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Nordic Skiing: Alexandria shows strength in numbers ahead of the new season

The Alexandria Cardinals have the biggest roster its had in a while.

Jaelyn Miller skiing
Alexandria Jaelyn Miller skis to a state-qualifying third-place finish as a sophomore at the Section 8 meet at Maplelag Resort on Feb. 9, 2022. Miller raced the classic portion of the pursuit in 17:43.2 and the freestyle in 16:41.4 to finish with a total time of 34:24.6. Miller, a junior, and the Cardinals are now ready for the 2022-23 season.
Jared Rubado / Forum News Service
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The Alexandria nordic skiing team is excited to begin a season where it will have the most athletes its had in the program in quite some time.

“At 66 members (6th-12th grade), this is the biggest team in at least 16 years,” Alexandria co-head coach Jeremy Rapp said. “Numbers are a strength for us at the moment and with that, there is a good groove going with maintaining a great team culture that has training at its center. There is a lot of excitement heading into this season as many skiers have goals that they are willing to accomplish.”

Both the boys and the girls teams have plenty of returning varsity experience. For the girls, the returners included Jaelyn Miller who placed 37th at the state meet last year as a sophomore in the individual pursuit race.

Miller placed third in the Section 8A meet last year, while Mackenzie Jurchenko placed 12th, while Bobbi Nichols placed 24th, and Kasey Soderholm placed 27th. All of these Cardinals are back this season. So is Lauren Huber who competed in the relay race last year with then-senior Lauren Englund and placed 25th.

Mackenzie Jurchenko skiing
Alexandria's Mackenzie Jurchenko was the Alexandria girls' second individual finisher in the pursuit race at the Section 8 meet on Feb. 9, 2022. as she finished 12th overall in 35:42.1 (18:46.7 classic, 16:55.4 freestyle). Jurchenko and a big Alexandria roster are now set for the 2022-23 season.
Jared Rubado / Forum News Service

Seniors Amanda Bergerson and Teresa Bitzan also have varsity experience.

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On the boys side, senior Ryker Bosek is back after placing 13th in the section meet last year. Senior Spenser Chinn placed 26th as a junior and is back for more this year. Junior Cyler Coauette and sophomore Colton Converse also placed in the top 40 at the section meet last year.

The relay team of sophomore Maxwell Chinn and junior Luke Walsh are back after placing in last year’s section meet. Junior Owen Gilbertson and sophomore Erick Bergerson return with varsity experience as well.

“I think something that our squad wants to be better ready for is the sprinting portion of races,” Rapp said. “Last year was the first year that sprinting was added to the Nordic skiing sections and state races, so there was a learning curve for us, especially as a coach.”

Rapp said the expectations for the program this year are to maintain a good culture and to be ready for any weather. Jackie Stifter is now a co-head coach for the program along with Rapp.

The Alexandria boys were seventh in last season’s section meet and the girls placed fifth. The girls placed third at the Central Lakes Conference Championships while the boys placed fourth.

Ryker Bosek skiing
Alexandria's Ryker Bosek, pictured, and Spenser Chinn were honorable-mention All-CLC finishers as they led Alexandria in the sprint relay with a fourth-place finish in 22:02.57. Both Chinn and Bosek are back for the 2022-23 season.
Contributed photo

The Cardinals expect to be one of the better teams in the conference and section this year. Rapp labeled Sartell, Fergus Falls, Brainerd for the boys and girls as other top teams in the conference. He labeled Bemidji, Brainerd, Little Falls, Sartell, Fergus Falls as the top teams in the section for the boys and Bemidji, Brainerd, Moorhead and Sartell as right up there with the girls team.

2022-23 Alexandria Cardinals Nordic Skiing team

Co-Head Coaches - Jeremy Rapp, 14th season; Jackie Stifter, 1st season
Assistant Coach - Brita Soderholm

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BOYS ROSTER - SENIORS - Ryker Bosek, Spenser Chinn, Gabe Hoven, Berg Swanson; JUNIORS - Cyler Coauette, Sawyer Filipiak, Owen Gilbertson, Luke Walsh; SOPHOMORES - Erick Bergerson, Maxwell Chinn, Matthew Moga; FRESHMEN - Isaiah Anderson, Lars Dahl, Jackson Dutcher, Logan Holtz, Elijah Kjolhaug, Sawyer Larson, Andrew Mayer, Sullivan Rooney, Carter Rush, Nick Strauss

GIRLS ROSTER - SENIORS - Amanda Bergerson, Teresa Bitzan, Emma Hochhalter, Lauren Huber, Amelia Lucken, Mattie Scholten; JUNIORS - Tiahna Goeke, Madeline Hochhalter, Tatum Ketelsen, Jaelyn Miller, Meredith Sundby; SOPHOMORES - Autumn Ehlert, Mackenzie Jurchenko, Makenna Kleven, Bobbi Nichols, Kasey Soderholm; FRESHMEN - Atti Hoven, Nea Hoven, Lacey Siira

SCEHDULE (subject to change)-

Nov. 29 vs Moorhead in Detroit Lakes, Noon
Dec. 6 at Detroit Lakes, Noon
Dec. 10 at Bemidji Meet, 10 a.m.
Dec. 15 at Fergus Falls Meet , 1 p.m.
Dec. 28 at Brainerd Invite, 10 a.m.
Jan. 7 at Mesabi East Invite, 10 a.m.
Jan. 12 at Detroit Lakes Meet, 10 a.m.
Jan. 17 Home Meet, 1:30 p.m.
Jan. 26 at Little Falls meet, 10 a.m.; CLC Championship in Brainerd, 1 p.m
Feb. 7-8 Section 8A Meet at Detroit Lakes, 10 a.m.
Feb. 15-16 State Meet, 10 a.m.

Sam Stuve covers a variety of sports in the Douglas County area. He also is assigned to do some news stories as well.
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