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Nordic skiing: Jaelyn Miller qualifies for state to lead Alexandria at the Section 8A meet

The Alexandria girls finished fifth as a team, while the boys came in seventh.

Jaelyn Miller skiing
Alexandria sophomore Jaelyn Miller skis to a state-qualifying third-place finish 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.
Jared Rubado / Forum News Service

CALLAWAY — The Alexandria Nordic ski teams competed over the course of two days at the Section 8A meet at Maplelag Resort near Callaway with spots at the state meet in Biwabik up for grabs.

Sophomore Jaelyn Miller grabbed one of those spots and will race at state for the second time in her career.

This year’s section meet had athletes racing the 5-kilometer classic race on Feb. 8 before the 5.6-kilometer sprint relay and 4.8-kilometer freestyle races took place on Feb. 9.

Mackenzie Jurchenko skiing
Alexandria freshman Mackenzie Jurchenko was the Alexandria girls' second individual finisher in the pursuit race at the Section 8 meet on Feb. 9 as she finished 12th overall in 35:42.1 (18:46.7 classic, 16:55.4 freestyle).
Jared Rubado / Forum News Service

The Alexandria boys finished seventh as a team with 312 points, while the girls took fifth place with 351 points. Brainerd, with 384 points, and Bemidji (382) took the top two spots in the girls’ team standings in the 12-program field. Little Falls (381) won the boys section title, with Brainerd (375) finishing second.

Miller was the top underclassmen in the entire pursuit as she finished third overall in a total time of 34:24.6. Brainerd senior Liliana Schaeffer won the pursuit championship in 33:07.3, and Bemidji senior Mary Beth Mathews was second in 34:08.6.

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Miller raced the classic portion of the pursuit in 17:43.2 and the freestyle in 16:41.4. Freshman Mackenzie Jurchenko was Alexandria’s next best finisher in the girls’ race with a 12th-place finish in 35:42.1 (18:46.7 classic, 16:55.4 freestyle).

Lauren Englund skiing
Alexandria senior Lauren Englund finished 25th in 37:13 (19:22.5 classic, 17:50.5 freestyle) at the Section 8 meet that wrapped up on Feb. 9, 2022 at Maplelag Resort.
Contributed photo by Sara Englund

Freshmen Bobbi Nichols (24th, 37:06.8; 19:13.2 classic, 17:53.6 freestyle) and Kasey Soderholm (27th, 37:58.4; 20:00.2 classic, 17:58.2 freestyle) also raced the pursuit, and senior Lauren Englund did the same and finished 25th in 37:13 (19:22.5 classic, 17:50.5 freestyle).

The two-person team of Lauren Huber and Dulce Bakker skied the relay for Alexandria. They were third in the preliminary round with a time of 20:02.6 before finishing fifth in the finals in 19:32.7.

“We would like to express our congratulations to Jaelyn Miller for qualifying for her second state Nordic skiing tournament,” Alexandria head coach Jeremy Rapp said. “We would also like to express our gratitude to our three seniors — Dulce Bakker, Lauren Englund, and Matthew Johnson — for the years of dedication and contribution in which we will always be grateful for.”

Johnson wrapped up his Alexandria career by taking 50th in the boys pursuit race with a total time of 47:36.3 (30:03.6 classic, 17:32.7 freestyle).

Ryker Bosek skiing
Alexandria junior Ryker Bosek led the Alexandria boys with a 13th-place finish in the pursuit portion of the Section 8 meet that wrapped up on Feb. 9, 2022. He came across in a total time of 30:52.1 after skiing the classic portion in 16:12.5 and the freestyle in 14:39.6.
Contributed photo by Sara Englund

Junior Ryker Bosek led the Alexandria boys with a 13th-place finish in the pursuit. He came across in a total time of 30:52.1 after skiing the classic portion in 16:12.5 and the freestyle in 14:39.6. Junior Connor Grant of Little Falls won the pursuit title in 28:05 (14:40.3 classic, 13:24.7 freestyle), and junior Zaine Braaten of Moorhead was second in 28:13.1 (14:46.2 classic, 13:26.9 freestyle).

Alexandria junior Spenser Chinn raced to a 26th-place finish in 34:42.4 (18:11.1 classic, 16:31.3). Sophomore Cyler Coauette (33rd, 36:04.6; 18:35.6 classic, 17:29 freestyle) and freshman Colton Converse (40th, 38:30.1; 20:14.1 classic, 18:16 freestyle) rounded out the Cardinals’ lineup in the pursuit.

The Alexandria duo of Maxwell Chinn and Luke Walsh qualified for the relay finals with a time of 19:31.2 in the prelims. They were seventh in the finals with a time of 19:29.4.

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The state meet at Giants Ridge in Biwabik is set for Feb. 16 and 17. The girls’ 5K classic race will take place at 3 p.m. on Feb. 16 before the 5K freestyle runs at that same time on Feb. 17.

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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