Two Laker boys' Nordic skiers make state meet
DETROIT LAKES - The Detroit Lakes Nordic skiing program hit a monumental moment Wednesday during the Section 8 meet at Camp Ripley.
For the first time in Laker skiing history, DL is sending two boy Nordic skiers to the state meet, after freshman Jake Richards and sophomore Dylan Ramstad Skoyles each secured berths in the state race.
The pair of Lakers finished in the top 12 of the pursuit race, which combines the classic and freestyle races.
"It's exciting having two boys go to state in the same year," said DL head coach Dan Josephson. "It's nice to see the program come around."
Both Laker skiers had more than solid regular seasons leading up to the section meet, with both consistently finishing in the top of each event.
In the pursuit format, each skier starts in 15-second intervals in the classic race, and then is released from the start for the freestyle event based on their finish in the classic.
For Richards, the morning classic race set the tone after he raced for a 17:24, which placed him fourth overall and 49 seconds behind leader Conrad Roberts of Battle Lake.
The fourth-place classic finish put him ahead of the eight ball, giving him a nice leeway to secure a spot in state.
That resulted in a solid skate time of 15:35 in the freestyle, in which he finished fifth, but sealed a fourth-place slot in the pursuit with a combined time of 32:59 to gain his first-ever state berth.
"Based on his time midway through the regular season, Jake had the eighth-best time in the section," Josephson said. "He worked hard throughout the season and just kept getting better."
Ramstad Skoyles followed Richards' work ethic through the offseason, and the two pushed each other throughout the regular season, Josephson said.
"They really pushed each other in races, trying to finish ahead of each other," the DL coach said. "They both saw different section skiers through the season and knew where they stood and just kept plugging away."
Ramstad Skoyles finished seventh in the classic with an 18:18 -- which proved to be the best performance of his young career -- while dropping two spots in the freestyle portion to ninth with a 15:53.
But that was more than enough for the Laker sophomore, who took ninth in pursuit with a 34:11.
Each of the skiers has different strengths, but both possess big hearts and a tremendous work ethic.
"Jake is an excellent technician and Dylan is such a hard worker that it pulls him through," Josephson said.
The state meet, which is Friday, Feb. 13 at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, is the first appearance at state for both.
But they hope it isn't their last.
"Their goal was to make state, and I told them to still see it through," Josephson said. "But it will be a learning experience for both, because this is their first time in state, but not their last."
The Laker boys finished fifth overall out of 11 teams, with a combined score of 303 points.
Grand Rapids took first with a mark of 379, while Roberts won the top spot in the individual portion with a 31:28.
Junior Jeremy Quitschreiber finished 42nd for DL. Other Laker finishers included eighth grader Christian Tigges (46), freshman Stephen Sinclair (49), eighth grader Montana Johnson (51) and freshman Devin Lange (56).
The DL girls' team also placed in the middle of the pack in seventh out of 12 teams, with 261 points.
Little Falls took the top honor with 384.
The top Laker girls' skier was seventh grader Berit Ramstad Skoyles in 22nd, with a classic time of 23:01 and a freestyle mark of 19:45.
Other DL finishers included junior Andrea Weiss (34), sophomore Shannon Goetz (43), sophomore Alison Sauer (44), freshman Morgan Nosle (49), sophomore Lindsey Bjorgan (51) and senior Mollie Kuether (52).
Section 8-1A meet at Camp Ripley, Wednesday, Feb. 4.
Boys' team results (*state qualifier): *Grand Rapids 379, Little Falls 359, Bemidji 356, Brainerd 304, Detroit Lakes 303, Alexandria 297, Otter Tail 241, Mora 227, Long Prairie/Grey Eagle 156, Battle Lake 100, Deer River 65.
State qualifiers not on qualifying team (Classic-freestyle-pursuit): 1st in pursuit. Conrad Roberts (Battle Lake) 16:47-14:41-31:28; 2. Zac Oelrich (Bem) 17:19-14:51-32:10; 4. Jake Richards (DL) 17:24-15:35-32:59; 6. Phil Prosapio (LF) 17:50-15:57-33:47; 8. Luke LeBlanc (LF) 18:31-15:38-34:09; 9. Dylan Ramstad Skoyles (DL) 18:18-15:53-34:11; 11. Pat Mangan (Brnd) 18:48-15:39-34:27; 12. Matt Lee (Bem) 18:18-16:29-34:47.
DL boys' results (*state qualifiers; classic-freestyle): 4. Jake Richards 17:24-15:35; 9. Dylan Ramstad Skoyles 18:18-15:53; 42. Jeremy Quittschreiber 22:45-19:26; 46. Christian Tigges 22:57-20:40; 49. Stephen Sinclair 23:39-22:02; 51. Montana Johnson 24:47-21:33; 56. Devin Lange 25:40-23:24.
Girls' team results (*state qualifier): *Little Falls 384, Grand Rapids 364, Bemidji 332, Brainerd 324, Mora 270, Alexandria 261, Detroit Lakes 261, Otter Tail 158, Northwest Home School 98, Deer River 94, Battle Lake 76, Long Prairie 48.
State qualifiers not on qualifying team (classic-freestyle-pursuit): 1. Addie Byrne (GR) 19:20-17:04-36:24; 3. Summer Ellefson (NWH) 19:46-17:16-37:02; 5. Hannah McAllister (Brnd) 20:17-17:28-37:45; 7. Mindy Drotts (Deer River) 19:52-18:36-38:28; 9. Afton Snyder (GR) 20:24-18:20-38:44; 11. Sarah Lyngby (OT) 21:30-17:58-39:28; 12. Molly Manske (Bem) 20:45-18:55-39:40; 13. Amanda Finstad (Brnd) 21:44-18:31-40:05.
DL girls' results: 22. Berit Ramstad Skoyles 23:01-19:45; 34. Andrea Weiss 25:31-23:11; 43. Shannon Goetz 26:37-25:20; 44. Alison Sauer 28:18-24:01; 49. Morgan Nosle 28:27-25:26; 51. Lindsey Bjorgan 28:35-26:34; 52. Mollie Kuether 29:50-27:07.