The season is flying by ... The second Junior Nationasl Qualifier (JNQ) event was completed last weekend, giving us our best look yet at head-to-head competition among most of the top skiers. There was some definite confirmations coming from the results. First, Mara McCollor, Wayzata, reigns as the top ranked skier for the girls. On Saturday, McCollor simply stomped the 5K classical field, finishing only 12 seconds behind Olympian and World Championship bronze medalist Caitlin Gregg! Sunday she turned around and cranked out another top 10 finish. Luc Golin, Wayzata, still holds the top spot in the rankings, showing the best consistency over the weekend (2nd high school skier on Saturday, 4th overall on Sunday). Golin and his Wayzata teammates also validated their top ranking with an impressive performance, particularly on Sunday when they finished first, second and fourth in the mass start freestyle race. Some movers and shakers for the weekend include Ryan Mead, Forest Lake, skiing up from previous performances to finish as the top high school skier and 11th overall in the men’s 10K classical. Sarah Olson, Blaine, had a stellar skate race Sunday, finishing as the top high school skier and 7th overall. Missing in action last weekend was Kelly Koch, Burnsville, who was heading to Finland to represent the United States in the Junior Nordic Competition later this week. Some names to watch -- skiers on the fast elevator up: Amelia Hauer, Forest Lake, and Cooper Lennox, Mora. We’ve also received confirmation that Grand Rapids star Garrett Beckrich will be able to squeeze in the State Meet between his international competitions for biathlon.
The northern powers still present a murky picture for the rankings. The light participation in the JNQ races make it very difficult to assess how they compare to the city slickers (not to mention the Midwest might not be fielding our top Junior National team without them). We’ve taken our best shot with the limited data we’ve got and made some adjustments this week, but those rankings could still be off -- perhaps significantly.
Unlike the major shake up in the individual rankings, the team rankings are basically unchanged this week. The team rankings are always a difficult assessment, and we’re not particularly happy with the current lineup (outside of the top few teams), but we’ll try to delve into this deeper after the conference championships.
Finally, some constructive criticism: If you’re going to send us comments on the rankings, please provide some backing with it. Don’t write to say you don’t agree with one particular ranking without providing any justification for your position. Help us out -- feed us data, make this a better process.
Cusp: Gus Schatzlein, Prior Lake, 12; Henry Hall, Mpls Southwest, 11; Alex Kelling, Grand Rapids, 11; Hunter Zupko, Little Falls, 12; Matthew Bourne, MPA, 12; PJ Rubin, Edina, 11; Cooper Lennox, Mora, 10; Declan Dahlberg, MPA, 12; Andrew Haines, Forest Lake, 11; Spencer Kotys, Forest Lake, 12; Owen Gage, Edina, 12; Colton Yorek, Little Falls, 11; Daniel Lee, Roseville, 11
Mara McCollor, Wayzata, 11
Kelly Koch, Burnsville, 12
Sarah Olson, Blaine, 11
Regan Duffy, Forest Lake, 11
Triana Willmert, Edina, 12
Hannah Bettendorf, Proctor/Hermantown, 12
Luci Anderson, Robbinsdale-Armstrong, 11
Libby Tuttle, Stillwater, 10
Jenny Parent, Forest Lake, 12
Emma Stertz, Grand Rapids, 12
Cusp: Leah Rudd, Robbinsdale-Armstrong, 11; Kasia Bednarski, Mpls Southwest, 11; Gretchen Haggenmiller, Duluth East, 10; Samantha Kurkowski, Roseville, 12; Siri Bohacek, Stillwater, 12; Rana Kraftson, Stillwater, 12; Amelia Hauer, Forest Lake, 9; Charlotte Brown, Benilde-St. Margarets, 10; Olivia Schwintek, White Bear Lake, 11; Ryne Prigge, Ely, 12; Sudie Hall, Mpls Southwest, 9; Mae Barnes, Robbinsdale-Armstrong, 11; Emma Terwilliger, Ely, 12; Kaelin Jackson, Hopkins, 11; Sonja Long, Duluth East, 12; Laura Pasmick, Ely, 12; Emma Albrecht, Stillwater, 11
Mounds Park Academy
Cusp: Burnsville; Prior Lake; Eden Prairie; Little Falls; St. Cloud Cathedral-Sartell; Duluth East; Mpls South; Maple Grove; St. Paul Highland Park; Brainerd.