Skinnyski.com High School Rankings - PreseasonNovember 12, 2013
An initial pass at the rankings, basically to seed the field ...
Last year's State Meet results played a fairly heavy role in the rankings, but summer training and some cross-country running, along with some implied expectations, helped to shake things up a little.
No-brainer, the defending champions Wayzata girls will be riding the top of the list most of the season. The core of the team also runs on the nationally ranked cross-country running team -- these girls definitely have the horsepower. With the CC team competing into December this year, they may get a slow start on the XC season but we expect they'll ramp up fast. The battle for number 2 will be tight, with perennial powerhouses Duluth East and Stillwater expected to reload for another shot at Wayzata.
The boys field is much more open with the graduation of the megastar Eden Prairie team. Forest Lake gets our nod as the early front runners. The Rangers sport three J2 Junior National skiers who have worked hard in the off-season, and coach Deno Johnson is known for developing talent from a small but dedicated squad. Minneapolis Southwest and St. Louis Park both return teams with very little, if any, graduation loss, and could assume the top ranking.
On paper, Mattie Watts appears to be the lead horse in the girls race. Watts has won nearly every rollerski race this summer, and set some amazing numbers in Afton. Harder, better, stronger, faster? We'll see when the snow flies. Vivian Hett is the top performing skier from last year's State Meet, and has been running strong this fall in cross-country. Watch for her to move up as her season progresses. Alayna Sonnesyn could easily be argued as number one -- she won the J1 Junior National skate title last March. Like Hett, she's invested in running this fall, and may take a few weeks to get her skiing legs. Hannah Rudd is one of the rising stars, and showed she is ready to take another step up, pressing Watts in a rollerski time trial a few weeks ago. Caroline Brisbois could be the big surprise this season, coming off a stellar CC performance at the State Meet, and showing glimpses of greatness last season.
While the girls race at the top is tight, the boys race has a strong front runner. Zak Ketterson posted a strong third place finish at the State Meet last year, and has been dominating most of the summer training tests. He could ride the number one ranking all season. Contenders include Scott Harrison and Steve Hokanson, both lanky seniors who with some solid strength training in the off-season may rocket on the snow. Sam Johnson suffers from a lack of respect, racing in NE Minnesota and out of the limelight, but watch for him when the JNQs fire up. Sean Cork and Nick Gardner will be working for some respect of their own, and shooting at the top three.
There are some young skiers that posted fantastic results last season, and with another year of development could make some huge leaps up the rankings this season. A few names to watch: Seth Prigge, Erin Moening, Erin Bianco, and Anna Johnson.
Visiting Forest Lake on Monday reminded us that sheer numbers don't always translate to great teams. Forest Lake typically fields teams with less than 25 skiers combined, yet has won four state meet titles in the past ten years.
Expect the true 'Week 1' rankings after the core racing season begins in December...
- Duluth East
On the cusp: Mesabi East, Irondale, Burnsville, Eastview, Eden Prairie
- Forest Lake
- Duluth East
- Minneapolis Southwest
- St. Louis Park
On the cusp: Mounds View, Osseo
- Mattie Watts, Irondale
- Vivian Hett, Burnsville
- Alayna Sonnesyn, Wayzata
- Hannah Rudd, Robbinsdale-Armstrong
- Caroline Brisbois, Roseville
- Siena Ellingson, Hopkins
- Allison Ternes, White Bear Lake
- Anna French, Wayzata
- Maria Hauer, Little Falls
- Rocci Wolhk, Forest Lake
On the cusp: Erin Moening, Highland Park; Anna Johnson, Mesabi East; Erin Bianco, Ely; Briana Paulsen, Eden Prairie; Eryn Stewart, Eden Prairie; Sophie Schuder, Duluth East; Sarah Bezdicek, Osseo
- Zak Ketterson, Bloomington Jefferson
- Scott Harrison, Mound-Westonka
- Steve Hokanson, Mounds View
- Sam Johnson, Mesabi East
- Sean Cork, St. Louis Park
- Nick Gardner, MPA
- Sam Sinkler, Minneapolis Southwest
- Cory Rouw, St. Cloud Tech
- Jon Delaney, Robbinsdale-Armstrong
- Seth Prigge, Ely
On the cusp: Thomas Norman, Robbinsdale-Armstrong; Jake Ajax, SLP/St.Anthony; Tamer Mische-Richter, Bloomington Kennedy; Quinn Duffy, Forest Lake; Tommy Babcock, Forest Lake; Andrew Egger, Benilde-St. Margaret; Leo Hipp, Forest Lake
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