There should be plenty of snow for the State Boys Nordic Skiing Meet Thursday, Feb. 14, at Giant’s Ridge in Biwabik.
Making it to state is a goal for every varsity skier in Minnesota. Some qualify as members of first- or second-place teams from one of the eight sections. Others, such as senior Philip Dirnberger and junior Caleb Dunnewind of Hopkins, have to make it on their own as individual qualifiers.
State boys competition begins with a 5K freestyle at 10 a.m. The classical pursuit race will get underway at 2 p.m.
Dirnberger and Dunnewind couldn’t stop smiling after they earned their way to state with strong performances in the Section 6 Meet Feb. 4 at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis.
“The snow was coarse today, and a little bit bumpy,” Dirnberger said after the classical run in the afternoon.
The temperature was barely above zero, 6 degrees in the morning 11 in the afternoon.
“It was pretty cold,” said Dunnewind, who will make his first state appearance this Thursday. Dirnberger is making his second state trip.
Asked about his preparation for the section meet, Dunnewind said, “We always have a team pasta party the night before. I got to bed by 9 o’clock, but didn’t fall asleep until about 10.”
Both Dirnberger and Dunnewind were slowed by illnesses this season, but became healthy in time for the section meet.
“My goal for the state meet is ambitious,” Dirnberger said. “I want to make All-State.”
To to that, he will have to finish among the top 25.
Dunnewind isn’t sure what to expect in Biwabik, since this is his first time at state, but he does have a goal in mind.
“It would be amazing if I could finish in the top 50,” he said.
As expected, the Section 6 Meet was dominated by Wayzata and Armstrong last week. It was really close at the finish line with Wayzata edging Armstrong 376-374. The race for third place was also very close with Mound Westonka edging Hopkins 352-345.
Dirnberger placed eighth with a combined freestyle-classical time of 23:22.9. Dunnewind placed 10th with a time of 24:05.5.
Overall, it was a good day for Hopkins, which had six finishers among the top 30.
Junior Tim Sandford took 19th place in 25:40.7, while senior James Miller finished his career on a high note with 22nd place in 26:37.8. Senior Seth Schricker skied the course in 27:10.9 for 26th place and junior Colby Branch skied 27:23.7 for 28th place.
Sophomore Trent Hunwardsen finished in 28:34.7 for 34th place among the 71 boys who finished the race.
Wayzata 376, Armstrong, 374, Mound Westonka 352, Hopkins 345, Benilde-St. Margaret’s 302, St. Louis Park 292, Orono 253, Blake School 245, Breck School 205, Cooper 167, Heritage Christian/Providence Academy 118, Minneapolis Patrick Henry 94.
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