Laker trio head back to state
CAMP RIPLEY - Although temperatures bottomed out at -25 below wind chill at Camp Ripley Wednesday during the Section 8-1A Nordic skiing meet, there was no cooling down Detroit Lakes junior Jake Richards.
The Laker cross-country skier put the wraps on his second-consecutive Section 8-1A championship, after handily beating the section field.
But there also were not any unpleasant surprises for the Lakers, who also sent the brother-sister duo of senior Dylan and freshman Berit Ramstad-Skoyles to state for the second year in a row, as expected.
Richards dominated both the Classic and Skate races to take top honors in the Pursuit, while each of the Ramstad-Skoyles siblings took fourth place.
"I was feeling really good during my Classic race, my kick was good and I had good glide," Richards said. "I attacked the hills like I usually do and just felt strong all day."
It showed as Richards consistently put distance between himself and the second-place skier in both the Classic and Skate races.
For Dylan Ramstad-Skoyles, he was more than confident he was going to earn a berth in the Class 1A state meet, but he was chasing a few other carrots to keep his head in the races.
"One good thing was no one passed me in neither race," Dylan said. "I was looking to place in the top five or even second, which obviously didn't happen. It wasn't really whether if I was going to finish in the top eight (for a state berth), it was just where I was going to finish."
Dylan qualified for his third state Nordic skiing meet.
Berit Ramstad-Skoyles burst out of the Classic race to comfortably secure her second state bid, as she just had to ski a normal race in the Skate to qualify.
"My Classic race was probably the best one of my life," Berit said. "I raced in the 20-minute mark in my Classic, so that was good. I made up time on everyone, except for Summer (Ellefson, who won the Pursuit) because, well, she's awesome."
Berit took a similar route as her brother did last year during the section meet, and that wasn't necessarily a good thing.
Last year, Dylan was knocked down by a Little Falls' skier, which lost him a spot, but not a state berth.
This year, Berit took a tumble on a hill in the Classic race, but didn't lose a spot and only about five seconds on her time.
"It wasn't a big deal," she added.
A major disaster would have had to happen for Richards to not qualify for his third state meet, if not first place in the section.
But now he has a better showing in this year's state meet in his sites now.
"The section was a good conditioning meet," Richards added. "I took 21st in state last year, but this time I believe I can get in the top 10. If I race my race, I can beat quite a few of skiers at state."
Richards has been dominant all year, including taking second in the Biwabik Invite this season in the Classic race, which attracts most of the top skiers in the state.
Dylan Ramstad-Skoyles also has a number in mind when he takes part in his third -- and final state meet.
His motivation extends back to a college visit he made to University of Wisconsin -- Green Bay, when the Nordic skiing coach said he couldn't ski in college because he wasn't strong enough.
"I want the top 15," he stated. "I just want to prove to myself and to the Green Bay organization that I can ski fast enough to make it. Yes, it will be a real challenge, but I took 50th last year from finishing in the 100-plus the year before.
"I feel I can do it."
His sister, Berit, is also looking to make strides at state. After finishing 103rd in 2010, she would like a top 80 place this time around.
"Top 50 would definitely be out there, but I'll go for that, too," Berit said.
The state meet, which is next Thursday at Giant's Ridge, will also be the last time Dylan and Berit Ramstad-Skoyles will ski in the same meet competitively as high schoolers.
"Getting the chance to ski with my brother was the best decision I ever made," Berit included. "It just made my experience better in skiing."
The Laker girls' team will also look better come next season, after finishing seventh Wednesday.
Little Falls took top honors with 388 points, while Ellefson won the individual title again.
Miranda Olson showed vast improvement this season and finished 26th, while Shannon Goetz was 35th.
Other DL finishers included Jill Feuillerat in 41st, Veronica Haverkamp in 46th, Morgan Nodsle at 52nd and Celeste Koppe at 54th.
The boys' full results will be included as soon as the section reports them.
Section 8-1A Nordic skiing meet at Camp Ripley, Wednesday, Feb. 9.
Girls team results -- Little Falls 388, Brainerd 348, Mora 328, Bemidji 324, Trek North 313, Alexandria 312, Detroit Lakes 298, Otter Tail 209, Park Rapids Area 100, Deer River 77.
DL results Pursuit results (*state qualifier) -- *4. Berit Ramstad-Skoyles 38:48; 26. Miranda Olson 44:59; 35. Shannon Goetz 46:56; 41. Jill Feuillerat 48:12; 46. Veronica Haverkamp 48:54; 52. Morgan Nodsle 53:16; 54. Celeste Koppe 54:38.
Boys results not reported by Section.