Nordic skiing: Alexandria's Jaelyn Miller places 26th at state meet

Alexandria junior Jaelyn Miller shined in her third time competing in the state meet and finished in the top 30.

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Alexandria's Jaelyn Miller skies to a third place finish at the Section 8A meet on Feb. 8, 2023, at Maplelag Resort. This finish led her to qualify for her third state meet. She finished 26th at the state meet on Feb. 16, 2023, and nearly earned all-state honors.
Jared Rubado / Forum News Service

Alexandria junior Jaelyn Miller has now competed in the MSHSL State Nordic Skiing meet three times and, in this year’s state meet, made improvements on her time and finish.

At Thursday’s state meet at Giant’s Ridge near Biwabik, Miller placed 26th out of 112 skiers in the individual pursuit race and finished with a total time of 32:43.6 and nearly
earned all-state honors (top 25).

“Another strong finish at a state meet by Jaelyn shows the type of athlete she is,” Alexandria co-head coach Jeremy Rapp said. “The two courses at Giants Ridge are both very challenging, so to have her finishing alongside skiers that are qualifying for national events says a lot.”

Miller’s time of 15:56.2 placed her 37th in the freestyle portion of the race, and her time of 16:47.7 placed her 22nd in the classic portion.

“What makes Jaelyn a strong skier is her base foundation as an athlete,” Rapp said. “With Nordic skiing, you need to have endurance, strength, and the ability to have efficient technique. She has all three of those components. She comes from an elite line of athletic siblings, so she was very active from a young age which shows through. Full credit goes to Jaelyn, who decides all year long to be a dedicated student and athlete.”


She got to this year’s state meet by placing third once again at the Section 8 meet with a time of 36.04.

“I think the growth Jaelyn showed this season is just keeping the consistency of training and the consistency of her finishes all season,” Rapp said. “You can sometimes see certain skiers have a good race here or there, but she truly was consistent all season long with her finishes. We are incredibly fortunate to have a person like Jaelyn on our team.”

Miller placed 37th at the 2022 state meet (19:28.93, 47th, classic and 18:25, 22nd, freestyle).

Ely’s Zoey Devine won the 2023 individual pursuit race state title by finishing first in the classic portion (15:23.3) and third in the freestyle (14:45.3). Her total time of 30:08.7 just barely gave her the state title over Duluth East’s Lydia Kraker, who finished with a total time of 30:08.8 (15:30.9 - Classic, 14:38.4 - Freestyle).

Rounding out the top five in the individual pursuit race, Greta Hansen of the Math and Science Academy placed third (30.10.3, 15:30.6 - Classic; 14:40.2 - Freestyle), Hailee Zimpel of Elk River/Zimmerman placed fourth (30.17.3, 15:24.2 - Classic; 14:52.0 - Freestyle) and Hanna Koch of St. Paul Highland Park placed fifth (30:52.2, 15:40.7 - Classic; 15:11.9 - Freestyle).

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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