race in 17:04.7, finishing second to Emma Barnes of Iola.
Sophia Weiss followed up a thirteenth place finish in the skate race by taking tenth in the classic race on Sunday, putting her in tenth place overall.
Emily Kubisiak, who finished twenty-fourth in the skate race Saturday morning, took eighth in the classic race on Sunday, jumping her up to thirteenth place in the pursuit standings.
The trio of Bolger, Weiss and Kubisiak scored 22 points, just two points behind Iola, to take second place as a team.
The Lakeland boys also saw strong finishes on the weekend, with Mack FitzPatrick emerging as the state runner-up in the pursuit race.
FitzPatrick finished in second place in the freestyle race Saturday morning, completing the course in 13 minutes flat, just under six seconds slower than Dan DeLestry from Chippewa Valley.
Trailing by six seconds to start Sunday’s classic race, FitzPatrick skied the fastest classic time, 13:44.1, to win the classic race, but was unable to overtake DeLestry and finished as the state runner-up, 2.1 seconds short of DeLestry’s overall time.
After a ninth place finish on Saturday in the skate race, Will Bodewes had a great classic race, and moved up five spots to take fourth place. The performance earned Bodewes the sixth overall spot in the pursuit standings.
Luke Bodewes held down Lakeland’s third scoring slot, and after taking thirty-first in the freestyle race, also improved his standing by taking twenty-eighth in the classic race Sunday morning, and took twenty-eighth overall in the pursuit.
FitzPatrick and the Bodewes brothers scored 36 points to take second as a team behind 4-H CanSki.
As head coach Mike Bolger said, the top finishes paralleled the hard work done in the off-season by many of Lakeland’s athletes.
“The kids who worked hard in the off-season were the ones who were up on the podium in the end,” Bolger said. “I’m hoping that’s an inspiration, that to be up there you’ve got to put the time in in the off-season.”
Bolger also said the second place overall performances from each team showed the depth Lakeland has to its advantage. Bolger said Lakeland’s top finishers wouldn’t be nearly as strong without the team’s support the entirety of the season.
“It is a team thing, because without these other kids showing up to practice and being there – and they all have fun when they’re practicing and training – they wouldn’t have that environment and they wouldn’t be up there today,” Bolger said. “Just because all the kids didn’t make it up there doesn’t mean they weren’t a big part of this team.”
Behind the top three Lakeland girl finishers, Lily Johnson improved from thirty-first in the skate race to take thirteenth in the classic and twenty-second overall in the pursuit.
Carli Capacio took fifteenth in the skate, thirtieth in the classic, and twenty-fourth in the pursuit. Nicole Gilman took twenty-ninth in the pursuit after finishing thirty-eighth in the skate and twenty-first in the classic.
Julia Malicki (fifty-first skate, forty-fourth classic), Stephanie Balas (fiftieth skate, forty-fifth classic) and Morgan Courtney (fortieth skate, fifty-fifth classic) finished forty-fifth through forty-seventh in the pursuit standings, and Paige Courtney (sixty-fifth skate, fifty-fourth classic) took fifty-eighth in the pursuit to round out the Lakeland girls’ skiers.
Behind Lakeland’s top three boys, Keegan Mullen took fifty-first in the skate and thirty-fifth in the classic to finish forty-first overall. Bryan Way followed up a seventieth place finish in the skate race with a sixty-first place finish in the classic race to take sixty-fifth in the pursuit standings.
Michael Laurence (sixty-ninth skate, sixty-seventh classic) and Tommy Boisvert (seventy-second skate, sixty-sixth classic) finished sixty-ninth and seventieth overall.
Frederick Maulson finished ninety-third, Colin Johnson took ninety-ninth, and Wyatt Klimpke rounded out the Lakeland squad, taking one hundred seventh overall in the pursuit.
Bolger said several performances stood out on the day.
“Carli Capacio did what she needed to do on Saturday in the skate to hold us where we needed to be,” Bolger said. “Sophia Weiss and Emily Kubisiak were the two that needed a top 10, got a top 10, and I couldn’t be happier for those two.”
Bolger also said FitzPatrick performed admirably on the weekend, coming up just 2.1 seconds short of the state champion.
“He was one nervous cat last night talking strategy,” Bolger said after the classic race.
As Bolger said, FitzPatrick and DeLestry, the overall winner, train together and have attended camps together, so they were well aware of what the other was capable.
Bolger said FitzPatrick looked to make his move near the end of the race, but was unable to overtake DeLestry.
“Mack tried but Dan was just too strong a skier to get by,” he said.
Bolger also thought Will Bodewes, who wasn’t feeling too well, had a strong weekend.
“He moved up four spots today and had a really good race,” Bolger said.
Lakeland will have the week to prepare for the Capitol Square Sprints, the Wisconsin High School Nordic Ski State Sprint Championships, which will be held at the Capitol square in Madison this weekend.
The event consists of individual and relay races, with freestyle races on Saturday and classic races Sunday.
Lakeland’s top two skiers, Erin Bolger and Mack FitzPatrick, will both miss the meet as they compete in a Junior National Qualifier, and coach Bolger said it will give Lakeland’s other skiers a chance to shoot for the top spot in a fun event.
“I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for some of our other kids who are our third, fourth or fifth skiers to shine,” Bolger said.
Jim Oxley may be reached via email at email@example.com.