Nordic ski: Alex girls put heartbreak of last two seasons behind them to qualify for the state meet

Kaisa Bosek and Emma Reineke led the way and Alexandria's depth was the difference as the Cardinals secured a spot at the state Nordic ski meet after two straight seasons of missing that opportunity by one point.

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The Alexandria girls Nordic ski team is all smiles after securing a spot at state with a second-place finish at the Section 8A meet on Tuesday. Team members are (back, left to right) coach Jeremy Rapp, Jaelyn Miller, Lauren Huber, coach Casey Call, (middle) Lauren Englund, Kamryn Coauette, Emma Reineke, Kaisa Bosek, Amanda Bergerson, (front) Teresa Bitzan and Dulce Bakker. (Contributed photo)

Temperatures in the mid-40s are a welcomed sight for almost everyone but Nordic skiers in Minnesota on March 2, but nothing could ruin the day for Alexandria on Tuesday afternoon.

The Cardinals were at Maplelag Resort near Detroit Lakes for the Section 8A meet and eager to try to secure a spot at state for the girls team. They had fallen just shy of that the last two years, missing the cut by one point in 2019 and 2020. The Alexandria girls erased that misfortune on Tuesday by taking second with 363 points. Brainerd took the first of those two state spots from the section by winning the meet with 384 points.

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Alexandria senior Kaisa Bosek races down a hill on the course at Maplelag Resort near Detroit Lakes on March 2. Bosek finished second individually in a time of 29:02.49 to help the Cardinals secure a second-place finish at the Section 8A meet and a spot at state on March 11. (Photo by Robert Williams / Forum News Service)

“The state qualification is a sigh of relief,” Alexandria head coach Jeremy Rapp said. “To come so close after two years in a row, and then to be tied for second place after the first race of the day (on Tuesday), it made for excitement that has been a long time coming.”


The conditions were slow in the wet snow as skiers tackled a 3.7-kilometer classic race and a 4.3-K skate race. Seniors Kaisa Bosek and Emma Reineke led Alexandria with top-10 finishes as Bosek was second (29:02.49) individually and Reineke was eighth (31:55.73).

Emma Reineke

“Kaisa and Emma showed their consistency today once again,” Rapp said. “Both have been leaders in their own right and deserve the place they got. Kaisa dominated the classic course, which on a warm day like this, shows strength. For many years, Kaisa has established herself as a great skater, so it is great to see her development in the classic discipline as well for her senior section race.”

Bosek was the fastest finisher in the classic with a time of 14:41.88. Junior Liliana Schaeffer of Brainerd won the overall race in 28:35.51 after a dominant skate race of 13:40.05.

Alexandria’s next four finishers were bunched together in the top-20. Freshman Jaelyn Miller (15th, 32:50.02), junior Dulce Bakker (16th, 32:59.62), sophomore Lauren Huber (17th, 33:03.99), senior Kamryn Coauette (19th, 33:20.62) and sophomore Teresa Bitzan (30th, 34:02.39) provided the depth the Cardinals needed to advance.

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Alexandria freshman Jaelyn Miller skis during the Section 8A meet near Detroit Lakes on Tuesday. Miller was 15th overall in a time of 32:50.02. (Photo by Robert Williams / Forum News Service)


“They've been back and forth with each other all season,” Rapp said. “To see them this close (together) shows the strength of the girls team this season.”

Rapp could see this performance coming with how focused the girls were leading up to the race.

“It wasn't so much how they skied, but how they prepared,” Rapp said. “They were able to motivate each other really well before the first race (classic). As the conditions were very slow, they just went out and skied the best they could. With the warm temps, it was difficult to find a wax that worked well for the classic technique, so we made an (assessed) risk to double pole the whole course, which turned out to be a good enough gamble.”

Bemidji finished in third place with 350 points, while Sartell-St. Cloud Cathedral rounded out the top four in the 12-team field. Alexandria now has more than a week to prepare for the best teams in Minnesota as the Cardinals compete at state in Biwabik on March 11 starting at 1 p.m.

“This group would like to make a run at the top 10 and continue our friendly rivalry with Brainerd,” Rapp said. “We will give them a run for their money and see where it all ends up.”

Boys finish seventh

The Alexandria boys finished tied for seventh with Sartell-Cathedral in the 12-team section field after both teams totaled 250 points.

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Sophomore Ryker Bosek was the Alexandria boys' top finisher on Tuesday at the section meet, coming in 25th overall in a time of 26:35.29. (Photo by Robert Williams / Forum News Service)


Sophomore Ryker Bosek has paced the Cardinals all season, and that was the case on Tuesday as he finished 25th in a total time of 26:35.29. Logan Jensen, a senior from Bemidji, won the individual race in 21:41.51, almost 13 seconds in front of second-place finisher Jackson Grant (21:54.50) of Little Falls.

Seniors Jack Struck (37th, 27:54.47), Kyle Feldhake (47th, 29:29.04), Bryant Johnson (48th, 29:33.95), Bennett Wirth (50th, 29:36.63) and Nathan Halstead (56th, 30:36.67) all skied their last races for Alexandria at the section meet. Sophomore Spenser Chinn (45th, 29:15.08) joins R. Bosek as two underclassmen for the Cardinals who gained plenty of experience this winter.

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Alexandria senior Bryant Johnson (48th, 29:33.95) skis through the trees at Maplelag Resort at the Section 8A meet on Tuesday. (Photo by Robert Williams / Forum News Service)

Bemidji won the section title on the boys’ side with 385 points, while Little Falls earned the second spot at state with 371.


BOYS TEAM SCORES - 1. Bemidji - 385; 2. Little Falls - 371; 3. Brainerd - 366; 4. Moorhead - 297; 5. Detroit Lakes - 294; 6. Fergus Falls - 283; T-7. Sartell-Cathedral - 250; T-7. Alexandria - 250; 9. Trek North - 222; 10. St. Cloud Tech - 192; 11. St. Cloud Apollo-Sauk Rapids-Rice - 172; 12. Willmar - 151

GIRLS TEAM SCORES - 1. Brainerd - 384; 2. Alexandria - 363; 3. Bemidji - 350; 4. Sartell-Cathedral - 342; 5. Little Falls - 297; 6. Moorhead - 268; 7. Detroit Lakes - 253; 8. St. Cloud Tech - 232; 9. Fergus Falls - 227; 10. Trek North - 158; 11. Willmar - 143; 12. St. Cloud Apollo-Sauk Rapids-Rice - 142


Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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