Park Center boys Nordic skiing is expected to get three skiers back that competed in the top six of the varsity lineup and five skiers that competed in the Northwest Suburban Conference meet.
Seniors Cole Beattie and Nate Courchane and sophomore Drew Paape all competed at conference and in the 5A section meet in 2020, and sophomores Cole Peterson and Ashton Foulke competed at conference.
Beattie is the top skier back from a season ago. He finished 41st at sections in 28 minutes, 26.7 seconds. He was also 53rd in the very challenging Northwest Suburban meet.
Paape and Courchane were 97th and 98th at conference, but Courchane was second for the Pirates at sections with a 74th-place finish in 32:05.6. Paape was 82nd in 32:51.1.
Peterson and Foulke were 112th and 116th at conference, respectively.
Josh Reed was the lone all-conference skier for Park Center last season, and he is one of three varsity skiers who graduated.
Beattie, Courchane and Paape have the most experience on the squad coming into 2021. This season has been on pause since November due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but practices resumed on Jan. 4.
The first meet of the season is scheduled to be at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22 at Elm Creek Park Reserve. A conference and section meet is expected, but the Minnesota State High School League hasn’t finalized the winter sports postseason yet. Fall teams were not allowed to have state meets.
Conference, section previews
Maple Grove, which was a conference runner-up and a 5A section champion in 2020, also has some turnover. The Crimson are expected to get back juniors Myles Brown and Parker Koland, who took ninth and 16th at conference, and sophomore Matthew Broderson, who was 40th at conference.
Brown was fourth in the section meet, and Koland was 10th. Broderson finished 25th.
Armstrong and Coon Rapids were third and fourth in the conference meet in 2020.
Armstrong gets back individual conference champion senior Roger Anderson, senior Leif Sicora (35th), junior Thomas Whitehouse (48th) and sophomores Alex Omodt (23rd) and Noah Breker (33rd).
Coon Rapids is expected to get back junior Josh Thoen (fifth), senior Ricky Petroff (31st and sophomore Peyton Martinek (52nd).
The Cardinals were also third at sections with Thoen (12th) and Martinek (48th) joining junior Ryan Powley (52nd) and sophomore Aaron Casey (63rd) as expected returners from that lineup.