Minnesota Sections PreviewJanuary 31, 2014
Even with the extended winter we've been experiencing, it's hard to believe the Minnesota high school sectional meets are already upon us! All of the section meets are scheduled for next week, providing the full field for the Minnesota State Meet on Feb 13th!
Here's our spectating guide for sections ...
- Section 1 Tue Feb 4 at Valleywood Golf Course (Apple Valley)
One of the new sensations for the season, Eastview's Margie Freed is the front-runner for the girls title. The boys race may be a little tighter, with an expected battle between Eagan's Josh Podpeskar and Winona's Noah Poling. Eagan boys should be in the drivers seat for the team title, with Eastview the favorites for the girls crown.
- Section 2 Thu Feb 6 at Theodore Wirth (Minneapolis)
Scott Harrison, Mound-Westonka, may receive some pressure from a peaking Colin Touhey, Minnetonka, in the boys competition, with Elk River's Joey Martin hoping to upset that order. The top ranked Wayzata girls appear to be on form - besides taking the team title they could sweep the podium with Alayna Sonnesyn leading the way. The Wayzata boys look to be the favorites for the team title, but may be challenged by Elk River.
- Section 3 Tue Feb 4 at Theodore Wirth (Minneapolis)
Assuming a return from Finland less than 24 hours prior, number one ranked Vivian Hett should still be able to fend off all challengers to take the girls title. Bloomington Kennedy's Tamer Mische-Richter is the clear favorite for the boys. The scrappy Highland Park crew should make it an interesting race with Burnsville for the girls title. The boys team title is pretty wide-open with St. Paul Central, Minneapolis South and Minnehaha Academy all on equal footing - should be one exciting finish!
- Section 4 Thu Feb 6 at Battle Creek (St. Paul)
One of the most anticipated match-ups of sections, Nick Gardner, MPA, and Leo Hipp, Forest Lake, will decide the boys title on the hills of Battle Creek. However, watch for a resurging Sam Boardman, East Ridge, to try and usurp the tandem. Rocci Wohlk, Forest Lake, should collect the girls victory. The top ranked Forest Lake boys may get a surprising challenge from a tough Stillwater squad. The stacked Stillwater girls team are expected to move on to State.
- Section 5 Wed Feb 5 at Theodore Wirth (Minneapolis)
Mounds View's Steve Hokanson was narrowly defeated for the section title last season, and should pull away from the field to collect it this year. Mattie Watts, Irondale, is once again the favorite for the girls, but like Hett is returning from Finland, and could be denied again, this time by her friend and summer training partner, Roseville's Caroline Brisbois. Keep an eye out for Sarah Bedzdicek, Osseo - if she regains some of her early season speed she could make a run at the top. The team titles will be tightly contested in this section, with Andover boys going up against Mounds View and Osseo. Irondale girls will face an improving Roseville squad in their bid for the state meet trip, with perhaps the Andover girls trying to enter the fray.
- Section 6 Mon Feb 3 at Theodore Wirth (Minneapolis)
Leading off sections week with an unusual Monday event, Section 1 features number one ranked Zak Ketterson, Bloomington Jefferson, who should sail comfortably across the line for the boys title. Expect a tight battle for second with St. Louis Park's Sean Cork, Minneapolis Southwest's Sam Sinkler and Armstrong's Jon Delaney. The boys team title will be a closely fought affair with Minneapolis Southwest and St. Louis Park perhaps the favorites, but both Armstrong and Edina will vying for their name on the championship plaque as well. Hannah Rudd, Armstrong, has emerged as one of the next great stars and should easily top the girls field. Rudd's teammates at Armstrong have been steadily improving and should earn their team trip to state.
- Section 7 Thu Feb 6 at Giants Ridge (Biwabik)
Closing out sections week, and fittingly on the state meet course, the battle of northern powers will have perennial superpower Duluth East as the favorite again for the boys and girls team titles. However, little known Mesabi East has been getting better all season and could pull off a modern "David vs Goliath" - both boys and girls teams! Ashley Herman, Duluth East, Erin Bianco, Ely, and Anna Johnson, Mesabi East, should be racing to first for the girls title but don't be surprised if Erica Fox, C-E-C, makes a bid as well. The boys race could be a dice roll, as the leaders have been trading places much of the season. Measbi East's Sam Johnson (older brother to Anna), could be on top if he skis to his full ability. But Duluth East's Keaton Long and Henry French, along with Ely's Seth Pregge, and even Johnson's own teammate, Reed Melicher, hope be in contention for that top spot as well.
- Section 8 Tue Feb 4 at Maplelag (Callaway)
Favorite St. Cloud Tech's Cory Rouw may have his hands full with one of the new phenoms, Mora's Tom Woolhouse, along with shots from Brainerd's Noah Baker and Rouw's own teammate, Isaac Wieber, for the boys pursuit title. Maria Hauer, Little Falls, should dominate the girls field. St. Cloud Tech boys will need to hold off Little Falls and Brainerd to make the trip to state. Mora and Little Falls are expected to battle over the girls team trophy.
* Team tie-breakers use the total time of the top four skiers. If a tie remains, they go to the fifth, etc. up to seventh.
* Given the rounds of brutally cold weather we've already had this winter, keep an eye on the forecast and monitor the Racing Outlook for possible updates and changes.
Watch for same day results and hopefully coverage for nearly all the sectionals!