Nordic ski meets in one’s own backyard are not common. The Thunderbirds took advantage of a meet at Minocqua Winter Park and found success.
Both the Lakeland boys and girls won the meet. The boys finished with 6 points and the girls finished with 7 points respectively.
“I thought it was a great day,” coach Erich Kern said. “I think the kids liked the course too, weather was good. Everything went well.”
The Thunderbirds had the five of the top six finishers in the varsity race.
Jakob Craig edged out Casey Van Hefty for the win as both skiers raced to the finish line. Jakob Craig finished first with a time of 12:04.2 and Casey Van Hefty second with a time of 12:04.4.
“They’re both younger skiers,” coach Kern said. “Those boys made up their minds to push the older boys and see what they got. Casey and Jakob are both really strong skiers.”
There was a little gap between the second and third finisher. Jake Van Hefty came in third place with a time of 12:15.7. Then, Forrest Dorsey finished in fourth with a time of 12:25.5.
Rounding out the top five, Brock Metzger came in sixth with a time of 13:59.7.
“The boys really push it and give it their all and have fun doing it,” coach Kern said.
The girls were nearly identical to the boys. They had four of the top five finishers for the varsity race.
Mia Case came out the decisive champion. She finished first with a time of 13:15.6.
“Mia is a strong competitor, had a good race and came out on top,” coach Kern said.
Johanna Craig finished in second place. After losing one of her poles at the beginning of the race, she recovered to race a time of 13:36.7.
“That happens in skiing,” coach Kern said. “She lost time and great effort (for her to finish second). On any given day Johanna and Mia stand out as our two best skiers and anyone of them can take a race.”
Coming in fourth place, Kiera Rotar glided through the snow for a time of 14:45.9. Right behind her, Sylvia Meza finished fifth with a time of 14:46.5.
Grace Kern became the final Thunderbird to cross the finish line. She did so in seventh place with a time of 15:22.5.
This meet was a close distance for the Thunderbirds, a course they’re familiar with. No matter what course they’re at though, the best stand out.
“I would say it’s nice where it’s local so the kids don’t have to travel,” coach Kern said. “The best skiers stand out no matter what course they’re at.”
Up next, about 10 skiers will participate in the Junior National Qualifier in Houghton, Michigan on Saturday, Dec. 21 and Sunday, Dec. 22.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]