Nordic skiers open with relay event at ApolloThe Cardinal boys finished third, while the girls ended in eighth in their first competition of the season on Tuesday.
The Alexandria boys’ Nordic ski team finished third in its first meet of the season despite only being on snow once heading into the meet at Riverside Park in St. Cloud on Tuesday.
The Cardinal boys’ team of Jimmy Lovrien, Mitch Evink, Mike Erickson and Austin McCoy skied well in spite of that fact. It is a team that head coach Steve Devereaux expects good things out of this season, and their performance on Tuesday reaffirmed that confidence.
“I was really happy with the varsity boys’ third-place finish,” Devereaux said. “They’ve got a lot of talent, and they are still relatively young, with Austin McCoy as the sole senior on the varsity team. Freshman Jimmy Lovrien kicked off the relay with classic skiing and Mitch Evink pulled us up a few places with his classic skiing.
“Mike Erickson got us into second place during his skate leg by narrowly avoiding a crashed skier in front of him, and Austin anchored the team, skating to a third place finish. They’ve got some room to improve, and this early success will further motivate them.”
The girls’ team had a tougher go of things with a very young varsity team. Hadley Klepper, Sarah Peper, Heidi Bush and Melissa Gromatka skied to an eighth-place finish. Peper and Gromatka both consistently skied varsity last season, but Klepper participated in just one varsity meet and Bush was making her varsity debut.
“Sarah and Hadley are both strong girls,” Devereaux said. “But the snow was soft and slow and really wore them out during the two classic legs of the relay. Heidi and Melissa both skated well, but the gap was pretty large, and we ended up in eighth place, last in the field.”
It is still early in the season as both the boys and girls expect to improve with more practice time. Getting on snow instead of doing dry-land training will only help the team going forward.
“In practice this week, everyone will be able to pick out some things they did well during this meet and some things to improve on for the next meet,” Devereaux said. “That’s always what the first meet of the season is like. Only being able to get on snow once before a meet would be like a basketball team only shooting at a hoop once before their first game. It’s certainly not going to be perfect and sometimes it won’t even be pretty, but it’s the nature of the sport.”