MInnesota High School Preseason Nordic Skiing Rankings
December 2, 2018
Unusually cold fall weather has provided a good start to the Minnesota high school Nordic skiing season, with many teams already on snow. And the World Cup racing season is underway, with Minnesota's own Olympic gold medalist Jessie Diggins back in action. So it must be time for the opening round of Minnesota high school rankings!
Our "pre-season" rankings rely heavily on past performance, especially from the previous State Meet. After that, a lot of the ranking is by the gut, using some factoring of age and team composition. Team composition can play a huge role in the development of an athlete: a couple of top skiers combined with strong team chemistry can "lift the boat" for the entire squad. And sometimes the reverse can happen: a top individual might be not be challenged enough to improve without a lot of self-drive.
Grand Rapids biathlete Garrett Beckrich proved all doubters wrong last season, taking the title away from a number of favorites. Beckrich will not be underestimated this season; he'll carry the number one ranking on his back to start the season. But there are many ready to challenge for that title, and leading that list is St. Paul Academy's Peter Moore. Moore has continued to excel in cycling at the national and international level, and with a focus this fall/winter on skiing, Moore could add State Champion to his resume. Alex Nemeth, St. Cloud Cathedral-Sartell, and Cooper Lennox, Mora, showcase a strong outstate field this season, and will be in contention as well. James Schneider, Wayzata, will have to step up his game without the daily push from his former teammates Anders Sonnesyn and Luc Golin.
Mara McCollor, Wayzata, was favored as a top contender for the girls much of last season and she delivered at the State Meet. McCollor is definitely the one to beat this season. But boy howdy, there is an excellent crop of gals that will make her earn it. Regan Duffy, Forest Lake, and Sarah Olson, Blaine, took their battle down to the wire at the State Meet and we expect no less this season. Luci Anderson, Robbinsdale-Armstrong, along with Libby Tuttle, Stillwater, and freshman Molly Moening, St. Paul Highland Park, are all in that mixed as well.
As teams go, the Stillwater Ponies are skiing's version the New England Patriots -- year in and year out, they consistently crank out State Meet contending squads. Their 2018-19 line up looks as strong as ever, and both their girls and boys teams will start the season with the number one ranking. For the boys, Stillwater's conference nemesis Forest Lake will be their biggest challenger, but we've say watch out for that St. Cloud Cathedral-Sartell squad led by the Nemeth brothers. Robbinsdale-Armstrong and Minneapolis Southwest girls will be a thorn in Stillwater's side, and they'll all have to keep one eye looking back as the St. Paul Highland Park girls will be not be content with anything less than a podium at the State Meet.
We'll take a crack on our next rankings right after the opening Junior National Qualifier race, Dec 15-16, in Houghton, MI. In the meantime, please encourage your coaches to submit those early season race results!
Notes: One of the more interesting statistics from the 2018 State Meet: There were 62 senior boys (38%) while there were only 47 senior gals (29%).
Garrett Beckrich, Grand Rapids, 12
Peter Moore, SPA, 12
Alex Nemeth, St. Cloud Cathedral-Sartell, 12
Cooper Lennox, Mora, 11
James Schneider, Wayzata, 11
Matthew Bourne, MPA, 12
Henry Hall, Mpls Southwest, 12
Aidan Ripp, CEC, 12
Jasper Johnston, Ely, 10
Ian Ruh, Stillwater, 12
Cusp: Ethan Erickson, Forest Lake, 11; PJ Rubin, Edina, 12; Keelan Gorman, Benilde-St.Margaret’s, 12; Zach Nemeth, St. Cloud Cathedral-Sartell, 11; Caden Albrecht, Stillwater, 10; William Omodt, Robbinsdale-Armstrong, 12; James Schwinghamer, Ely, 11; Andrew Haines, Forest Lake, 12; Tryg Solberg, White Bear Lake, 12; CJ Young, Maple Grove, 11.
Mara McCollor, Wayzata, 12
Regan Duffy, Forest Lake, 12
Sarah Olson, Blaine, 12
Lucinda Anderson, Robbinsdale-Armstrong, 12
Libby Tuttle, Stillwater, 11
Molly Moening, St. Paul Highland Park, 9
Kasia Bednarski, Mpls Southwest, 12
Gretchen Haggenmiller, Duluth East, 11
Anni Skillicorn, Winona-Winona Cotter, 10
Celeste Alden, St. Paul Highland Park, 10
Cusp: Olivia Schwintek, White Bear Lake, 12; Amelea Hauer, Forest Lake, 10; Lauren McCollor, Wayzata, 10' Emma Albrecht, Stillwater, 12; Mae Barnes, Robbinsdale-Armstrong, 12; Clara Kramer, Duluth East, 11; Sudie Hall, Mpls Southwest, 10; Elsa Viren, Grand Rapids, 10; Leah Rudd, Robbinsdale-Armstrong, 12; Charlotte Brown, Benilde-St.Margaret’s, 11; Megan Bettendorf, Proctor, 11.
St. Cloud Cathedral-Sartell
Mounds Park Academy
St. Paul Highland Park
Cusp: Roseville; Duluth East; Eden Prairie; Little Falls; Prior Lake; Wayzata; White Bear Lake.
St. Paul Highland Park
Cusp: Ely; Mpls Washburn; Roseville; Eden Prairie; Eastview; Hopkins.
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