Park Center girls Nordic skiing remains young this season with two freshmen and a sophomore expected back in 2021.
Freshmen Aly Blomberg and Devon Torgerson and sophomore Isabelle Antoine will be looking to improve in a shortened season that had been delayed until Jan. 4, when practices resumed after an executive order by Gov. Tim Walz that put a pause on the winter prep sports season since November.
The first meet of the season is scheduled to be at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22, at Elm Creek Reserve Park.
Brooke Bierbaum, Tegan MacMurdo and Kate Johnson have all graduated after competing for varsity last season so there are no upperclassmen back that skied last season.
Blomberg was 75th in the 5A section meet in 38 minutes, 27.3. She was 95th in the conference meet. Torgerson was 78th at sections in 42:18.9 and was 104th at conference.
Antoine was 80th at sections in 47:27.1 and was 108th at conference.
The season will be shorter this season with only a few meets, including a conference and section meet. The Minnesota State High School League still hasn’t finalized postseason plans, however.
Fall teams did not have state meets.
Conference, section previews
Maple Grove won the conference, and Elk River and Armstrong were second and third.
Maple Grove graduates its top three skiers but are expected to return junior Lindsey Young and senior Kalli Smith. Young was 13th, and Smith finished 19th.
The Crimson also won the section. Smith and Young are joined by sophomore Savannah Krull as expected returners from that lineup. Smith was 16th at sections, and Young finished 17th. Krull took 27th.
Elk River/Zimmerman was both conference and section runner-up and brings back much of its starting lineup.
Seniors Katelyn Gramstad, Audrey Neuerburg-Chapman, Ilus Gallay and Mallory Williams and sophomore Hailee Zimpel were some of the top skiers at the conference meet.
Gramstad finished fourth, and Zimpel was 10th. Neuerburg-Chapman took 12th, and Gallay was 25th. Williams took 38th.
Gramstad was ninth at sections. Zimpel was 12th, and Neuerburg-Chapman finished 13th. G
Allay took 28th, and Williams was 38th.
Armstrong returns two state qualifiers in senior Bri Dorweiler and junior Sophia Pung. Pung was second at the conference meet,and Dorweiler finished 15th. Senior Lou Himes (28th), junior Noelle Brandes (26th) and sophomore Sydney Brost (33rd) are also expected back.
Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony was fourth in the conference meet and third at sections.
Senior Autumn VanDenTop (11th), sophomore Samantha Solboe (14th), senior Claire VanDenTop (18th) and juniors Kirsten King (27th), Kaitlyn Finnegan (35th) and Signe Johnson (45th) were all in the team’s top six at conference.
Junior Brynn Bossen was in the top seven in the section lineup. Autumn VanDenTop was 10th at sections, and Solboe finished 15th. Claire VanDenTop was 18th at sections, and King was 20th.
Bossen finished 36th, and Finnegan was 41st. Johnson took 47th.