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Nordic Skiing: Foltz and Ramstad-Skoyles earn state berths

Zach Foltz hits a downhill portion of the Freestyle race at Maplelag. Foltz qualified for his first state Nordic ski meet. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham1 / 2
Berit Ramstad-Skoyles hits the Freestyle morning race during the Section 8-1A meet. She earned her fourth state berth Tuesday afternoon at Maplelag. DL NEWSPAPERS/Brian Basham2 / 2

There will be a pair of Detroit Lakes skiers who will be representing the Lakers in the Class 1A state Nordic skiing meet, after good outings during the Section 8-1A competition at Maplelag Tuesday.

For junior Berit Ramstad-Skoyles, the state meet will be second hand with her fourth trip, while senior Zach Foltz will cap his prep skiing career as a state skier.

Both have higher expectations at state, as well.

“They shouldn’t have to settle for just making state, they shouldn’t just go for the ride,” said DL head coach Dan Josephson. “I think they have top 50-60 ability.”

Josephson was also named Section Coach of the Year and parent Karen Skoyles was named Volunteer of the Year.

After taking an entire year off due to staying in Chile as an exchange student, Ramstad-Skoyles faced plenty of challenges in returning to the Nordic ski state meet and getting her skiing legs back underneath her this past season.

She made a gradual improvement through the season, helped because it started on time with an early snowfall in November.

By the time the section meet rolled around, Ramstad-Skoyles was thrown another obstacle late in the season.

“I missed the conference meet last week because I was diagnosed with having bronchitis, so I had to skip it to get ready for the section meet,” Ramstad-Skoyles said. “But heading in, I had a good feeling I would qualify for state, so I wasn’t too worried.”

That was until the morning freestyle race, where Ramstad-Skoyles finished 12th with a time of 19:14. It was a position the Laker junior never believed she would find herself in heading into the second race of the pursuit, which is the classic event.

“I know my (freestyle) isn’t very strong, but I didn’t perform as well as I could have,” Ramstad-Skoyles said. “My classic is my strong suit, so I knew I was going to have to go out and kick and pass a bunch of girls.”

With just over 20 seconds separating No. 12 and No. 4, Ramstad-Skoyles made quick work of the other skiers, passing a knot of them by the first half kilometer to ensure she was going to qualify for her fourth state trip.

Her rise in the rankings was rapid, as she finished with a classic time of 16:51 and an overall fourth-place finish, an improvement of eight spots.

Little Falls senior Maria Hauer won with a pursuit time of 32:36.

“My first meet of the season, I didn’t do so well, and here I was expecting to be right where I left off before I left for Chile,” Ramstad-Skoyles said. “It was an eye opener for me, so basically I did nothing but skiing and put in 20K on Saturdays and Sundays.

“It helped get my ski legs back.”

Her best finish at the state meet in her first three trips has been 69th, so next Thursday at Giant’s Ridge, she will be looking to improve on that.

“I am looking at the top 40 or 50, if I can do that, I would be happy,” Ramstad-Skoyles said.

Foltz entered the section meet by skiing consistently through the entire regular season. He was a regular front of the pack finisher and that’s exactly what he did Tuesday at Maplelag.

His morning freestyle race placed him in a comfortable seventh place (with the top eight advancing, sans the winning team members).

“My main goal was to qualify for state, so I didn’t go out too aggressive in my (classic) race,” Foltz said.

After having a solid fall cross country season and failing to qualify for state in that sport, Foltz drew from that experience.

“I just learned to stay calm,” Foltz said. “It’s a fairly separate sport from skiing, but a lot of it is mental in both.”

Foltz maintained his seventh-place position and rang up a time of 31:49.

Sophomore teammate Austin Askelson was right on the bubble of making state, finishing 11th overall.

He would have advanced if Little Falls would have won the team title over St. Cloud Tech, but the Flyers lost by one point.

“Austin had a good classic race, but just missed going to state for the second straight year, after missing out last season by two or three spots,” Josephson said.

The state meet will be at Giant’s Ridge in Biwabik Thursday, Feb. 13. 

Section 8-1A meet at Maplelag, Tuesday, Feb. 4

Boys team results (*state qualifier): *St. Cloud Tech 366, Little Falls 365, Brainerd 356, Alexandria 348, Mora 318, Detroit Lakes 306, Bemidji 293, St. Cloud Cathedral 228, St. Cloud Apollo 212, St. John’s Prep 177, Trek North 133, Otter Tail Nordic 124.

DL boys results (Classic-Skate-Pursuit; *state qualifier): *7. Zach Foltz 17:23-14:26-31:49; 11. Austin Askelson 17:34-14:59-32:33; 25. Anthony Meyer 18:32-15:56-34:28; 55. Jack Richards 21:28-18:55-40:23; 60. Aaron Johnson 21:32-19:32-41:04; 64. Jihnyun Park 22:46-19:08-41:54; 67. Mason VanGerpen 24:55-18:36-43:31.

Girls team results: *Little Falls 371, Mora 362, Bemidji 348, St. Cloud Cathedral 347, Brainerd 309, St. Cloud Tech 302, Alexandria 280, Otter Tail Nordic 239, Detroit Lakes 219, St. Cloud Apollo 197, TrekNorth 55.

DL girls results: *4. Berit Ramstad-Skoyles 19:14-16:51-36:05; 52. Bridget Bergen 26:48-21:56-48:44; 64. Tianna Schwartz 30:16-31:25-1:01.41; 65. Lindsay Baker 32:03-30:03-1:02.06.

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Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.