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Berit Ramstad Skoyles: State is about having fun, not placing

Skiing through six to eight inches of snow is not fun.

Having said that, I would much rather ski through all that snow that ski through rain.

The conditions at the state meet on Thursday were nothing compared to two years ago. Fifty degrees and raining were not the ideal conditions for a championship ski meet. Then again, skiing through eight inches of powder in a blizzard wasn’t all that great either.

After Zach and I qualified for the State Nordic ski meet, we decided that we would take fellow teammates Anthony and Austin with us. We figured that since Austin missed qualifying by one place and Anthony is a senior, it would be good for them to come and see what the state meet was like.

The Charlie Banks Relays take place on the Wednesday before the state meet. There are four skiers per team in the event. Two people classic ski and the other two skate ski. Austin and Anthony formed a team with two guys from Proctor and placed ninth. It was the first time that Detroit Lakes has had a team in the relay for quite some time. It was fun to see Anthony and Austin have one last race of the season.

Wednesday night was the night of the state banquet. All of the state participants gathered at the Mesabi East High School in Aurora where we had an awards ceremony and ate spaghetti.

At the awards ceremony, our coach Dan Josephson was named the Minnesota State Nordic skiing head coach of the year. We were expecting it, but it was great that it actually happened.

We awoke Thursday morning to snow, and then to even more snow. Not just a little bit of snow — it was basically a blizzard outside. The trails were coated with snow and it was evident that the snow would not be stopping anytime soon.

The skate ski race was first. When it came time for the skate race, the snow had still not let up. We all ended up racing through mush. Eight inches of powder covered the hills, making it hard to glide up the hill.

The boys race was before the girls race, so the trails were even worse by the time I lined up to meet them.

After the skate race, I was in 90th place. Ninetieth place was most definitely not where I wanted to be. I knew that I would have to push it in the classic race if I wanted to finish in a good position.

At the beginning of my classic race, there was a huge cluster of girls in front of me. Within the first kilometer, I passed the pack and had my sights set on the next one.

I quickly passed the next six or seven girls while climbing a hill. Since there was no track rule, the girls were all in the tracks. I knew if I wanted to pass them I would have to go around them.

Going around them was not easy, as I had to ski through two feet of snow and a bush to bypass them. I eventually made my way around them and from then on I was golden.

The last kilometer of the course is downhill so I glided my way to the finish line. In the end I placed 68th, one place better than my previous best finish.

This was my fourth time at the state tournament, and I knew what I was getting in to.

I knew the courses and I knew that I have never finished as well as I’ve wanted to in any of the races. My first state meet I was nervous, just happy that I qualified but I can’t remember if it was fun. I’m still happy that I qualified, happy to be there, but now I realize that the most important thing is that it should be fun.

Maybe I’ll qualify again next year and Mother Nature will hold off on the rain and snow to give us a chance to have the perfect conditions. Maybe next year I will place even better, but either way I am not confused about why I am there — I am there to have fun!

Berit Ramstad Skoyles is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School.