Minnesota High School Sections Preview

February 3, 2024

In one of the worst winters in many decades, the Minnesota High School League Nordic skiing competition marches on!   But the continued warm weather is playing a role in the section meets this season.   All of the sections will be held on machine made snow, perhaps a first.  While Maplelag was holding on to a thin base, section 8 has moved to Mt. Itasca.  With the Loppet Foundation trying to hold on to as much snow as possible for the World Cup, metro area schools have shifted around, including moving section 2 to Elm Creek.  Even Giants Ridge has been impacted, with the traditional State Meet courses being replaced with a 2.5K loop using primarily machine made snow.

Sam Meyers, Section 3, February 2, 2016

While none of this is ideal, remember we are all in the same boat.  For racers and coaches, the courses and conditions may be below standards.  For citizen racers, yes, for a few days nearly all the snowmaking venues will be occupied with high school competitions.   Hopefully a year like this is still the exception, as we've been spoiled with very good winters for almost the last decade.   Remember that everyone is trying to do their best; accept those things you can not change, and make the best out of this rough situation!

Note to spectators:   Please do everything possible to avoid spreading dirt onto any of the trails.  Avoid crossing trails as much as possible and certainly don't walk on the courses.

Note to other skiers:  The Three Rivers courses are closed during section meets, but general public can ski outside of the closure times (before and after).   Battle Creek West is closed all day Tuesday and Wednesday (no public hours).


The section format and advancing remains unchanged:

  • 5K classic and 5K freestyle races (the latter race a pursuit format start) along with two-person team sprints
  • Each team can race five skiers in the 5K classic and freestyle pursuit races, and just two in the two-person team sprints
  • The team sprint consists of two skiers, each skier doing two laps of a 1.2-1.5K course, alternating each lap, in relay format
  • Skiers can not participate in both the pursuit races and team sprints
  • While all five skiers in the pursuit races will generate points, only the top three from each team will count toward their pursuit team score.  Points start at 80 points for first team and decrease by one point for each finisher
  • Team sprint scores start at 159 points and decrease by three points for each finishing two person pairing
  • Team score is calculated adding together the pursuit team score and the team sprint score.   Maximum team score would be 396 points (237 pursuit + 159 team sprint)
  • The top two teams advance (5 pursuit skiers + 2 team sprint skiers)
  • The top four pursuit individuals not from the advancing teams qualify
  • The top two-person sprint team that is not from the advancing teams also qualifies
  • A total of 40 skiers (20 boys and 20 girls)

The team tie breakers have been changed.  The new team tie breaker rules are:

  1. Combine the times of the fastest three finishers in the pursuit event. The team with the fastest combined time shall prevail.
  2. If a tie still remains, go to the tied teams’ relay squad. The team with the best placing relay squad shall prevail.
  3. If a tie still remains, go to the tied teams’ fourth place finisher in the pursuit event. The team with the best fourth place skier shall prevail.

A reminder than all fluorocarbon waxes/additives are banned for high school competition, including sections and the State Meet.

Aiden Van Straten at the snowy Section 7 championships, Giants Ridge, February 9, 2022 (Credit: Kim Kosmatka)


Nearly all the meets will run classic first, followed by team sprints and then finishing with freestyle pursuit.   However, with the warm weather and dwindling snow, a number of meets will start earlier than normal, and some will make the team sprints a time final (instead of having a second round of the best teams facing off).  Check the section schedules for exact details!

Dates, Locations and Teams

  • Monday, Feb 5th
    • Section 6 - Hyland Lake
      • Benilde-St. Margaret's, Breck, Hopkins, Minneapolis North Community, Minneapolis Patrick Henry, Robbinsdale Armstrong, Robbinsdale Cooper, St. Louis Park, Wayzata, Coop: Heritage Christian Academy/Providence Academy/West Lutheran/RiverTree, Coop: Orono/Delano.

  • Tuesday, Feb 6th
    • Section 1 - Hyland Lake
      • Eagan, Hastings, Northfield, Park, Simley, St. Thomas Academy, Coop: Jordan/Belle Plaine, Coop: Lakeville North/Lakeville South, Coop: Prior Lake/New Prague, Coop: Rosemount/Apple Valley/Eastview, Coop: Winona/Cotter.
    • Section 2 - Elm Creek
      • Eden Prairie, Edina, Holy Family Catholic, Minneapolis Southwest, Minneapolis Washburn, Minnetonka, Mound Westonka, Coop: Bloomington Jefferson/Bloomington Kennedy, Coop: Burnsville/Shakopee, Coop: Chaska/Chanhassen, Coop: Richfield/Academy of Holy Angels.
    • Section 3 - Battle Creek
      • Blake, DeLaSalle, East Ridge, Math & Science Academy, Minnehaha Academy, St. Paul Academy and Summit, St. Paul Highland Park, Two Rivers, Woodbury, Coop: Great River/Liberty Classical Academy/Avalon/Twin Cities Academy, Coop: Minneapolis South/Minneapolis Roosevelt, Coop: St. Paul Central/Open World Learning.
    • Section 8 - Mt. Itasca
      • Alexandria Area, Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead, St. John's Prep, TrekNorth, Wadena-Deer Creek, Willmar, Red Lake, Coop: Brainerd/Pequot Lakes, Coop: Little Falls/Pillager, Coop: Sartell/St. Cloud Cathedral.

  • Wednesday, Feb 7th
    • Section 4 - Battle Creek
      • Forest Lake, Irondale, Mahtomedi, Minneapolis Edison, Mounds Park Academy, Mounds View, North, Roseville Area, St. Paul Como Park, Stillwater Area, Tartan, White Bear Lake Area, Coop: Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village/Centennial.
    • Section 5 - Hyland Lake
      •  Anoka, Blaine, Champlin Park, Coon Rapids, Maple Grove, Osseo, Parnassus Preparatory/Spectrum, Rogers, Sauk Rapids-Rice, Coop: Andover/Legacy Christian Academy, Coop: Elk River/Zimmerman, Coop: Park Center/Totino-Grace, Coop: St. Cloud Apollo/St. Cloud Tech/Rocori. Venue: Hyland Lake.
    • Section 7 - Giants Ridge
      • Duluth Denfeld, Duluth East, Cook County, Two Harbors, Ely, Grand Rapids, Mora, Coop: Cloquet/Esko/Carlton, Coop: Marshall/Lakeview Christian Academy, Coop: Mesabi East/Mountain Iron-Buhl/Rock Ridge, Coop: Proctor/Hermantown.

Check the Racing Outlook for any late updates.


We plan to be out covering all of the metro area section meets, but could use some help covering the outstate sections -- section 7 and 8.   If you can contribute photos from those section competitions, please reach out.